Repercussions from the news of former Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) CEO Anthony Casa’s actions have been swift and varied all over the mortgage industry.
Casa announced a leave of absence from his post late last week after news surfaced that he sent a video of himself making derogatory comments to a competitor — Austin Niemiec, executive vice president at Quicken.
In the video made over the Fourth of July weekend, Casa alleges that Niemiec’s wife Theresa performed lewd acts for United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) president Mat Ishbia while in college. Theresa Niemiec, in turn, responded with a lawsuit, suing Casa for defamation.
Niemiec’s suit alleges that Casa’s videos were followed up by texts to Austin Niemiec that continued the abuse, containing crude and misogynistic language rehashing Casa’s claims. According to the suit, Casa’s aim is to “injure Quicken Loans’ business activities in wholesale lending, because Casa and his comrades fear the competition from QLMS (Quicken Loans Mortgage Services).”
The suit further contends that “anything that is detrimental to Quicken Loans’ wholesale lending business is viewed by Casa as beneficial to himself, Ishbia, UWM and AIME.”
Casa uploaded a video to social media earlier this week issuing an apology. In it, Casa calls his actions “a big mistake that I made” and “an error in judgment.”
During that video, Casa characterized the exchange as a text message conversation between himself and Niemiec in which Niemiec was celebrating his company’s success and “making some comments that were trying to egg [Casa] on.”
“Unfortunately, I let the emotions of the situation get the better of me. … They were things that I should never have said, things that I don’t believe [and] things that were inappropriate and hurtful, to be honest with you,” Casa said.
“I am beyond sorry for to everyone for making those comments. The truth of the matter is, in the moment, I just lost all sense of reality and made a series of comments that should never have been said.”
Fallout from the lending realm has been rapid. Flagstar Bank announced the suspension of its association with AIME and condemned what Casa had done, while expressing that its course of action doesn’t reflect on AIME as an organization. Likewise, Caliber Home Loans has announced that it is terminating its support of AIME.
Other companies have chastised Casa while voicing their support for AIME and the work it does for the independent broker community. UWM, one of AIME’s key partners, reiterated that that partnership would continue despite admonishing Casa for his behavior.
Quicken Loans itself released a statement supporting the Niemiecs and praising the mortgage industry for its reaction to the news.
“There is no place in our society for the types of misogynistic, threatening and disrespectful comments that Mrs. Niemiec has been forced to endure at the hands of Mr. Casa,” Quicken said.
“It has also been encouraging to see countless mortgage brokers and lenders across the country come together in solidarity to show that this behavior is not acceptable, is not reflective of the broker community and absolutely will not be tolerated.”