Business Insider Solicits, Then Refuses to Publish, Story on Suspicious Foreclosure-Related Death of Sunny Sheu

We first posted on the suspicious death of Sunny Sheu in June 2011. Our brief overview of the situation:

The details are thin but they sure don’t smell right. The short form is that Sunny Sheu had his house stolen from him by fictive buyers who used forged documents. Judge Golia of Queens engaged in what appears to be highly questionable behavior in failing to reverse the sale. Sheu started investigating the judge, was told by policeman who specifically referred to information he had provided about Golia, and that if he didn’t drop it, he’d wind up dead. Sheu disregarded their warning and did wind up dead. The authorities are also refusing to honor requests for information regarding Sheu’s death made under New York’s Freedom of Information Act. This story has been publicized by Foreclosure Fraud and The Daily Bail and I hope it gets more traction.

That post gave a longer form account. A few days ago, Truthout published a in-depth treatment written by Will Galison and Milton Alimadi (Alimaid published Black Star News). Today I got a message from Will about Business Insider’s curious flip-flop on the story. Keep in mind that Business Insider’s model is analogous to Huffington Post. While it has writers who create original content, many of its pieces are either extracts from other posts or cross posts. From Galison:

It is testament to the level of suppression (and the importance) of the Sheu story that BI could publish this:

….but were not allowed to reprint or recap the Sheu story already published by Truthout and others.

The irony is that BI Editor Robert Johnson asked me if BI could run the story, and complained when I published with Truthout. Perhaps, like the NY Post and the Huffington Post, BI was trying to gather information for their handlers, only to ultimately suppress the story. I must say, I am pretty shocked.

The real puzzle is that BI ran a synopsis of the original BlackStar News story which is still circulating. Ironically, the main difference between the Truthout story and the original BSN articles is that the Truthout Story is backed by 82 webpages of documentation whereas the BSN stories was backed by 15.

More documentation does not make a story less reliable, it makes it more dangerous.

While Galison’s contention above about a media coverup may sound a bit paranoid, he’s had repeated instances of initially interested media outlets pulling back from the story. Indeed, a writer at Business Insider indicated that he found the notion presented by the piece, that there is an ongoing coverup by the NYPD, and based on the information presented, he found that credible but his editors had doubts. Even so, Business Insider frequently publishes its own take on news and research; it could just as easily have picked up the story and posed the notion of a police coverup as a plausible rather than proven.

Business Insider may content that the story was overexposed, but no MSM venue has picked it up, the Truthout audience does not overlap much with the Business Insider audience, and BI picks up posts from Naked Capitalism, so that does not seem sufficient as an explanation. As the old saying goes, “Even if you are paranoid, that does not mean they are not out to get you.”

2. While this

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. Warren Celli

      No. No wonder at all other than why anyone would even wonder.

      When the government is crooked,
      Then the cops are too!
      They are the 1% muscle,
      That’s oppressing you.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=864&bih=1013&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=fDtKULXtI5HK9gTltYHAAg#q=us+police+state&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbm=isch&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=1&biw=1296&bih=995

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. Neo-Realist

      Smells more like the people Schneiderman takes his marching orders from—way way up the food chain for such imposing silence in the mainstream press.

  1. Bev

    Sheu is a home loss due to mortgage fraud martyr.

    I wonder if anyone has done research on the high number of vet homelessness and worse, vet suicides–isn’t it app. 16 per day–to determine what percentage may be due to loss of homes through mortgage fraud.

    That might be a big martyr list.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Suppression of whistleblower(s), plus another purpose: “Capital must protect itself in every way. Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd.” —Quote attributed on the net to various sources ranging from JP Morgan to “The Organizer” of January, 1934.

    2. John Zelnicker

      Bev — I saw a headline recently that said 18 vets committed suicide on one particular day. The number of vet suicides is a national disgrace…

  2. Ned Ludd

    The media is part of the governing class of the U.S. They don’t have “handlers”, as Will Galison says. They have friends and business relationships. They don’t follow orders. They do favors and network with other powerful people. They manage public opinion for the benefit of the ruling social order. Walter Lippmann, co-founder of The New Republic and adviser to President Wilson, felt a key role of journalists was the “Manufacture of Consent”.

    1. OMF

      The media is part of the governing class of the U.S. They don’t have “handlers”, as Will Galison says. They have friends and business relationships. They don’t follow orders. They do favors and network with other powerful people.

      Preciesly. There is no conspiracy. There is only a system; a system that promotes unethical behaviour, unjust outcomes, and of course perpetuates itself.

      Going after individuals or even groups is useless as this Hydra has too many heads. Like any infestation, it can only be tackled at the root source, namely, the total domination of money over all else in the system.

    2. Carol Sterritt

      Bingo – you are nailing it. I was an indie reporter who examined the MTBE gas additive issue, back in the mid nineties. I found the entire aspect of how the Mainstream Media dragged its feet on the issue, and then lied, even as half a million activists tried to get the stuff banned in the state of California. So entirely fascinating that I later wrote a piece on the Media and how it handles “Truth” relating to Big Oil. But the same applies to Big Finance, and Big Energy and a half a dozen things. If you wanna take a look at it, I posted it over here:

        1. Stan Musical

          Thanks for that. I did a 2-session class on part of the novel in college and we were laughing themselves to tears at some of the multi-level (and very off-color) puns and jokes….who would’ve thought?

    1. djrichard

      Really, anything goes at BI – the more provocative, the better. Whatever gets eyeballs.

      Nothing wrong with that. I like it for what it is.

      But for them to ignore a story means something else is going on. It’s not like web content is at a premium or they have an editorial reputation to preserve.

  3. mobrule

    Question is, What made Sunny Sheu’s case so touchy? Collusive racketeering in mortgage origination and servicing enjoys complete criminal impunity in this mafiya state. Pervasive judicial corruption in US courts is common knowledge. The state condones fraud and extortion to keep illegal mass evictions going. Most originators and servicers have no reason to kill their victims: no matter how much of a stink they make, victims have no recourse. I think we’ll find the difference here is who is in the business. The permanent state is very sensitive about its relationship with organized crime, which functions as a cutout for government officials. In many cities including Las Vegas and New York, mortgage origination is a commercial concession for government assets that help with gunrunning, assassination, and other covert programs of the state. These mortgage brokers are the successors of Jack Ruby and Frank Liberto. They help keep puppet rulers like Barack Obama in line.

    1. Stan Getz

      Judicial corruption is common knowledge? No, I don’t think so. please explain or refrain from irresponsible statements.

    2. mobrule

      Top to bottom, from Scalia and Thomas to Rocket dockets. Executive torturers on the DC Circuit grant impunity from jus cogens. Acquiescence to prosecutorial misconduct shreds human rights law. The US judiciary is a cesspool.

      Not to single out our ill-trained judges,
      they’re just a small part of our Soviet-scale collapse of state integrity.

    3. mobrule

      But don’t take it from some disembodied voice on the internets, take it from the HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, Eighty-seventh session, 10-28 July 2006, CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 40 OF THE COVENANT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Concluding observations, and from the COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE, 36th session, 1–19 May 2006, CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION, Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

      The judiciary has failed to ensure, in accordance with article 9 (4) of the CCPR, that detained persons are entitled to proceedings before a court to decide without delay on the lawfulness of their detention or order their release if the detention is not lawful. The judiciary has failed to ensure that those improperly so detained receive appropriate reparation, in breach of CCPR article 9 (5). The judiciary has failed to exert independent oversight to ensure state compliance with article 17 of the CCPR, and denied appropriate remedies to the affected persons. The judiciary has failed to comply with Articles 2 and 26 of the CCPR by maintaining racial disparities in sentencing processes.

      The judiciary permits impunity or inappropriately lenient penalties for law enforcement personnel in respect of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in breach of Article 13 of the CAT. The judiciary denies redress and adequate compensation to victims of abuses in breach of Article 14 of the CAT.

      American judges are pathetic servile hacks put out to pasture by their parties. They are independent like my tapeworm’s independent of my ass.

  4. craazyman

    At the risk of intruding my humble and irrelevant opinion into this — but I guess that’s what the peanut gallery is for — this story coheres like the strung-together fragments of a bad dream.

    The waking mind recalls each potent image and flinches at the emotion, but conscious memory strives to assemble a narrative that makes sense — usually giving up in vain as the sun rises and the fragments dissolve.

    The first BSN report describes an encounter between Mr. Sheu and Judge Golia, where the judge accuses Mr. Sheu of intentionally misrepresenting the facts of his circumstance. That is a peculiar allegation, given that the facts otherwise don’t seem to be disputable.

    Moreover, the reporters witness Mr. Sheu unable to produce the receipts requested by the court. Despite Mr. Sheu’s indefatigable persistence as an internet and legal researcher, for some reason he fails to produce court-requested receipts when he has an opportunity? That is peculiar.

    If the house was fraudulently awarded to the other buyer early in the decade, where was Mr. Sheu living? In the house? How could that be?

    Moreover, where is Mr. Sheu’s brother in all this. He alledgedly signs on to the original mortgage, but (if my memory serves) is nowhere to be found when Mr. Sheu turns up dead and his worldly affairs require resolution. That makes no sense.

    Mr. Sheu is taken to a hospital and treated in an emergency room. The doctors then get somehow instantly coopted into a conspiracy that also includes a judge and the DA. The conspiracy even reaches the hospital and now the national media — all, apparently, to disguise the fraudulent acquisition of a modest single house in Queens nearly a decade before and to cloak the existence of a wide-ranging criminallly corrupt network that includes all parties in the story except Mr. Sheu? Maybe, but it is peculiar.

    Mr. Sheu apparently refinanced his mortgage through a couple of Chinatown grifters. OK, he was Chinese himself and perhaps felt more comfortable within the culture. But this was long before the housing boom and before the big banks and national mortgage grifters reveald themselves to be the criminals they are. That seems peculiar, that he would refinance that way.

    I have no idea what happened to Mr. Sheu and the facts as presented by the BSN reporters are bizarre indeed. It’s a heart-rending tale and I appreciate the reporters are only asking for an honest investigation. Mr. Sheu deserves justice. I read the BSN stories a few times over a few days. And If I forgot key details, my apologies. It is unintentional. Yet the story itself, as presented, seems more than strange.

    1. will galison

      In response to crazyman,

      Will Galison here, co-author of the BSN articles and the Truthout piece.

      you wrote: “Yet the story itself, as presented, seems more than strange.”

      I agree. It is more than strange, but it is %100 true.

      None of the articles contains a single assertion that is not backed up with verifiable documentation.

      You write:

      “Mr. Sheu is taken to a hospital and treated in an emergency room. The doctors then get somehow instantly coopted into a conspiracy that also includes a judge and the DA. The conspiracy even reaches the hospital and now the national media”. as if you are rolling your eyes in disbelief.

      Did you listen to the recording of Dr. Ahmed and his nurse repeating over and over that there was no head trauma – “not a lump not a bump, not a scratch on his head” – even after examining Sheu’s skull in a CAT scan?

      Did you read the part about NYPD Captain Austin refusing to send a detective to the hospital to take a statement from Sunny;s friends, even while his own detective was in the hospital talking to Ahmed?

      Did you read the part (and look at the Death Certificate) where the Queens Medical Examiner determines that Shue died of “Blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries?” and that he manner of death is undetermined – mandating an investigation?

      Dod you read the part where the NYPD stole the body, which had not been officially identified – from the hospital at 5:AM on a Sunday morning- nine hours Sheu died?

      Did you read the certified letters to theChairman of the New York Hospital nd NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly describing the above, but never answered?

      Unless you are asserting that Milton and I impersonated Ahmed, his nurse and others, forged the Death certificate and Morgue stays documents, police reports, FBI emails and countless other docs, do you have another explanation of how all this went down?

      As for Sunny’s brother: At the time that Sheu’s power of attorney was forged by the “grifters”, Sheu;s brother was in the hosital in Taina suffering from bird Flu. His pasport and medical records affirm that.

      Why didn’t he come back the States to collect Sunny;s affairs?

      Let;s say your brother was in Taiwan, and after losing a ten year court battle with a corrupt and powerful judge had his head smashed in, body stolen, illegally cremated and the police and the FBI wouldn’t investigate, and the press wouldn’t report it, what would YOU do?

      If you were not protected by a small army or incredibly stupid, you would stay in Taiwan and not say a word.

      Crazyman: assuming you are just crazy and not stupid, open your eyes, and turn on your brain.

      “There are stranger things in in heaven and earth, Horation, than were ever dreamed of in your philosophy. ”

      Will Galison

      1. will galison

        Many people have the reaction: “why would the government/ media go through all the trouble to kill Sunny and suppress a story like this?

        That is a great mystery, but it does not detract from the validity of the facts.

  5. C

    “If the house was fraudulently awarded to the other buyer early in the decade, where was Mr. Sheu living? In the house? How could that be?”

    Easily. If title is awarded to someone else that can be done with him still there. The whole origin of the story is that someone else did so while he was there and he only found out when they showed up.

    With respect to his brother this line from the Truthout story posted here may make sense:

    “Sheu’s brother was able to prove to the police that he had been in Taiwan on the date of the fraudulent signing and could not have signed the papers before a notary in New York. Soon thereafter, the forgers were arrested by the NYPD and were eventually prosecuted and pled guilty of forgery.”

    So the brother was involved but was out of the country at the time.

    I don’t see where you get the phrase “Chinatown Grifters” can you substantiate that. The title was sold by forgery not refinancing. And the term grifters these day applies equally to any bank. And his inability to produce documents is an event that might happen to anyone who finds themseleves suddenly expected to defend their ownership of their home without warning.

    As to the conspiracy why does it need to exist or include “all parties in the story?” If you look at the events in the truthout article the events can be explained by individuals seeking to protect themselves and not get involved. The open questions in the story surround the conduct of some police officers, and one intern. Unfortunately the NYPD has been the subject of a number of abuse allegations in recent years and this sounds no different. There is no need for the FBI or DA to be involved in “the conspiracy” they just need to be uninterested in asking too hard about what happened. Given how little they have been interested in following up on, say, the suspicious suicide of the MERS Whistleblower I am not surprised to hear that they might not feel like asking about a poor immigrant who died in a bad neighborhood. As to the hospital and the intern. Well if he screwed up and perhaps let the police dictate the results, or was pressueed to comply, now he is just protecting himself. And the hospital by saying he “never worked there” is just protecting themselves. Conspiracies of silence don’t require everyone to be in on the fix. They only need to keep quiet for their own reasons.

    I think that you are right that the story is odd on many levels. But on balance I find it credible enough to require serious reporting. Given that Business Insider runs articles like: “6 Young People Aged 17-28 Give The Devastating Reason That Facebook Had To Buy Instagram” I see no reason why the level of reporting by Truthout wouldn’t meet their standards.

  6. shlomo carlebach

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual effort to
    produce a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

Comments are closed.