As the nation’s foreclosure crisis continues to take its toll on homeowners across America, one bright spot is the aggressive investigations that state and local officials are pursuing of mortgage lenders, hoping to uncover dirty practices and hold financial institutions accountable.
But one foreclosure investigator is alleging that she and a colleague were let go for pursuing banks too aggressively. Former Assistant Attorney General Theresa Edwards told the Palm Beach Post that she and colleague June Clarkson were pursuing the state’s “foreclosure mills” when Attorney General Pam Bondi let them go for no apparent reason. Edwards thinks it’s because Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott (R) wanted staff more in line “with their thinking”:
Former Assistant Attorney General Theresa Edwards and colleague June Clarkson had been investigating the state’s so-called “foreclosure mills,” uncovering evidence of legal malpractice that also implicated banks and loan servicers. Despite positive performance evaluations, Edwards said the two were told during a meeting with their supervisor in late May to give up their jobs voluntarily or be let go. Edwards said no reason was given for the move.
“It all happened very abruptly,” said Edwards, who had worked in the attorney general’s office for about three years. The foreclosure investigations were launched under former Attorney General Bill McCollum, but Edwards said she sensed changes were coming under Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I think they wanted to put people in there that were more in line with their thinking,” Edwards said.
According to data collected from the National Institute On Money In State Politics, Bondi received $57,500 from the securities and investment industries and $150,925 from the real estate industry during her last election campaign. While Florida has been one of the places hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, it was also the state where a couple successfully recouped legal fees from a local Bank of America branch by threatening to foreclose on it, a remarkable act of defiance. (HT: @matthewstoller)