Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Perry Seeks Council Backing for State’s Withdrawal From Nationwide Mortgage Settlement Talks
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles City Councilwoman and 2013 mayoral candidate Jan Perry has asked her council colleagues to endorse Attorney General Kamala Harris’ decision to withdraw the state from settlement talks with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers.
Perry said in a statement Friday that the figures being discussed, a potential nationwide settlement of $25 billion, “couple with proposed immunities for banks would be inadequate in a state where foreclosures are second only to Florida.”
Harris recently joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others in pulling out of the talks, which have centered largely on alleged “robo-signing,” the execution of massive numbers of documents under penalty of perjury by employees who falsely swore that they had reviewed homeowners’ loan documents prior to determining that they were in default. Harris said she is pursuing other aspects of the mortgage industry as well.
In announcing her withdrawal Sept. 30, Harris said she was being asked for a “broader release than we can accept” and cited a “troubling surge in foreclosures” in California.
The withdrawal of New York and California make it unlikely the settlement will go any further, Perry said. Other states have been voicing concerns as well, with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who is up for re-election next month, recently expressing discontent and Massachusetts’ Martha Coakley saying last week that she doubted the banks would make a reasonable offer, and that she intended to go ahead with lawsuits.
The Wall Street Journal, citing a person “familiar with [Harris’] thinking,” in its online edition Thursday, reported that the attorney general would consider returning to the talks if the banks were willing to accept a more limited release of claims than has been previously discussed. That has been among the most divisive issues, the newspaper reported, citing sources close to the talks.
Perry said the talks up to now have produced too little in potential benefits for Californians in general and Angelenos in particular.
“The foreclosure crisis had devastated hundreds of thousands in California and severely damaged our local economy,” she said in her statement. “A $25 billion settlement for the entire nation will provide little to no to those struggling to stay in their homes. I agree with our Attorney General, we can and must do better.”
A spokesperson for Perry said the resolution was sent to the Intergovernmental Relations Committee for discussion and will eventually be considered by the full council.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company