The Florida Foreclosure Process Blog here at KNZ has highlighted a wide variety of attorney and bank misconduct during the course of the foreclosure crisis. During the height of the rise in Florida foreclosures, banks and their attorneys have been accused of doing everything from falsely dating documents to forging signatures to lying about serving court papers upon homeowners, as required by Florida laws governing the foreclosure process in Florida.
As a result of these mistakes and frauds, some of which were brought to light by Dustin Zacks’ depositions and Enrique Nieves’ appellate work, many of the nation’s banks and servicers were forced to pay money to attorneys general in a 50 state settlement. However, we have always been skeptical that politicians would be the best arbiters of where the settlement money was due to go.
Our position is that money paid as a result of malfeasance directed at homeowners should be given towards those very homeowners who were lied to or lied about in court. While reasonable minds can disagree on this policy point, one thing we can all agree on is that reparations should be directed towards housing in general. Leave it to politicians to mess this basic premise up, however:
The Miami Herald reports that many of the reparations paid by servicers and banks have been diverted towards the general fund of the state legislature. Our politicians, then, have taken funds paid because certain parties were wronged during the course of the Florida foreclosure process, and will be using them to fix potholes, or to buy ink for printers in the capitol’s offices, or to pay for travel expenses in the future, rather than using them to alleviate problems caused by banks and servicers. Only politicians could make such a mess of the entire basic premise behind the 50 state settlement: homeowners were harmed, so homeowners should be helped by the reparations.