Black, Latino, and Asian Organizations in California File Petition Demanding Governor Brown Return $350 Million that Was Unlawfully Diverted from 2012 National Mortgage Settlement

Black, Latino, and Asian Organizations in California File Petition Demanding Governor Brown Return

On Friday morning (March 14), major organizations in the Black, Latino, and Asian American communities filed a petition demanding California Governor Edmund G. Brown to return up to $350 million of the $369 million that were allegedly “unlawfully” diverted from California’s share of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, secured by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

According to the Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, which was filed at the Sacramento Superior Court (Case Number 34-2014-80001784), the $369 million is part of approximately $410 million, which the State of California (through Attorney General Harris) obtained “from the roughly $3.4 billion in direct payments to the federal and state governments.”

“According to the express settlement terms, 10 percent of this amount (roughly $41 million) was denoted a civil penalty and allocated to the State’s Unfair Competition Law Fund, while the remaining 90 percent (roughly $369 million) was placed in a Special Deposit Fund to benefit the State’s borrowers and organizations that support them,” the petition elaborated further.

“This Petition asks the Court to compel the Governor and other California officials to obey the law,” the petitioners said.

The “Petitioners” include the National Asian American Coalition (NAAC), a HUD-approved Asian American homeownership advocacy group; COR Community Development Corporation, a corporation affiliated with the Christ Our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal (COR AME) — the largest Black church in Orange County; and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), which represents 40,000 Latino evangelical churches across the US.

They are represented by Attorneys Rick Richmond and Neil M. Barofsky of Jenner & Block LLP, and other lawyers from the respective organizations.

Barofsky gained national prominence when he became Treasury Department Inspector General (2008-2011) and policed the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) — a program which bailed out the crumbling banking industry, according to Sacramento Bee.

In a press conference, Barofsky said that struggling homeowners suffered the most from the diversion of the funds.

“The frontline victims of the crisis, struggling homeowners, received mostly unfulfilled promises they would get the help they desperately needed,” Barofsky said in a Sacramento Bee report.

NAAC General Counsel Robert Gnaizda (who also represents the COR AME church in its advocacy efforts) said that the three plaintiff groups represent the largest Black, Latino, and Asian groups in the country.

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Source: Asian Journal | Mico Letargo

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