Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ex-State AG's 11th Hour 'Sellout' Of Utah Homeowners In Foreclosure On Eve Of Joining Law Firm Representing BofA Not Binding On Successor In Future Cases

In Salt Lake City, Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

  • Despite former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s decision to personally sign onto a settlement in a foreclosure lawsuit that Bank of America seemed to be losing, his successor will continue to pursue other suits pending against the bank.

    It isn’t clear what new Attorney General John Swallow thinks about Shurtleff’s reversal of the state’s position in a suit brought by Holladay homeowners Timothy and Jennifer Bell that ReconTrust- — BofA’s foreclosure arm — illegally began foreclosure proceedings against their property when their $3 million loan went into default.

    But Shurtleff’s change of mind in the last weeks of his term disheartened lawyers in his office, which previously had intervened in the case as a plaintiff, arguing that ReconTrust had violated state law by carrying out foreclosures on its own instead of going through a Utah attorney or title company.

    "Mr. Shurtleff made the decision that he did. Not everyone in the office would agree to that, and people would come to different conclusions about whether or not the state should dismiss the case," assistant attorney general Thom Roberts said after a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins to decide whether the settlement between BofA and the Bells should be approved.

    Shurtleff’s about-face came some time between Dec. 17, when the Bells agreed to settle without support from the Attorney General’s office, and 11 days later when a BofA lawyer filed documents carrying Shurtleff’s signature to dismiss the case.

    Shurtleff’s term ended Jan. 7, and he will go to work for a law firm that regularly represents BofA. Shurtleff has said his new job had nothing to do with his decision, adding that he changed his mind because it made no sense for Utah to continue to be involved at taxpayer expense in a case that the Bells had settled.
For more, see Shurtleff’s BofA about-face won’t bind new A.G. (State intends to fight other foreclosure suits involving bank).

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