The State of California has benefited handsomely from the misery of those in the Golden State who lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis.
California received $410 million in a multi-state settlement with the likes of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, J.P. Morgan Chase and Ally Financial - for alleged wrongdoing involving the processing of foreclosures.
The agreement struck by the banks and the states stressed the money the states receive should be used “to the extent practical ... for purposes intended to avoid foreclosures” among other purposes.
Given the ethic standards of folks up in Sacramento it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Gov. Jerry Brown seized every last penny to go to existing state obligations. That triggered only a few cries of foul with the loudest coming from Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris argued - in accordance with the agreement she helped strike - the funds should go toward counseling and aid for distressed homeowners.
The entire idea of the payout to the states was to avoid future homeowner foreclosures whenever possible. Apparently the folks up in Sacramento believe the foreclosure crisis is over.
It underscores why you can’t trust the word of politicians - even when they are in legal documents including propositions that become part of the California Constitution.
California is not alone in ignoring the agreement’s language. A study done by Enterprise Community Partners - a non-profit housing organization - shows that 39 percent of the $2.5 billion the states received have gone to non-housing uses essentially to cover state budget general fund shortfalls. Overall, 38 percent has gone to housing-related activities while 23 percent has yet to be designated.
The settlement did direct $23.5 billion to go to former homeowners who were foreclosed upon incorrectly.
One has to wonder how aggressive the states will be in making sure that money gets to the actual homeowners since they are the “overseeing” agency to make sure the agreement is implemented.
We’ll see in about five years or so when there are undistributed funds left in the $22.5 billion. That’s when property and cash seizure rules generally allow states to take unclaimed accounts.
It’s bad enough that the supposed watchdog we depend upon to regulate commerce - government - was not only asleep at the wheel during the foreclosure crisis but is now benefitting from the misery of the little guy.
No wonder why more and more people aren’t making a distinction between big government and big Wall Street concerns since they seem to keep teaming up on the little guy to such an extent they are co-benefactors of their collective misery.