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Judge rules California owes $331 million to homeowners

news.yahoo.com | June 16, 2015

By Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California judge has ruled the state is obligated to pay $331 million in mortgage relief funds it used to bolster its finances, but stopped short of ordering that the money be turned over to homeowners hard hit by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis.

Instead, Judge Timothy Frawley of Sacramento County Superior Court in his ruling on Friday said it is up to Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers to come up with a plan to return $331 million that was part of the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement of 2012 when the state has money available to do so.

Robert Gnaizda, general counsel for the three groups that brought the lawsuit, said now that California's budget has swung to a surplus and Brown and lawmakers are debating what to do with it, the state is in position to begin making payments.

"We would be happy to work with the governor on a distribution schedule," Gnaizda said, adding that Frawley's ruling could spur other states that also held on to their proceeds from the settlement to release the money.

Gnaizda said groups that sued California over the funds are seeking meetings with Brown and top Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate and Assembly on how to move forward with payments.

It is not clear if that would be swept up into budget talks that are under way between Brown and lawmakers, Gnaizda said.

Brown's fellow Democrats control the Senate and Assembly but have been at odds with the governor over how much the state sets aside for spending in its budget for its next fiscal year. With the state's revenue exceeding expectations, they want to spend more than the governor does.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for California's Department of Finance, said Brown's administration has not decided whether it will appeal Frawley's decision.

"Our legal team is still reviewing it to determine the legal implications, the fiscal implications and what the next steps are going to be," Palmer said.

The case is National Asian American Coalition et al v. Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown Jr, Governor, et al, Case No. 34-2014-80001784, in Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento.


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CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea—it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-2352 for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online).

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