Tim Hogan, an attorney representing two homeowners facing foreclosure asked Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain to block Arizona lawmakers from raiding the mortgage assistance fund to help balance the budget. According to Hogan, who works with the Center for Law in the Public Interest, the state was given $97 million in a nationwide federal settlement against five major mortgage lenders.
The problem with the fund
A deal signed with state Attorney General Tom Horne stipulates that the cash must be placed in a special trust fund to help struggling homeowners. However, the Arizona legislature ruled against this deal and decided to use $50 million for other state expenditures. Hogan is asking for Judge Brain to prevent this transfer and preserve the fund designed to protect Arizona property owners.
The judge has not yet set a hearing date, but Hogan is confident of a ruling within the month. Funds are set to move on July 1. While Tom Horne doesn’t like what the legislature is doing, he says that their actions are completely legal. One of the provisions in the bill, according to Horne, is that the state may be compensated for its losses resulting from the mortgage crisis. Due to the recession, the state’s revenues have declined by 30 percent, which ultimately amounts to a loss of billions of dollars.
For his part, Hogan brought up the homeowners whose struggles would be made harder from the redirection of funds from the mortgage assistance pool. He mentioned them by name: Joseph Morones of Mesa and Elvira Hernandez of Chandler, both of whom risk losing their homes.
Valerie Iverson, director of the AHA (Arizona Housing Alliance), said that the money would help distressed homeowners find resources and get legal help when going through difficult times. Without the money, she said, they might have to go up against some of the world’s most powerful corporations alone. It is only with the proper legal assistance from a South Carolina fraud attorney (or other lawyer depending on their geographic location) that homeowners have a good chance of avoiding foreclosure and keeping their homes.
Stay tuned for more information about Hogan’s fight against the Arizona legislature! SettlementBoard.com will fill you in on all the details as the story develops.