>NJ Tea Party Coalition Urge NJ Attorney General to Reject Bank Settlement
NJ may be owed $87 million filing fees; $6.8 billion transfer taxes; $3.6 billion Quiet Title Costs
The New Jersey Tea Party Coalition met with senior members of the NJ Attorney General’s office, urging them not to join the proposed settlement with nation’s largest banks. The settlement is being considered by most state Attorneys General.
Because the evidence for massive destruction of the chain of title in residential mortgages is so compelling and costly to remedy, the State must not rush headlong into a quick settlement with banks, lenders, originators, or MBS pool sponsors that provides these players immunity. The State instead needs to act to protect the property rights of its citizens who are struggling to pay their mortgages, and whose title has been compromised through no fault of their own. The State also needs to reclaim potentially substantial filing fees and transfer taxes that were evaded.Published reports estimate New Jersey’s share of the $20 billion settlement to be in the $50 million range, which is miniscule compared to the damage wrought.
We urge New Jersey AG Dow to follow the example set by Massachusetts’s AG Martha Coakley and refuse any settlement until a forensic audit of mortgages in the State is conducted to obtain full extent of the economic damage to the State and home-owners.
The fraud is so deep and the scope is so wide that waivers for criminal and civil charges are unacceptable.
We are calling for AG Dow, New Jersey’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, to restore the rule of law and hold the banking executives who are defrauding investors, home-owners and the state accountable.
John O’Brien, Registrar of Deeds for Southern Essex District Registry, had a forensic audit conducted by McDonnell Analytics to measure the number of unrecorded assignments. The results were startling. Three-quarters (75%) of the assignments were never recorded, breaking the chain of title – and depriving the county clerk of millions of dollars in lost fees.
Bergen County’s housing market is mature and broadly similar to that of Essex County in Massachusetts, so we have estimated the lost revenue and the cost to reassert clear title based on their forensic audit results.
We calculated the amounts owed based on the US Census data for total dwelling units (DUs), percent owner occupied, and median values for both New Jersey and Bergen County.
We further applied the national average of 68% for owner-occupied homes mortgaged, the Southern Essex Co MA figure of 75% missing assignments, and an assumed two assignments per mortgage missing (or not recorded) based on the typical standard for securitization.
We also assumed that assignments were one page (average $36/each statewide, and $43/each for Bergen County). The transfer tax is calculated on the median value statewide and for Bergen, using the state’s formula, and the tax owed depends on the assignments not recorded.
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