MICHIGAN: Where Is Attorney General Mike Cox?


As other state attorneys general around the country step up to bat for their respective citizens, one AG has been noticeably missing – for a long time:  Attorney General Mike Cox.  While citizens of Michigan will remember his boisterous campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and his shameless sucking up to Tea Party groups, as well as his perpetually leading in the polls – culminating in reality with a third place finish – what citizens of Michigan will really remember about Mike Cox is his complete and utter failure to protect the people of this state from the rampant foreclosure fraud.

Michigan was hit hard and fast and started earlier than the rest of the country being decimated with foreclosures.  We didn’t experience the huge bubble like other states such as Arizona, California or Florida, but we were hit hard more because of our depressed overall economic conditions – a situation we in Michigan had been living with far longer than the rest of the country due to ridiculous and stupid socialist policies enacted by our illustrious Governor from Canada (no offense to our Canadian friends).  For nearly 8 years now, the only Republican in a position of power here has been Mike Cox and he has been as big a failure as Governor Granholm.  The only thing he has done worthwhile has been to join with other attorneys general around the country in the fight against the health insurance mandate required by President Obama’s Health Care Reform Act, an action I’m pretty sure he only took in order to gain publicity for his campaign. 

Since he lost, that race, and is now term limited, we’ve heard nothing from him – well, almost nothing.  While other attorneys general like those in Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and now, North Carolina (see article below) are busy trying to protect homeowners from the fraud that has now become public knowledge, Mike Cox is instead busy telling homeowners desperately trying to avoid foreclosure to beware of ‘scams.’  Yes, Mike Cox is more concerned with the scammers who have moved into Michigan to pray on the thousands of desperate homeowners, instead of helping those homeowners ACTUALLY stay in their homes by addressing the rampant fraud being perpetrated by the banks.  Basically, he’s addressing a symptom of the problem, but entirely avoiding the REASON and CAUSE for the problem in the first place. 

Michigan is a non-judicial state, and therefore, not included in the 23 states wherein three of the large banks have halted foreclosures due to improper, illegal and most likely, according to at least one Florida judge, fraudulent paperwork.  Forged signatures, robo-signers, multiple banks foreclosing on the same property, banks foreclosing on properties where homeowners don’t even have a mortgage, bank representatives forcibly breaking down doors – all of these illegal acts have now been documented in a court of law.  Yet, nothing but silence from the Michigan Attorney General – except of course, to admonish us all to be careful of scammers trying to help you stay in your home.  Well, Mr. Cox, at this point, a scammer is better than nothing for a poor homeowner who has nothing left to lose.

Michigan, being a non-judicial state, is now on the short list for banks to fast track foreclosures.  This is due to the fact that foreclosures can be accomplished here without a bank ever having to set foot in a courtroom for anyone in law enforcement to ever examine their paperwork or question them under oath.  The homeowner never gets his day in court.  While the non-judicial, procedural foreclosure saves the State of Michigan a lot of money by not clogging the courts, this practice was developed back when one could rely upon a mortgage lender to actually BE the entity with standing to foreclose on the collateral to which they LEGALLY had rights.  This is no longer the case.  It is likely that a majority of foreclosures all over the country are in one form or another ILLEGAL.  And you can bet that we will eventually discover that some of the most grievous frauds were perpetrated in states, like Michigan, where the banks knew darn well they would never have to prove a thing in a court of law.

At least one non-judicial state attorney general isn’t about to let the fact that no court has looked at the banks’ paperwork hold him back from protecting his citizens:

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper is giving Bank of America until Friday to halt foreclosure proceedings in the state amid concerns the Charlotte bank and other lenders haven’t properly reviewed documents.

In a letter sent to the bank, Cooper questioned why Bank of America voluntarily suspended foreclosures in 23 states that involve a judicial process but not in its home state. North Carolina requires a “quasi-judicial” process in which clerks of court frequently review affidavits submitted by banks.

“If Bank of America has halted foreclosure proceedings in other states due to flaws in its affidavit process, we do not understand why Bank of America should routinely continue with foreclosures with the same flaws in North Carolina,” Cooper’s office wrote.

The attorney general wants the bank’s foreclosures suspended until it shows its processes are legal. Bank of America said it’s responding to officials’ concerns.

“Our initial assessment findings show the factual loan information underlying our foreclosures is accurate,” spokesman Dan Frahm said, adding the bank continues its “exhaustive efforts to assist our customers who have been unable to make their mortgage payments.”

The statement did not address how Bank of America would respond to the Friday deadline set by Cooper.

Cooper has asked 13 other large mortgage servicers to also halt foreclosures in the state until they prove compliance. Those lenders have until Oct. 12 to respond to the attorney general’s questions.

North Carolina is also seeking more information about practices at Ally Financial, which has halted foreclosure-related evictions in North Carolina and 22 other states.

In an interview, Cooper said lenders could be breaking an N.C. law requiring a good-faith effort to work out loan modifications if they’re improperly handling foreclosure paperwork. One of his main concerns is that homeowners get a “fair shot” at loan modifications, he said.

At the very least AG Cooper wants to make sure the homeowners in North Carolina get a day in court and a fair shot at any mortgage modification.   None of these banks servicing these loans have any motivation to work out a mortgage that they do not actually own and have as a liability if it fails to perform.  If these banks’ true position is that of merely servicers, they have no motivation whatsoever to work out anything with a homeowner in distress because THEY aren’t owed the moneythey were already paid when they sold the note – if they ever had it in the first place.  Which leads me to the obvious question:  Please, Mr. Cox, do tell me how an entity that has not been harmed (meaning that they aren’t owed any money), has standing to foreclose on collateral they do not have rights to?!

At this point, all I can say is that I’m glad Mike Cox is term limited and we can say goodbye and good riddance -and I’m certainly relieved he didn’t become the only governor of Michigan that could possibly have been worse than Jennifer Granholm.  I truly hope that the next Attorney General of Michigan will care just a little bit about Michigan citizens and I hope that the current candidates are reading this.