John O'Brien Jul. 15, 2010, 2:00pm
SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) - Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are keeping a clean energy program from taking shape in California, state Attorney General Jerry Brown claims.
Brown filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the government-sponsored enterprises, arguing that they are wrongfully characterizing assessments made by the Property Assessed Clean Energy program as loans.
The Federal Housing Finance agency already affirmed that decision, and Brown is challenging.
"As the nation struggles through the worst recession in modern times, California is taking action in federal court to stop the regulatory strangulation of the state's grass-roots program that is spreading across the country," said Brown, who is running for governor.
PACE is designed to help small businesses and homeowners secure funding to make their property more energy efficient. Property owners repay the costs of energy improvements through assessments, classified as tax assessments under state law.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac classify the assessments as loans that must be subordinate to their own mortgages, Brown says.
Brown said a PACE program was set to launch in San Diego this summer, but it has been tabled. Nearly half of the counties in the state have launched PACE programs or plan to, Brown also claims.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are "throwing up impermeable barriers to bank lending that creates jobs, stimulates the economy and boosts clean energy."
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