Calif. city council reaches out to AG Harris

Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 21, 2011, 9:45am


PETALUMA, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A California city council is asking Attorney General Kamala Harris to temporarily stay auction proceedings and suspend a state government code that requires county sheriffs to serve all notices related to foreclosures and evictions.

The Petaluma City Council unanimously approved a letter sent to Harris Monday, concerned that more residents will lose their homes without the ability to fight wrongful evictions, the Petaluma Patch reported.

Petaluma Mayor David Glass, who signed the letter, said staying auction proceedings and suspending California Government Code 26608 would help protect homeowners from losing their homes to mortgage fraud.

Glass also said if allegations that several national banks in California are engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices are found to be true, then Harris should proceed with a lawsuit.

"You seek damages on behalf of cities and counties that have lost property taxes due to the mortgage crisis," Glass wrote in the council's two-page letter to the attorney general.

Property tax revenues in the city's general fund are down 11 percent since 2007 -- a loss in excess of $800,000 -- Glass noted.

On top of that, property transfer tax losses for the same period show a loss of nearly $200,000, the mayor said.

"The city of Petaluma appreciates your leadership in protecting homeowners by expanding your investigation in partnership with Nevada, seeking fair settlements for those that have lost their homes due to alleged fraud, and implore you to work with the governor, legislature and courts to stop further evictions and auctions until these alleged fraudulent actions and victims of fraud can find legal options to protect them from losing their homes," the council wrote.

Earlier this month, Harris announced she and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto have begun their own joint investigation into misconduct and fraud in the mortgage industry.

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