OHIO Mortgage Fraud Settlement Funds
$75 Million to be be used for demolition of Fraudclosed & Blighted homesHomeowners and citizens of Ohio were terribly disappointed by the small amount of money allocated to the state ($335 Million) as part of a multi-state $25 billion mortgage foreclosure settlement for foreclosure abuse, FRAUDulent servicing, and other "unacceptable" mortgage practices by Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and GMAC/Ally. The financial settlement was part of a penalty payment negotiated to purportedly "resolve" past criminal behavior and improper foreclosures by the nations five largest mortgage servicers. The national FRUADclosure settlement was negotiated by 49 State Attorneys General and announced on February 9th 2012 (HERE)
On February 12th, 2012, Youngstown Ohio was the first city visited by Attorney General Mike DeWine, to announce his intention to use $75 million (of AG office $97 million) for demolition. DeWine stood in front of an empty house on a street full of abandoned homes to explain his plan for helping Ohio communities pay for demolition of the thousands of empty and blighted homes. (HERE)
Marco (Ohiofraudclosureblog) Ty Beatty (MVOC) Jim Rokakis, Adam Keck(MVOC)City leaders, community organizations, and advocates (including this blogger) wanted to make sure that some of the funds, under direct control of the Attorney general's office would be allocated to remove (demolish) bank abandoned and blighted homes which are a cancer on the housing infrastructure in every Ohio county.
"These are abandoned homes. They're never going to come back. That are a blight on the neighborhoods, that take property values down and make it difficult for people who live in the neighborhood, that are trying to raise their kids to get by," DeWine said
February 12th 2012 - Mike DeWine (Ohio AG) - visit to Youngstown
After the announcement, Mike Dewine's office agreed to a future meeting with leaders of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) and this blogger. The MVOC has been instrumental in identifying and registering vacant properties and working towards establishing a county land bank to deal with them.
Attorney General Mike DeWine greets OhioFraudclosure blogger
As promised, the Ohio Attorney General office granted a meeting with MVOC leaders and OhioFRAUDclosure (pictured above) to hear "input and ideas" as to allocation of money and the matching funds component of the state's $75 million ear-marked for demolition of blighted properties.
Additionally, I made an impassioned plea (above) to one of the longest serving and most respected Chief Counsel and asked the office open or continue investigations into the Foreclosure Mill law firms operating in Ohio. I further requested the office use all their legal power and authority to examine MERS for possible fraudulent activities and/or failed recordings which may have cost Ohio's 88 counties millions in lost revenue.
(see MERS complaint filed Geauga County Prosecutor using a New York law firm)
MAY 4th 2012: Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program
Ohio AG announces guidelines for Demolition Program
"One of the biggest things holding this state back from moving forward is the vast number of abandoned and vacant homes littering Ohio. They are blight on our communities, rotting them from the inside out. Our new grant program will help free our neighborhoods -- urban and rural, alike – from the blight that is paralyzing them."
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced guidelines for local communities interested in applying for the $75 million in demolition grants to help stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes. The funds are from the national mortgage settlement reached earlier this year by the attorneys general with five of the nation's largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses, fraud and deceptive mortgage practices.
The Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program will require that a lead entity, such as a land bank or local government, apply for the funds on behalf of each county in Ohio. The first round of grant applications, which can be downloaded from the Attorney General's website at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/foreclosure, will be accepted between May 4-June 30, 2012. After grant agreements are executed, demolitions must be completed by 12-31-13.
A goal of the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program is to maximize the number of demolitions of blighted and abandoned residential properties. Recognizing that many local governments are experiencing economic hardships, the program will not require a match for the first $500,000 allocated to each county. Counties will be required to provide a dollar-for-dollar match to receive any reimbursement request over their $500,000 allocation. Conservative estimates place the number of vacant and abandoned properties in Ohio in need of immediate demolition at 100,000
Local communities with questions regarding this program should contact:
Ohio Attorney General Office, Mortgage Foreclosure Unit,
30 E. Broad St., 15th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or email at MovingOhioForward@ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
The top 13 counties and funds eligible for Demolition
All 88 Ohio counties - excel spread sheet of funds available - download (HERE)