The Road to a Settlement
California Lawyer

The Road to a Settlement

June 2012

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Kamala Harris Makes Her Move June 2012

October 2010 - Settlement talks begin between the attorneys general, the Obama administration, and the country's five largest mortgage servicers shortly after all 50 state AGs announce investigations into fraudulent foreclosures.

January 3, 2011 - In her inauguration speech, Kamala Harris pledges to "aggressively pursue any companies and individuals scamming innocent homeowners with mortgage fraud."

May 23 - Harris announces the formation of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force.

July 14 - New York AG Eric Schneiderman flies to California and asks Harris to join a probe of Wall Street's role in the mortgage crisis. Harris does not sign on.

Mid-September - Harris meets personally with the heads of the five banks over immunity from future investigations in the settlement negotiations. She reportedly states, "I am going to investigate everything."

September 30 - Harris defies her allies in the Obama administration, as well as the majority of her fellow state AGs, by walking out of the settlement talks.

October 18 - Harris issues subpoenas to Bank of America and its subsidiary, Countrywide Financial, over the packaging of loans into mortgage-backed securities.

November 3 - Harris calls for the resignation of Edward DeMarco, the chief regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, over his opposition to reducing loan amounts for troubled homeowners.

November 8 - Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials sign a letter from the group Californians for a Fair Settlement urging Harris to reject the "deeply flawed" settlement.

November 15 - Harris issues investigative subpoenas to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seeking information on foreclosure practices, as well as the packaging of mortgage-backed securities.

December 6 - Harris announces a joint investigative effort on mortgage fraud with Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, whose state has the nation's highest percentage of houses undergoing foreclosure.

December 20 - Harris sues Fannie and Freddie to force them to comply with the investigative subpoenas issued in November.

January 25, 2012 - Through a spokesman, Harris announces that the latest version of the multistate settlement is unacceptable.

February 9 - A finalized settlement is announced. Harris again demands the resignation of Edward DeMarco.

February 24 - Harris issues a public letter to DeMarco urging him to freeze the sale of foreclosed properties.

February 29 - Harris sponsors The Homeowner Bill of Rights in Sacramento, six pieces of legislation seeking to codify many of the settlement's provisions into state law.

March 12 - The terms of the national settlement are officially filed in federal court.

March 16 - Harris appoints UC Irvine law professor Katherine Porter as California's independent monitor to ensure the banks follow through on the terms of the deal.

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