Maybe Scott Brown is Just Lazyin Daily Scrounge
Scott Brown and his ties to the mortgage industry is coming up a lot these days. It seems like everyone wants to tie him to the crisis – and with good reason. As an attorney he had an obligation to work in the best interest of his client – it’s a reach for many attorneys to follow that simple creed, but shouldn’t be for a guy running for elected office, particularly if that guy is going to question his opponents character.
Scott Brown claims that he did legal work and was in court rooms doing legal stuff. Not exactly what a real estate attorney does and not exactly what he did. Closings, shuffling papers, and making a lot of mistakes is more along the lines of what brown did.
Brown is calling for Warren’s client list, claiming that we all need to see that to figure out what she’s all about. Here’s what Brown said:
I am a real estate attorney. I have a very small practice," Sen. Brown, (R-Mass.) told reporters Thursday afternoon. "The last seven or eight, nine years, it was run out of my home, and the clients that I represent are small banks, cooperative banks and a couple mortgage companies, focusing as one of their attorneys on real estate. I go to people’s houses, I do real estate closings, and as a title agent: Fidelity National and First American. So those banks are Wrentham Cooperative Bank, Hyde Park Cooperative Bank, Middlesex Savings Bank, and a couple of smaller mortgage companies -– some of them are no longer in business.
Here’s why that’s interesting:
Fidelity National, is also the former parent of LPS, which owned DocX, the document forgery firm featured on 60 Minutes and home of the Robosign. LPS is under a consent order with the Federal Reserve Board for its servicing activities, and DocX was criminally indicted by Missouri (and subsequently settled). Brown was doing work for Fidelity National when it still owned LPS.
So if Brown knew what Fidelity National was up to and how it could potentially adversely affect homeowners did he have an ethical responsibility to tell them?
Here’s what Prof. Adam Levitin, of Georgetown University said:
It's not clear exactly what Brown was doing for these clients--title work sounds innocent and boring enough, and Brown certainly isn't responsible for all of his clients' misdeeds. But at the very least, Brown's association raises a host of questions. Who were those "mortgage companies" that he worked for? It's nice that Brown named a bunch of local banks, but I wonder what lies under the "mortgage company" label? What did Scott Brown understand about the mortgage market he was facilitating? Did he recognize that there was a bubble? (He was a town property assessor at one point, so one would think he'd notice this sort of thing.) If not, what does that say? And if so, what does that say? How many predatory loans did Scott Brown facilitate? How many of the loans where he handled the closing resulted in foreclosure? What would he say to those families that lost their homes to predatory loans?
I suspect that Brown's reply to these questions would be "Aw shucks, I'm just a guy with a pickup truck with 238,000 miles on it who was helping people out by doing the paperwork on their real estate closings." That's not good enough. Either Brown was so inept that he didn't see that the loans he was closing were becoming untenable or Brown saw the problem and didn't do anything. As long as the music's playing, the guy's gotta earn a living, right?
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