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Update on the Investigators Fired By Florida’s AG for Pursuing Foreclosure Fraud

Here’s an update on those politically motivated firings by the Florida Attorney General, to protect the perpetrators of foreclosure fraud.

First, a Democratic state lawmaker wants records about the firing of June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, says he wants two ousted state foreclosure fraud investigators back at work if their performance evaluations reflect the positive reviews that have been reported by The Palm Beach Post and other media outlets.

He sent a public records request Wednesday to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asking for documents related to the forced resignations of Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson […]

“Public records indicate these terminations occurred while they were in the midst of successful mortgage fraud litigation and in spite of prior successful reviews,” Soto wrote. “As a member who represents an area ravaged by foreclosure fraud, these terminations present an overwhelming public concern.”

Here’s the full letter. I imagine that Florida is one of the few states in the country where state legislators use the term “foreclosure fraud.”

In addition, a liberal public interest group has called for an investigation into the dismissal.

Progress Florida, a St. Petersburg advocacy group, is asking for an investigation into Bondi’s actions.

“We think the big banks and the financial industry have leveraged their enormous political power to have these attorneys removed,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director for Progress Florida.

Bondi said that such suggestions are “unfounded and offensive.”

“The decision that supervisors made to end the employment of these two employees, like every decision made in my office, was made based on sound policy and responsible management,” she said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “We are more aggressively pursuing foreclosure law firm investigations and have substantially increased the amount of time and more than doubled the number of employees working on these investigations.”

This is contradicted by Clarkson and Edwards. They claim in interviews that at soon as Bondi took over the AG’s office, they were questioned about their cases, particularly the one about Lender Processing Services, the notorious document processor based in Jacksonville. Bondi and other Republicans in Florida received the lion’s share of $40,000 in LPS’ 2010 campaign donations, and LPS also donated $36,500 to the Florida Republican Party.

Bondi and her team are still keeping up the front that Clarkson and Edwards were fired because of performance issues. But all of their performance assessments prior to Bondi’s arrival, and even some of them afterwards, were wholly positive.

If this goes national, Bondi and company will have a much more difficult time defending their position.

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David Dayen

David Dayen