Time is running out on the Curious Puzzle
Two articles in today’s St. Pete Times: one by Robyn Blummer on the film Inside Job and the other by Mark Puente on renters competing with investors for local homes. Both contribute to understanding the Curious Puzzle. Here is my note to them:
Your two articles in today’s St. Pete Times could be intertwined with something that is coming up on the Hillsborough BOCC Agenda Dec. 1. On the Consent (no discussion) Agenda is Item A-22 from the County Attorney’s Office:
“Adopt a resolution approving a plan of financing involving the issuance by the Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County, Florida of its Single Family Mortgage Revenue Bonds or Notes, in one or more series in an aggregate face amount of not to exceed $250,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds for the purchase of qualifying mortgage loans originated by participating lending institutions to finance the purchase of rehabilitation of new or existing owner-occupied single family residences situated within Hillsborough County, Florida. Additionally, authorize the Chairman to execute any future related documents. Approval of this item will have no financial impact on the FY 11 Adopted Budget.”
Someone, or a bunch of some ones are getting rich on tax-free, mortgage-backed, GNMA federal government-guaranteed securities.
Developers, banks, brokers, title companies, insurance companies, security companies, attorneys, mortgage bundlers and investors all make money.
Why doesn’t Hillsborough County get any revenue from these securities it helps create?
Welcome to the Ginnie Mae investors’ home page:
“Today, Ginnie Mae securities are among the most secure investments in the global capital market. We offer the only mortgage-backed securities carrying the full faith and credit guaranty of the United States government, which means that even in uncertain times, our investors are guaranteed payment of interest and principal – in full and on time. And that’s a claim no one else can make.”
Nationally, the vast majority of such securities are administered through Mortgage Electronic Registry Systems, Inc. (MERS) and/or their system affiliates. MERS has been in the press lately about law suits which allege that by privatizing public records, MERS enabled banks to circumvent American property law and bypass the counties’ fee and paperwork requirements, costing billions of dollars in lost revenue over more than a decade.
Perhaps Hillsborough County might experience a negative “financial impact” on similar lost revenues. Affiliates such as Nationwide Title Clearing of Pinellas County have been involved in “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents in order to keep up with paperwork not previously sent to the County.
Why doesn’t The County object to this continuing loss of revenue while they continue to enable the practice?
I am both afraid that the individual BOCC members do not understand the process from end to end, nor have any desire to, as the details involved would cause almost anyone’s eyes to glaze over. It is when that happens that they rely on “we’ve always done it this way” and “there is no financial impact” to the County.
We hired these commissioner not to rubber stamp whatever was put before them. We hired them to know and understand what they were approving for the citizens of the county.
I have been trying to hold their feet to the fire on this one.
Care to help while there is still time?
This $250,000,000 Item A-22 does not belong on any Consent Agenda. The BOCC needs to discuss this at a minimum. They should really have a workshop to fully understand this and ask the hard questions about anything they don’t understand.
Someone needs to follow the money.
<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen