And The Beat Goes On . . .

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The Associated Press is reporting that the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) filed suit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) alleging Freedom of Information Act violations, claiming the agency collaborated with the financial industry (banks) to block cities from using eminent domain to prevent foreclosures.   The ACLU and other groups requested information regarding and supporting FHFA’s decision to oppose the City of Richmond’s plan to seize land through eminent domain in order to prevent foreclosures.   The suit seeks an order directing the FHFA to turn over all documents related to communications and meetings with financial industry groups and banks,  including those relating to Richmond’s offer to buy underwater mortgages from residents.

In September, a suit filed by Wells Fargo Bank NA, Deutsche Bank NA and the Bank of New York Mellon Corp., to block Richmond’s plan was dismissed as premature.  The FHFA also threatened to sue Richmond over its plan, saying the use of eminent domain could threaten the stability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and a dozen federal home loan banks. 

The case is Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment et al., v. Federal Housing Finance Agency, Case No. 3:13-CV-05618, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco/Oakland Division.

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