John O’Brien, Southern Essex County Register in Salem, Massachusetts has been leading the national effort to hold lenders accountable, and has refused to record robo-signed documents has invited the CEO’s of the nation’s largest banks and all of the state’s attorneys generals to come to the Salem Registry and view first-hand the damage that has been caused to thousands of Essex County homeowners’ chains of title.
” It’s like a tornado came through here,” said Register John O’Brien, referring to the financial havoc and damage done to property records at the Registry of Deeds.
” Following any disaster, the powers that be generally show up to assess the damage. That is what I would like these major lenders and the Attorneys General to do ““ sooner than later,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien believes that a sweetheart deal, in the form of a settlement to grant lenders immunity from prosecution, is in the works.
The settlement currently in negotiations with the banks is being led by Tom Miller, the Iowa attorney who is serving as lead negotiator for this travesty. As Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism put it, “”¦this deal is a suicide pact for the attorneys general in states that are suffering serious economic damage as a result of the foreclosure crisis.”
In addition, according to O’Brien, it would be a total sellout of the American property owner and their property rights.
” We still do not know the extent of the damage and just how much they have fleeced from taxpayers in lost recording fees, which in my opinion run into billions of dollars. These CEO’s have to step up and take full responsibility for what they have allowed to happen. They have played fast and loose with people’s property rights, and have corrupted the chains of title to hundreds of thousands of property owners across this country,” O’Brien says.
O’Brien goes on to say that the only way lenders and the AGs can fully appreciate the ramifications of the schemes (including the recording of fraudulent documents, which in some cases were used to take people’s homes illegally; the use of robo-signers; and the failure to record assignments) is to travel to Salem, sit across the table from him and review the documents. Only then, will they fully understand the extent of the damage that’s been caused.
” Hopefully,” O’Brien says, ” By viewing the thousands of fraudulent documents recorded in my Registry, they will begin to understand how serious this issue is and work with Registers of Deeds across this country to correct the wrongs that have been committed.”
” All I am looking for is justice for these homeowners. I have said all along, that they need to talk to Registers of Deeds. What better way, than to come to an actual Registry and see first-hand what I am talking about. It would be the responsible thing for them to do. We would be able to have an open and frank discussion which hopefully would lead to a solution. The last thing the American people need is to have this issue swept under the rug.”