Todd Heywood, Michigan Messenger
Allegations that an attorney working for Troy-based Orlans Associates foreclosure giant is allegedly involved in robo-signing drew immediate concerns from lawmakers and activists.
“This ‘robo-signing’ practice is degrading our communities and undercutting the integrity of our justice system,” said Congressman Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), responding to aMichigan Messenger report. “I’m working right now on federal legislation to help struggling homeowners gain additional time to negotiate settlements with their lenders. Part of this legislation will aim to help overcome the issue of fraud in foreclosure cases by setting clearer standards as to who can legally call proceedings against homeowners.”
Robo-signing is when a bank, mortgage company or foreclosure company has multiple people sign documents with the name of the person who is supposed to sign those documents and then has them notarized as having been signed by that person. In the case of Orlans, the signer was supposed to be attorney Marshall Isaacs, but he has now been implicated in two states for having had others sign his name and notarize that he did so.
Clarke has been a long time advocate for restraining the foreclosure crisis and examining foreclosure practices. While in the state Senate he authored a bill that would institute a moratorium for two years on foreclosure.
Ari Adler, spokesman for Michigan Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) released the following statement upon learning of the allegations:
The Speaker has respect for and demands compliance with all statutory requirements. It’s not just about following the law, but also providing confidence in legal proceedings and the judicial branch as a whole. No one wants anyone to lose their house and every effort should be made to require compliance with all laws. Beyond that, however, there is a much larger issue here. We need to improve Michigan’s economic climate for people to continue paying on their homes and avoiding a foreclosure in the first place. The lack of the right signature does not necessarily mean the property is not in foreclosure or that people no longer need to make good on their mortgage. We continually say that the number one issue facing Michigan is jobs, and these cases prove that yet again. If we could make Michigan more competitive for job providers we would have more Michiganders working, the economy would improve and the constant headlines about home foreclosures would finally subside.
In an interview with Michigan Messenger, Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) said the revelations were “shocking.”