Florida's foreclosure settlement cash for homeowners still tied up

5:31 PM, Oct 19, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi remains locked in a standoff with state lawmakers over how to spend more than $330 million intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Florida received the cash as part of a national foreclosure settlement that resulted from fraudulent foreclosure practices among major mortgage lenders.

But six months after that settlement, the cash is still sitting in an escrow account because Bondi and lawmakers can't agree on how to spend it.

The standoff is over who has the power to distribute the money.

Bondi believes she has that power but legislative leaders argue they have the legal authority for spending decisions.

Bondi says her office is working hard to resolve the dispute.

"I'm not going to talk about backroom conversations but I'll tell you I'm working as hard as I can. My staff is working as hard as they can. This money needs to go to homeowners. That's where it was meant to go and that's where it should go."

While Bondi insists the money should go to struggling homeowners, lawmakers have not ruled out using the cash for other expenses in the state budget.

Bondi says she's eager to settle the issue.

"Hopefully we'll have a resolution soon. I'm hopeful. Because homeowners need that relief."

Other states have already started spending their own shares of the $25 billion settlement.

Dave Heller

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