31 March 2013

Pass the Popcorn

The high powered DC law firm Williams & Connolly has sued the OCC to get information about how they selected consulting firms to review the foreclosure settlement. Considering the half-assed job done by the consultants, and the indications that there were ties between the banks and the consultancies, this should get interesting"
A top Washington law firm is suing regulators to hand over information about how it selected consulting firms to participate in a multibillion-dollar review of banks' past foreclosures.

The reviews, mandated by regulators in 2011 after widespread foreclosure shortcuts came to light, proved slow and expensive, and earlier this year 13 banks agreed to pay $9.3 billion to end them and compensate foreclosed borrowers.

But in a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., the law firm Williams & Connolly revisited the original reviews.

It is seeking documents explaining how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency defined "independent" in its requirements for mortgage servicers to hire "independent consultants" to conduct the reviews.

The law firm declined to identify the client on behalf of which it filed the complaint.

It is possible that a consulting firm that lost out on the review contracts is behind the suit.

An OCC spokesman declined comment.


In the new lawsuit, Williams & Connolly said it had sought through a Freedom of Information Act request to the OCC any documents or records about the independence requirements for the consultants, and any documents about OCC standards for independence within the context of the foreclosure reviews.

The OCC initially denied the law firm's request, then provided limited information on a redacted basis, the law firm said. The firm said in its filing that it went to court to obtain all of the information.

David Aufhauser, the Williams & Connolly lawyer who filed the action, and who is a former general counsel of the Treasury Department and of investment bank UBS, declined to comment on the case.
At least one of the consultancy firms was suspended, and if you follow Naked Capitalism you can get a full picture.

While one can generally be certain that any deal for the banks will be a corrupt bailout, when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is involved, you can be sure that it's well over the line of what normal people will call corrupt self dealing.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this.


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