Oakland County prevails in Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac suit

U.S. District Court Judge Victoria A. Roberts, Eastern District of Michigan, granted Oakland County summary judgment in its lawsuit against the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) because the two lenders failed to pay the transfer tax on deeds recorded by the Register of Deeds Office, as required by Michigan law.

In her order release last Friday, Roberts stated: "In the end, this case turns on a single question: whether a statutory exemption from 'all taxation' includes excise taxes such as the Michigan Transfer Taxes. Wells Fargo dictates that it does not. Accordingly, the Enterprises are liable for the Transfer Taxes."

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson applauded the decision.

"Judge Roberts' decision is a victory for Oakland County taxpayers," Patterson said. "We contended from the beginning that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are private corporations, not government entities. Judge Roberts affirmed that today."

"Some suggested that Oakland County suing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was a David versus Goliath matchup, and that we had no chance at recovering millions of dollars for Oakland County Taxpayers," said Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner. "Today, we have proven them wrong, achieving a major victory and taking one step toward helping our County recover the property values we've lost as a result of the foreclosure crisis.

"The foreclosure crisis has cost Oakland County $14 billion in taxable value. As county treasurer I have been doing everything within my power to bolster our property values and hold those responsible for the foreclosure crisis accountable. Today, Fannie and Freddie got the message that we're serious," Meisner added.

Oakland County taxpayers stand to recover as much as $1.5 million.

Published: Tue, Mar 27, 2012

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