By Pam Martens: February 10, 2012
Why is it that whenever Wall Street and Washington are involved, money disappears? Even under the noses of the Department of Justice and 49 State Attorneys General, there’s $14 billion missing from the foreclosure settlement announced yesterday.
The deal that Wall Street agreed to, announced by the DOJ and reported widely by corporate media, is a $25 billion deal encompassing 49 states. But just two of those states say they will get $26.4 billion – sounding very Madoffesque or MF Globalesque or Enronesque or pick from a myriad of choices in the last decade.
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris states on her web site and in this video that California is getting $18 billion. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says on her web site that Florida is receiving $8.4 billion.
It gets more interesting. If you go to each of the 49 state attorneys general web sites and tally up what they are reporting, the total tab comes to $39 billion not $25 billion.
Outside of California and Florida, big numbers (rounded) come from:
- Arizona at $1.6 billion
- Illinois at $1.2 billion
- Nevada at $1.5 billion
- Maryland at $1 billion
Just 6 states are reporting a total of $31.7 billion funding from a $25 billion pot and that still leaves 43 states. (Oklahoma cut its own deal.)
Calls and emails seeking clarification from six of the key negotiators of this deal drew silence or comments only on background. The background suggestion is that California has a separate deal not included in the $25 billion. But that’s not what Attorney General Harris believes. Her press release states the following: “California secured the $18 billion agreement as part of a national multistate settlement to penalize robo-signing and other bank servicing and foreclosure misconduct.”
The Department of Justice press release confirms this as well: “U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers announced today that the federal government and 49 state attorneys general have reached a landmark $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.”
If Wall Street did, indeed, agree to a $39 billion settlement, then every headline in expensive corporate media real estate like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Bloomberg News got this story wrong.
If there is really $14 billion missing, then 49 of the top law enforcement officials across this country have a lot of explaining to do as to how thoroughly they vetted this deal before issuing their press releases.