Thursday, August 04, 2011

Questionable Activities At Fla. AG's Office Surrounding F'closure Fraud Probe Attracts Continued Media Heat, Leads Office To Request Independent Probe

The Palm Beach Post reports:
  • Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asked [] for an independent examination of her office's ouster of two former foreclosure fraud investigators as queries escalate over the reason for the duo's abrupt dismissal.(1)

  • Bondi said she has questions herself as to why there was no documentation to support the May ultimatum given former assistant attorneys general June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards to resign or be fired.

For more, see Florida Attorney General seeks an independent review of investigators' dismissal.

(1) See Orlando Sentinel: Taxpayers fund, get smacked by Bondi's 'revolving door':
  • Earlier this year, the Florida Attorney General's Office was in the midst of a pull-no-punches investigation into foreclosure fraud. Investigators were exposing rampant abuses. They'd netted a $2 million settlement from one company. And they were gunning for more.

  • But then in May, two things happened:

    First, the "special counsel" to Attorney General Pam Bondi left to take a high-level job with one of the very companies the office was investigating.

    One week later, the investigators were forced out of their jobs, told late on a Friday afternoon that they had 90 minutes to decide whether to resign or be fired.

  • No longer could Assistant AGs Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson investigate Lending Processing Services — the company at which Bondi's former special counsel, Joe Jacquot, was now a senior vice president. Bondi says the two things were unrelated.

  • One thing about Jacquot's departure is sure: It wasn't unusual. It is, in fact, way too common for high-ranking officials in Florida to suddenly leave their public jobs to work for the very companies their offices regulate.


  • Bondi claims her office's recent ousters weren't affected by cozy relationships with anyone — that Edwards and Clarkson were ousted purely for "poor performance." But she is suspiciously low on proof.

  • Despite several requests, Bondi's office has been unable to provide a single document that specifically names and accuses either employee of substandard performance before they were ousted. Though Bondi's chief deputy says he repeatedly spoke with the two about his concerns, he apparently never documented them. To the contrary, the paper trail on Clarkson and Edwards paints a picture of top-notch investigators.

See also:

The Bradenton Times: AG Firings Need to be Investigated:

  • It is unfortunate to be able to so easily imagine a scenario where LPS's financial contributions and political connections will allow them to escape scrutiny, but to assert otherwise would be laughable. [...] What makes the possibility of the foreclosure investigators falling victim to political payback so much more egregious is its ripple effect.

The Bradenton Times: AG Firings Draw Broader Criticism, Calls Ring Out for Federal Inquiry,

The Palm Beach Post: Bondi picks the wrong side.