Legislative leaders back Atty. Gen. Harris on mortgage settlement
Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris faced criticism from Occupy L.A. protesters but support from state legislative leaders on Thursday concerning her agreement to have California participate in a multi-state mortgage-abuse settlement with banks that could provide billions of dollars for Californians.
About 100 protesters were outside the state building in Los Angeles where Harris announced the deal, with some calling the settlement a "sellout" that lets banks off the hook for foreclosure abuses.
But state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) praised Harris' decision to seek a better deal than the one originally offered to settle investigations into foreclosure misconduct, such as robo-signing.
"She could have easily signed on to the settlement weeks ago and claimed victory, but instead she dug in her heels and worked around the clock for a settlement that acknowledges the extent the banking industry's bad behavior had on California homeowners and our economy," Steinberg said in a statement.
Perez said the settlement "holds banks accountable,'' and that the state's "strong position in the enhanced settlement is due to the advocacy and tenacity'' of Harris.
Both said the Legislature will now work with Harris on a bill package to provide additional protection for homeowners and tenants of homes under foreclosure, which Steinberg said would include additional powers for the attorney general to crack down on misconduct.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times