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Florida Bar group gets $23M in mortgage settlement

BOSTON – April 28, 2016 – The Florida Bar Foundation got a check this week for $23 million – it’s largest ever – as part of a Bank of America mortgage settlement that is aimed at legal aid for homeowners facing foreclosure.
The money came with few specifics on how it would be spent. Primarily it’s intended for legal assistance in foreclosure prevention cases and also for community redevelopment.
The foundation director said it would take years to determine how best to distribute the funds.
“It won’t help the people on the cusp of losing their homes,” said Bruce Blackwell, executive director of the foundation. “It isn’t money for individual people. Spending plans will be put together over time to make a difference in how the process works.”
He expected the foundation board would eventually consider grant applications from legal aid groups that could assist people in need. Spending rules were also uncertain for interest the foundation will earn on the funds, he added.
The bar foundation is one of 56 state-based legal-assistance organizations in the U.S. receiving funds under the settlement, which settled legal claims arising from mortgage-related activities by Bank of America and its subsidiaries.
About $490 million of settlements nationwide come from a fund that had been created to help homeowners pay income tax bills that would have been inflated by taxing mortgage debt on foreclosed houses. The federal government waived those tax payments and extended that exemption through this year.
Eric D. Green, a Boston-based professional mediator and retired Boston University law professor, was hired as independent monitor to oversee the tax-relief fund and the bank’s compliance with consumer-relief obligations.
Copyright © 2016 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Mary Shanklin. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.  
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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