More Bondi Bullshit | Statement by Carlos Muniz, Deputy Attorney General/Chief of Staff RE the Firing of Fraudclosure Investigators June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards

Look, if you are going to make up accusations on why you fired the two top fraudclosure investigators in the country, have your lies ready before you do it. It has been two months since June and Theresa were fired, over a week that the story went national, and now you come out with this rhetoric?

I happen to personally know these fine women and in my opinion the below statement is a flat out lie spun to deflect the negative attention...

As Matt Weidner puts it...

After a week of coverage, Florida’s Attorney General is finally setting the record straight.  The attorneys working in her office who were investigating foreclosure fraud were not doing their jobs properly.  And not to worry Floridians, because Bondi now has 8 (Count em, Eight!) attorneys investigating all the wrongdoing.  Now I’m sure that these 8 new investigators didn’t need to get any information from Clarkson and Edwards and I’m sure that just sending both of them packing unceremoniously was the correct thing to do….after all, they were performing poorly.

 

And importantly, Florida’s Attorney General is ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO FIGHTING FORECLOSURE FRAUD. In fact, Florida’s AG has not just added resources to aid in these investigations, no our AG Pam Bondi has, “dramatically increased the investigator resources devoted to this issue.”


And because there are so many precious state resources devoted to this issue, I expect that there will be press conferences and high profile announcements any day.  For the first six months Florida’s Governor and Attorney General have been pounding on the Pill Mills every day.  Press Conferences, Photo Ops, Cheerleaders, Marching Bands.  Now that they are apparently putting this same passion and focus and passion on the foreclosure problems, I’m sure we can all expect  similar results and attention.

I'm sure you can sense a tad bit of sarcasm from Matt's post. I wouldn't hold my breath...

Statement by Carlos Muniz, Deputy Attorney General/Chief of Staff

At the end of May, with my approval, June Clarkson's and Theresa Edwards' supervisor met with them and gave them the option either to resign or be fired.  The reason was entirely related to the attorneys’ job performance.

As reflected in an April review of our agency’s South Florida Economic Crimes Bureau, the attorneys’ shortcomings included problems with: “proper identification and analysis of legal issues;” “judgment in discussing matters related to pending investigations with third parties;” and “professionalism to opposing counsel.”  Clarkson and Edwards were fully aware of these deficiencies, since their division director had met with them three times over a several-month period to discuss their performance and to demand improvement.  It was only out of basic professional courtesy that I authorized giving Clarkson and Edwards the option to resign rather than be fired outright; their performance was unacceptable, but they had not engaged in deliberate misconduct.

It had been the agency’s preference not to publicly criticize Clarkson’s and Edwards’s performance or to discuss the circumstances surrounding their departure, because doing so would have been inconsistent with the decision to give the attorneys the option to resign.  However, for reasons known only to them, the attorneys have baselessly suggested that they were the victims of “politics” and that our agency is uninterested in pursuing foreclosure-related wrongdoing.  Their reaction is unfortunate, because nothing could be farther from the truth.  Clarkson and Edwards are no longer with the agency because of their poor performance and their failure to improve after multiple warnings.  If anything, it would have been "political" and irresponsible for the agency to retain low-performing attorneys solely out of a fear that their involvement in high-profile investigations would cause an otherwise mundane personnel decision to be sensationalized.

Attorney General Bondi has made protecting consumers and fighting fraud a top priority of her administration.  One of her first acts as attorney general was to personally recruit seasoned and respected prosecutor Richard Lawson to head the agency’s Economic Crimes division, ensuring that the unit would be led by someone with the commitment and the skill to hold wrongdoers accountable.  Under Attorney General Bondi’s leadership and direction, our agency has sought aggressively to protect consumers from foreclosure-related misconduct, with the result that we have ongoing investigations of nine foreclosure law firms and businesses.  We have increased from two to eight the number of attorneys investigating so-called “foreclosure mills,” and we have dramatically increased the investigator resources devoted to this issue.

All Floridians can have confidence that the Bondi Administration hires and evaluates agency attorneys on the basis of merit, professionalism, and ethics, and that we strive always to find the best possible attorneys to serve the people of our state.

That's all they got, and it doesn't even hold water... They have been scrambling to come up with something since the story broke. Too bad it will backfire beyond their imagination...

Some quotes from the Palm Beach post on the matter...

In his statement Thursday, Muniz refers to an April 28 review of the South Florida bureau and Chief Assistant Attorney General Robert Julian that lists staff shortcomings, including "proper identification and analysis of legal issues" and "professionalism to opposing counsel."

 

"Hopefully improvement will be made in these areas in the future," the review concluded.

 

It does not mention Edwards or Clarkson by name.

No it does not...

Just seven days earlier, in an interim evaluation of Edwards, Julian praised her work, saying it has been "instrumental in triggering a nationwide review" of foreclosure practices.

 

"I cannot overstate the degree to which I respect Ms. Edwards and her work with this unit," Julian wrote.

Well, isn't that nice...

Both Edwards and Clarkson also received high marks in evaluations conducted in the fall.

 

Clarkson was given "above expectation" or "exceptional" rankings in 14 of 15 categories.

 

Edwards received "above expectation" or "exceptional" rankings in all 15 categories.


"The shortcomings outlined are hard to understand when you put them beside the evaluations of 2010," Edwards said Thursday. "I dispute the version of events released by the attorney general's office."

That doesn't sound like  problems with: "proper identification and analysis of legal issues" and "professionalism to opposing counsel."

But...

The investigations have faced setbacks. The Boca Raton-based law firm of Shapiro & Fishman won a ruling in the 4th District Court of Appeal in April to quash a subpoena it was issued last year. The state is not challenging the decision. A similar subpoena to the Law Offices of David J. Stern was upheld in Broward County Circuit Court, but has been appealed to the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Muniz said Thursday the resignations had nothing to do with politics.

 

"The attorneys have baselessly suggested that they were the victims of 'politics' and that our agency is uninterested in pursuing foreclosure-related wrongdoing," Muniz said. "Their reaction is unfortunate because nothing could be further from the truth."

Time to put on the boots. The shit is getting thick...

I can see why the fired investigators are confused though...

"It seems strange," Edwards said, "that they would remove the two attorneys who knew the most about the background and had gotten the farthest in the investigations without any opportunity to provide transition notes."

Yea, exactly...

So, poor performance or something else?

I'm going with the latter...

I think it may be time to let Bondi know how you feel about this...

http://www.facebook.com/pambondi

http://twitter.com/#!/PamBondi

http://myfloridalegal.com/contact

 

www.4closureFraud.org

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