The cost of the required assignment fee per mortgage transaction is $12 per three-or-more pages, which may not be a lot, but with hundreds or thousands of mortgage transactions, per year, it can add up.
Buying and selling mortgages through several banks is a common practice and not illegal — it’s the unpaid assignment fees to the counties for those transactions that the lawsuit stipulates damaged Kentucky counties.
The lawsuit also alleges that it was these business practices by MERS was a major cause for the economic and housing crash in later part of the past decade.
County Attorney Brian Goettl said that he plans to make a recommendation to join the lawsuit to the Jessamine County Fiscal Court during its next regular meeting Tuesday.
Goettl said the plaintiffs wish to turn the lawsuit into a class action that encompasses all 120 Kentucky counties.
An estimate of what Jessamine County could recoup in the lawsuit if it is successful is difficult to calculate at this time, Goettl said.
The suit seeks a total of $5 million, 25 percent of which would be retained by the litigating firms.
Jessamine County has “nothing to lose” by joining the lawsuit since there will be no cost and they will not be required pursue the litigation itself, Goettl said.
The only other requirement is that county clerk Eva McDaniel’s office make its records available to the litigating firms and waive the department’s usual printing fees.
McDaniel said she is more than happy to waive the cost and go after MERS since it is technically her office that lost the most by not getting the mortgage assignment fees.
Currently the lawsuit is pending in the Eastern District of Kentucky, as more and more counties are expected to join.
Kentucky is not the only state to sue MERS. Michigan, Florida, California and Texas have also sued in an effort to recoup losses from MERS mortgage buying and selling business practices.