Democratic lawmakers ask feds to investigate Bondi's firing of foreclosure attorneys
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando and state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywoold, have asked U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene in the investigation of the forced resignations of two foreclosure attornesy by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
After facing criticisms for the firings, Bondi said on Tuesday she would appoint an independent inspector general to be sure the dismissals were handled properly. Bondi on Wednesday afternoon asked CFO Jeff Atwater to have his inspector general examine the firings, and he agreed. (Bondi and Atwater are pictured together, at right, on Election Day in 2010.)
But that's not good enough for Soto and Sobel.
"These terminations have been the subject of numerous articles and intense public outcry in light of the extensive mortgage fraud that has occurred in this state and the possibility that these terminations may have been motivated by outside special interests," Soto and Sobel wrote to Nelson and Holder. "We believe it is in the public’s best interest that these issues be reviewed by an investigatory agency not directly associated with the State of Florida in an effort to get the most neutral review."
At issue are the departures of lawyers June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards, who led foreclosure fraud investigations under Attorney General Bill McCollum. Clarkson and Edwards were forced to resign in late May by top staff in Bondi's office. The pair had received positive job evaluations from McCollum.
In their own statement released today, Clarkson and Edwards said this about the day they were dismissed: "We asked the reason for this sudden, unexpected and shocking news and he (South Florida economic crimes burea chief Robert Julian) said that he had asked and was told that no reason was being given and that the firings 'came from the top.' "