Advertisement
  1. Business

Florida grabs a chunk of foreclosure settlement money for state budget

Published May 27, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — Out of $334 million in cash payments sent to Florida in a multibillion dollar mortgage settlement with major banks, more than $33 million will help bolster the state's budget.

Florida is one of several states taking a portion of the $2.5 billion in cash payments from big banks and using it for programs not directly related to the foreclosure crisis, according to ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Pam Bondi — who negotiated the settlement on Florida's behalf — confirmed that 10 percent of the cash has been sent to the general budget fund.

Florida's total take in the $25 billion national settlement — which includes principal writedowns and mortgage modifications — is worth about $8.4 billion.

About $334 million of that came in the form of a cash payment to the state, and the attorney general's office has maintained that most of the money will be used to directly help home­owners.

Settlement documents indicate that Bondi negotiated the 10 percent civil penalty, resulting in a $33.4 million cash payment to the general fund.

For now, Florida is only using 10 percent of the cash payment to bolster its general budget, but some other states are using all or a majority of their funds to plug large budget holes, according to a chart created by ProPublica. A few states have clauses similar to Florida's, directing 10 percent of the money to general revenue as a penalty.

Still, some states have decided to use all of the funds for homeowners, citing that they were the main victims in the robo-signing scandal.

The remaining $300 million in Florida's settlement cash has not yet been allocated. Bondi asked members of the public for suggestions on how to spend the money this month and has stated that it would be used to provide direct relief help for homeowners. Housing groups have advocated for the money to be used for legal aid for homeowners and low-income housing programs.

Georgia directed all of its $99 million to programs designed to attract new businesses.

A spokesman for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told ProPublica: "He believes that the best way to prevent foreclosures amongst honest homeowners who have experienced hard times is to create jobs here in our state."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
  2. Lilly Beth Rodriguez, left, Laura Robertson and Linda Lamont work on a Habitat for Humanity house in north Pasco. [Times (2013)]
    The increase is expected to happen in the first half of next year. CEO hopes other nonprofits follow suit.
  3. The number of single-family homes sold in the Tampa Bay area during August rose 2.8 percent when compared with the same month last year, according to a monthly report from Florida Realtors. (Times file photo)
    The midpoint price in the bay area rose to $250,000, which is still lower than the state and national median prices.
  4. The Aldi store located on 1551 34th St N, St. Petersburg, Florida in 2018, features its updated layout. JONES, OCTAVIO   |  Tampa Bay Times
    The store will re-open after renovations on Thursday, Sept. 26
  5. Jessica LaBouve, a penetration tester for cybersecurity company A-LIGN, poses for a portrait in the A-LIGN office on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 in Tampa. Companies hire A-LIGN to figure out where their digital security weak spots are, and LaBouve is one of the "benevolent hackers" that finds them. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Jessica LaBouve of A-LIGN works with companies to make their applications and platforms more secure.
  6. Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year. MARKUS SCHREIBER  |  AP
    The billionaire also talks trade with China in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
  7. The economies of Canada and Florida go together like, well, palm fronds and maple leaves, as seen outside the Sweetwater RV Resort in Zephyrhills. (Times file photo) KATE CALDWELL  |  Tampa Bay Times
    To qualify under the proposed Canadian Snowbirds Act, visitors would have to be older than 50 and would have to own or rent a home here.
  8. Tampa investor and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning Jeff Vinik, right, speaks about his investments in the video game industry at the eSports Summit Wednesday in Tampa as Matt Samost, Vice President of New Ventures for Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment looks on. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A summit at USF brought together major players and explored the possibility of an esports arena.
  9. Neeld-Gordon Garden Center, open at this location since 1925, is closing on Sept. 28. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    The development of Pinellas County and the arrival of the big box stores helped hasten the store’s demise.
  10. 7-Eleven Inc. is opening its first location in a Brandon mall. Pictured is a location in Port Richey in 2018. | [Times (2018) TYLISA JOHNSON | TIMES  |  TyLisa Johnson | Times
    It is the first of eight mall locations opening this year.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement