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Blame game continues as Lopez-Cantera fingers Sink in mortgage crisis

Borrowers_banner_2Miami Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera today continued the blame game emerging over who should have known that Florida's regulation of mortgage brokers was a riddled with holes, as the Miami Herald's series exposed this week.

In a letter to Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's legislative director, Lopez-Cantera says that she should have been asking more questions and getting more answers if she really wanted to prevent mortgage fraud and calling for Don Saxon's resignation now is "too little too late.''  Download letter_from_carlos_lopezcantera_to_department_of_financial_services.pdf Download letter_from_dfs_to_representative_carlos_lopez_cantera.pdf

"Alex Sink is the top economic cop in this state. Why wasn't mortgage fraud a higher priority?'' Lopez-Cantera asks. He notes that she campaigned on the promise that "I will ask the tough questions." 

It's all more proof that lots of folks in Tallahassee are in serious damage control mode. Sink called for Saxon's resignation the day the Herald series ran. Lopez-Cantera notes that he sponsored legislation last session to crack down on mortgage fraud and Sink never showed a peep of interest in it.

But that raises more questions: Should legislators reviewing the issue of mortgage have been asking these questions too? Should they have asked why the 2006 law to ban felons wasn't enforced. And what about Sink's predecessor Tom Gallagher? Didn't he support the structure of Saxon's office to allow for the full Cabinet to have oversight? Did he ask these questions?

"It's not our job to make sure laws were enforced,'' Lopez-Cantera answers. "It's our job to pass laws.''

UPDATE: House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber offers this response to Lopez-Cantera: 

"Rep Lopez-Cantero's accusations would be funny if the issue wasn't so tragic. Seriously, the idea that the CFO bears blame for a problem that, according to the Herald, was almost entirely baked before she was even elected in 2006 is ludicrous. Further, it was the legislature that in 2003 took away from the CFO any direct oversight over the  Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) and instead made the entire cabinet responsible for the hiring and firing of the head of OFR."