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Pressure mounts for investigation into dismissal of two state foreclosure fraud lawyers

Calls are building for an investigation into the forced resignations by Attorney General Pam Bondi of two attorneys investigating foreclosure fraud. A state lawmaker on Wednesday requested all documents related to the resignations, while a liberal public interest group has been circulating a petition asking for the state inspector general to investigate.

At issue are the departures of lawyers June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards, who led foreclosure fraud investigations under former Attorney General Bill McCollum. Clarkson and Edwards were forced to resign in late March from their posts in the Fort Lauderdale economic crimes bureau. The two had received positive job evaluations from McCollum.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, sent a letter to Bondi asking for documentation of the resignations. And Progress Florida, a St. Petersburg advocacy group, says Bondi is protecting Gov. Rick Scott's "biggest corporate pals — the banks — instead of hard working Floridians." It is asking for an investigation into Bondi's actions.

In an interview with the Times/Herald Clarkson said that after Bondi took office, she and Edwards were questioned intensely about their ongoing cases by Richard Lawson, appointed by Bondi as head of the Economic Crimes Division.

In particular, he asked about Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services and Tampa-based ProVest, Clarkson said.

"We were under fire like you have no idea," Clarkson said. "It was like our home team was against us."

Bondi's chief of staff, Carlos Muniz, said the two were forced to resign for poor job performance.