Topeka 1:55 p.m.
Some are touting a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision as a major development in the protection of people facing foreclosures.
In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, the court ruled unanimously that Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems had no standing to bring action in a foreclosure case.
According to some reports MERS holds some 60 million mortgages, over half of all new U.S. mortgages.
While the case applies only to Kansas, folks who defend homeowners are saying courts in other states could take note of the ruling.
The decision was handed down Aug. 28 and involved a case out of Ford County where a property was foreclosed and sold at auction.
In the complex proceeding, Landmark National Bank was the first lienholder, while MERS claimed to be the second mortgage holder. But the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that MERS was not legally the owner of the loan. MERS has filed a motion for reconsideration.
The case opinion can be accessed at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/supct/2009/20090828/98489.htm
CLO Funding Review ( .PDF )
Three Republican state legislators are pushing for an investigation into the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ decision last year to grant extra funding to a politically-connected disability organization.
The dispute centers on SRS approving nearly $713,000 in what is called “extraordinary funding” to Community Living Opportunities Inc., which is a Johnson County-based provider of services for the developmentally disabled. CLO owns Midnight Farm Day Camp in Lawrence.
The funding decision was made by SRS Secretary Don Jordan. An independent review of the decision made later said that Jordan had the authority to make the payments but acceptable source documentation that supported the payments could not be found.
At the time of the funding request, CLO’s board included Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates, and Gates’ law partner Dan Biles, who has since resigned after former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed him to the Kansas Supreme Court. According to reports, the SRS decision to grant funding was made after Gates had contacted the governor’s office seeking approval of the funding. Gates has been reported to be considering a run for governor in 2010.
State Reps. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, and David Crum, R-Augusta, have asked Attorney General Steve Six to investigate whether SRS violated Medicaid rules. State Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, said she was pleased with the request for an investigation.
Gov. Mark Parkinson has backed off completely from his statement that benefit changes need to be considered for those already in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
In a blog that Parkinson writes, he said he made a mistake when making that initial statement last week to reporters when asked about funding problems within KPERS.
“First, we haven’t done enough internal work on the solutions yet for me to be making any statements on potential fixes,” Parkinson blogged. “Second, because I said that we would consider changes for people that are already in the system, I may have scared tens of thousands of retirees who are already receiving benefits, and even more current state employees who are counting on this fund for their future.
“I said it, but it’s not what I meant. What I should have said -- and meant to say -- is that we don’t want to cut any benefits and we are analyzing all our options.”
In the blog, Parkinson owns up to several mistake he has made recently. “I make mistakes all the time,” he said. And, he said, the rule that politicians should never own up to their mistakes is “ridiculous”
He said his comments to reporters about KPERS came after a night where he got only four hours sleep after his dogs woke him up. He titled his blog “3:30 a.m. Debacle”
His blog can be read at http://www.governor.ks.gov/News/Blog/blog090916.htm.