Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is the Arapahoe County Treasurer-Elect Pulling the Wool?

Is it just me or is the newly elected Arapahoe County Treasurer trying to pull the wool over our eyes? Perhaps he already has. Doug Milliken won the job of county treasurer by approximately 2000 votes; running on a platform which touted his background as a finance expert and promising to “educate residents to make wise decisions to avoid foreclosure” and “Empower you about ways to retrieve a home out of foreclosure” Both of these statements appear on his website as goals and objectives.

Although honorable, I am not sure that Mr. Milliken understands his subject and therefore certain aspects of his new job. As reported in both Denver newspapers, Mr. Milliken himself is facing a foreclosure sale of his personal residence on January 3rd. In my role as a mortgage banker, I speak to individuals facing foreclosure frequently and I am not judging Mr. Milliken or the circumstances he is facing in his personal life. I am calling into question his ability to serve the citizens in Arapahoe County due to his lack of understanding of the foreclosure process and his competence to fulfill his role as treasurer.

In response to questions that have been raised by the media and Bernie Ciazza, the outgoing treasurer, Mr. Milliken has made two statements that are incorrect and are either honest mistakes concerning the facts, which underscores my point, or intentionally false, which of coarse should be of concern to the citizens of Arapahoe County.

First, Mr. Milliken claims that he was unaware that his home was in foreclosure. This is highly unlikely as the foreclosure process is mandated by statute and certain notifications must be made to the homeowner as the process moves toward resolution. Beyond the formal foreclosure process, homeowners are inundated with unsolicited offers from mortgage brokers, Realtors, and investors once the Notice of Election and Demand is filed with the County and the foreclosure is thereby made public. It is hard to accept that any homeowner could be in default for months and not be aware of the collection efforts being undertaken from the mortgage lender.

Secondly, Mr. Milliken claims that his mortgage insurance company is resolving past due payments on his behalf, which is not the purpose of mortgage insurance and further illustrates his lack of understanding. Mortgage insurance is placed on loans that exceed a certain loan to value ratio and the policy protects that lender in the event of default, not the homeowner. Further these policies do not make monthly mortgage payments on the homeowners’ behalf, they cover the shortfall for the lender as a result of a default sale of the property.

We should expect and deserve accountability from our public officials. Mr. Milliken has not demonstrated sound judgment or accountability in addressing what many consider to be legitimate concerns about his capacity to serve.

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