This kind of reminds me of the good old days when it was discovered that Judge Meenu Sasser was exposed for having some ties to the banking industry which ultimately got her “promoted.”

Judge Sasser’s investments that may be impinged by the outcome of cases in her division are:

More on Sasser here…

But hey, that’s old news…

Here is the latest from Mark Stopa…

Being a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

Every so often, I get asked what it’s like to be a foreclosure defense attorney.  My response?  Yes, it requires experience and a certain level of skill in court, but perhaps the biggest requirement is a willingness to stand up for “the little guy” and say “that’s not fair” when something in the system is amiss.

Sometimes, this is not very easy to do.  It can be awkward and uncomfortable to stand up against the system.  I’d imagine it’s like entering a gun fight with a bag of rocks.  It’s especially awkward when doing so entails standing up to judges before whom I appear on a regular basis.

However, if I’m going to be a foreclosure defense lawyer, as I fully intend to be, giving up is not an option.  Hence, when presented with a situation like I’ve been presented regarding the Honorable Martha Cook (a circuit court judge who presides over foreclosure cases in Tampa), I felt compelled to write her this letter.

You can check out the rest of Marks post here…

But first, some excerpts from his letter to Foreclosure Judge Martha Cook…

Respectfully, I am concerned at your decision to continue presiding over mortgage foreclosure cases given your personal ties to the banking industry and that of your husband.

1. Your husband is the Chairman and CEO of Community Bank of Manatee (and has been for quite some time);
2. You have/had more than a 5% ownership interest in that bank;
3. Your personal net worth decreased by nearly half in recent years, largely because of the near-failure of Community Bank.

I find it eminently reasonable for my clients to fear their ability to get a fair hearing/trial before you, in foreclosure lawsuits, given your personal, financial ties to the banking industry.

My concern in this regard came to a head at a recent hearing before you. After the hearing was concluded, I engaged in a 20-30 minute discussion with you (and opposing counsel), in open court, about the mortgage foreclosure crisis. What really sticks in my mind was your repeated indications that the “only way” to improve the economy was to “push through” foreclosure cases as quickly as possible.

I understand your desire to improve the economy. Heck, everyone wants the economy to improve. However, with all due respect, your role as a judge is not to improve the economy (or to use the cases before you as a mechanism to improve the economy). More significantly, I cannot help but wonder how much of your stated objective to “push through” foreclosure cases is predicated not on helping the economy, but on the personal, financial interests shared by you and your husband and your clear ties to the banking industry.

Hence, when I heard you say those things, it very much sounded to me like you were speaking not as a neutral and detached judge, but as a part-owner of a bank and as the spouse of a CEO of a bank.

Judge Cook, given your ties to the banking industry, I am respectfully requesting that you remove yourself as judge from all foreclosure cases.

Again, you can check out the rest of Marks post here…

Copy of his letter is attached below…