New York AG Schneiderman Comes out Swinging at BofA, BoNY
This is big. Though we’ve seen leading indicators over the last few weeks that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman might get involved in the proposed Bank of America settlement over Countrywide bonds, few expected a response that might dynamite the entire deal. But that’s exactly what yesterday’s filing before Judge Kapnick could do.
Stating that he has both a common law and a statutory interest “in protecting the economic health and well-being of all investors who reside or transact business within the State of New York,” Schneiderman’s petition to intervene takes a stance that’s more aggressive than that of any of the other investor groups asking for a seat at the table. Rather than simply requesting a chance to conduct discovery or questioning the methodology that was used to arrive at the settlement, the AG’s petition seeks to intervene to assert counterclaims against Bank of New York Mellon for persistent fraud, securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
Did you say F-f-f-fraud? That’s right. The elephant in the room during the putback debates of the last three years has been the specter of fraud. Sure, mortgage bonds are performing abysmally and the underlying loans appears largely defective when investors are able to peek under the hood, but did the banks really knowingly mislead investors or willfully obstruct their efforts to remedy these problems? Schneiderman thinks so. He accuses BoNY of violating: