Attorneys’ Ouster From Fla. AG’s Office Stirs Controversy

Since leaving the attorney general’s office, Clarkson and Edwards have started their own firm and plan to represent homeowners in foreclosure defense

Their employee evaluations were consistently exemplary.

June “Clarkson is a dedicated and hard working attorney … and has embraced the division’s mission to protect consumers,” and Theresa “Edwards is a valued member of the team … demonstrating a strong work ethic and is always willing to assist others,” their supervisors wrote.

They received a distinguished service award from former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum for their work targeting foreclosure fraud and “robo-signing.” A PowerPoint presentation they produced on foreclosure fraud against homeowners became a model for attorneys general and judges around the country.

But just three months after stellar evaluations, Clarkson and Edwards were suddenly forced out of their jobs as assistant attorneys general May 20.

The forced resignations of the Fort Lauderdale-based attorneys, which only recently came to light, ignited accusations that Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi acted against them for political reasons. Some Democratic lfoegislators, public interest groups and foreclosure defense lawyers claim the two were doomed by their aggressive investigations of mortgage lenders and foreclosure firms, which revealed widespread irregularities.

They question whether there is a connection to the attorneys’ related investigation of a foreclosure process server, Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services, which donated more than $50,000 to Republican candidates in 2010, including $6,500 to Bondi. The company hired one of Bondi’s deputy attorney generals, Joe Jacquot, as its senior vice president for government affairs, in mid-May.

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