Multnomah County gears up to sue national mortgage giant

In an action that has implications for tens of thousands of area homeowners, Multnomah County is taking on a mortgage-industry giant in hopes of recouping potentially millions of dollars in recording fees the county says have been avoided illegally.

County commissioners on Thursday will vote to make Multnomah the first county in Oregon to file a lawsuit against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a Virginia-based conglomerate created by large national banks to bundle and sell loans without having to record each new transaction.

“What MERS does is take the property recording system we have in Multnomah County and make it worthless,” said Jeff Cogen, commission chairman. “Anyone who buys, sells or owns a home in this county is affected.”

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