Monday, February 2, 2009 1:15:12 PM

Sheriff Evans halts sales of mortgage foreclosed homes

FYI - Attached is the press release and the legal memo providing the
justification for the Sheriff's decision. Below is the text of the
statement the Sheriff made this morning.

John Roach

Statement from Sheriff Warren Evans

YouTube at:[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9_TII3bXo]YouTube - Sheriff Warren Evans stops sale of foreclosed homes[/ame]

Today I will be stopping all mortgage foreclosure sales in Wayne County,
beginning with the sale that was scheduled for this Wednesday.

I am doing so because its my opinion that recently enacted federal laws
provide protections for homeowners facing foreclosure.

To proceed with sales without assuring that homeowners have been able to
avail themselves of those protections would put me in a position of
violating federal law.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program known as TARP that was approved by
Congress last fall requires the Secretary of the Treasury to implement a
plan to mitigate foreclosures.

That includes encouraging servicers of mortgages to modify loans to
enable homeowners to stay in their homes.

Federal law preempts state law, which means the TARP provision preempts
Michigans foreclosure law.

That, in turn, means foreclosures cannot move forward until efforts to
modify the mortgages of homes covered by TARP have been exhausted.

As a result, I have determined there are sufficient legal grounds for me
and for other sheriffs in Michigan to halt mortgage foreclosure sales.

I cannot in clear conscience allow any more families to lose their home
through foreclosure sale until Im satisfied they have been afforded
every option they are entitled to under the law to avoid foreclosure.

There is no way to immediately determine which of the approximately
300-400 homes that come up for sale each week in Wayne County are
covered by TARP protections and which are not.

As a Constitutional officer & officer of the court, I have both a legal
and moral obligation to make sure that all legal remedies have been
exhausted before a homeowner loses their home.

Since homeowners lose their rights to a property once a foreclosure sale
is complete, the only fair course of action is to halt the foreclosure
sales. As a result, the foreclosure sales that have been held every
Wednesday and Thursday are being discontinued.

My office will work with lenders and with homeowners facing the threat
of foreclosure to make sure that homeowners are being provided every
option they are entitled to under the law to avoid foreclosure.

Mortgage modifications could include acquiring a lower interest rate,
forgiveness of past defaulted payments, reduction of the monthly loan
payment or perhaps the lowering of the loan principle, to give just a
few examples.

Any of these modifications could mean the difference between families
keeping their homes or being forced out of them.

After speaking to and meeting with lawyers who represent foreclosed
homeowners and mortgage lenders, I have come to understand that very few
homeowners have been able to avail themselves of this financial life
raft.

In other words, many of the properties that come to the Sheriffs sale
each week likely are covered by the TARP. But we have no way of knowing
which ones. And we have no way of knowing which of those covered by the
TARP actually have been provided any assistance under the program.

As a result, I am halting all foreclosure sales. And I am urging all
Michigan sheriffs to join me in implementing this moratorium on
foreclosure sales.

In doing so, they will assure that Michigan homeowners have every
opportunity to renegotiate their mortgages before they are subjected to
foreclosure proceedings.