Republicans in the California legislature called on Governor Gavin Newsom Tuesday not to appeal a court ruling directing the state to provide $331 million to help financially distressed homeowners.
The funding, obtained from a settlement agreement in a 2012 lawsuit over unfair lending practices, was intended to provide legal aid, foreclosure hotlines, consumer education and efforts to combat financial fraud. Instead, the state used the money to pay down unrelated government debt.
“The courts have spoken,” said Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Huntington Beach). “It’s long overdue and I urge the governor to finally provide relief to distressed homeowners now.”
The decision to divert the settlement money has been challenged in court, where the state has lost repeatedly. In the most recent ruling, California’s 3rd District Court of Appeal found that the Legislature acted improperly last summer when it retroactively approved the raid on the settlement fund.
“Legislative Republicans and I have been fighting for low-income and minority homeowners since 2015. Twice now, the courts have ruled this money should be used to help troubled homeowners. The majority party needs to step up and do the right thing,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).
California currently has a record $21.4 billion budget surplus. The diverted funds from the mortgage settlement amount to just 1.5 percent of the state’s excess revenue.
A copy of the letter to Governor Newsom is available here.