Re: “State must act against loans that steal homes” (editorial, 11-18).
I’m troubled by the way the state attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division is portrayed in your editorial. It was evidently based on a report by Seattle Times reporter Christine Willmsen, which The News Tribunre republished (11-16) under the headline, “For a loan, University Place man will take your home.”
There’s no doubt that Emiel Kandi is a despicable person who preys on the desperation of struggling homeowners. Everyone at the AGO feels enormous sympathy for Christine Provost and his other victims.
But your editorial and Willmsen’s report fail to adequately portray the role of our office, the limitations of civil enforcement action, and the incredible work that our office and Assistant Attorney General David Huey, in particular, have accomplished to protect consumers from unfair lending practices.
Huey has been nationally recognized for his leadership. He negotiated four nationwide settlements with lenders, serves on the executive committee investigating allegations the foreclosure servicing industry, and established critical programs to provide counseling and free legal services to homeowners.
The Consumer Protection Division brings cases to vindicate the public’s interest in a fair and non-deceptive marketplace. Just because state agencies haven’t taken action doesn’t mean Kandi’s predatory actions will go unpunished. And it certainly doesn’t mean that officials don’t care. We do.
I would encourage you to get the full, accurate story of our office’s work at www.atg.wa.gov/newstribuneletter112210.aspx.
(Walsh is chief of the Consumer Protection Division in the state attorney general’s office.)