DETROIT (WWJ) – Oakland County could gain millions of dollars now that a federal judge has ruled that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac withheld real estate transfer taxes on foreclosures.
The county sued the mortgage giants in Detroit federal court, claiming they illegally avoided taxes when filing real estate documents. The mortgage companies claimed they are exempt as government entities.
Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner expects the county to receive up to five million dollars — based on the number of times Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed to pay the real estate transfer tax.
“What I am going to attempt is to keep not only Oakland County’s portion, but the state’s portion for transactions that happened in Oakland County to keep all of those dollars in Oakland County, to be used to help fight the effects of the foreclosure crisis, to try to demolish foreclosed properties that are too far gone and blighted,” he said.
Meisner also expects other counties in Michigan and throughout the country to file suit against the mortgage giants.
“This is not just a victory for Oakland County taxpayers. I have been working with my colleagues, the county treasurers from across Michigan to organize a class action suit and I’ve also heard from government officials from around the entire country,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed Monday, June 20, 2011 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.