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Van Hollen Grant Launches Foreclosure Mediation Program




Of particular concern to me are the significant public safety concerns related to foreclosed and abandoned properties in Milwaukee… Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen


MILWAUKEE -  Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Marquette University Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney, that he would commit proceeds from the successful Countrywide Financial Corporation lawsuit be put to work pursuant to the Stipulated Judgment ordered in the case.  


A portion of the proceeds from the Stipulated Judgment has been directed to fund the Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program pursuant to a recommendation by the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative.  In particular, the Attorney General will fund the participation of Marquette University Law School by supporting two positions necessary to implement the recommendation.   


“Our success in the Countrywide matter has made this possible. At the Mayor's request and in concert with the Marquette University Law School and the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative, Countrywide proceeds can be put to work- as the court ordered them to - mediating potential home foreclosures,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. “My decision to fund the Court-Appointed Mediation Program is based on Marquette's reputation for dispute resolution and the likelihood that this effort can expand statewide with their efforts. In this way we can take full advantage of Milwaukee's head-start,” the Attorney General went on. 


“As well, of particular concern to me are the significant public safety concerns related to foreclosed and abandoned properties in Milwaukee,” he concluded.


Mayor Barrett gratefully accepted the funds. “We're pleased these proceeds can be used to benefit an important recommendation of the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative. The Milwaukee Foreclosure Mediation Program is a critical part of the Partnership's intervention approach and will serve those in need and the City very well,” Barrett said. 


Marquette Law School Dean Joseph D. Kearney noted, “As a national leader in the field of dispute resolution, Marquette Law School is almost uniquely suited to the task of guiding an impartial foreclosure-mediation program. This state funding, along with the funding already approved by the City of Milwaukee, will enable us to help citizens preserve housing assets and retain homeownership where feasible, to return a steady mortgage payment to lenders, and to relieve the court dockets.”


Marquette University Law School will hire a trained chief mediator to lead mediation efforts, in addition to another full-time position providing administrative support. The chief and Law School faculty, together with an advisory board, will work to recruit other qualified attorneys to volunteer their time toward the effort. Law students will provide supervised volunteer assistance in the form of research, case management and other mediation-related activities.


The Attorney General has directed up to $310,000 to this Milwaukee effort with the express desire the program resources become available statewide. Additional funds may be made available to Marquette University to support expansion of the program to other parts of the state. Today as well, he appointed Assistant Attorney General Nelle Rohlich a Special Assistant Attorney General for Mortgage Foreclosure Mitigation. She will serve as the Department's point-person for efforts statewide.