I-Team: Former U.S. Attorney Questioned on Robo-Signing - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Former U.S. Attorney Questioned on Robo-Signing

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LAS VEGAS -- Robo-signing left tens of thousands of Nevadans not knowing if they own their home.

State leaders take a near unanimous stand against it but one Nevada politician may be voting one way, while profiting another way.

State Senator Greg Brower joined a near unanimous vote last year in a high-profile bill combating robo-signing. The Reno-area Republican is in one of the most competitive races in the state. The power balance at the state capital is at stake. But perhaps, more important, a clear answer From Brower on the question: Is robo-signing good or bad?

There are Nevadans who don't know if they own their own homes. Bill Campbell is one of them.

"I don't own the home I bought three years ago. I made payments faithfully and on time until just recently when it was confirmed I don't own the house I bought."

Tanya Butterfield also considers herself a victim of robo-signing. She couldn't short sell the family home because there was no clear title. Instead, she declared bankruptcy.

"It's where my son, we brought him home there, it was his first home."

Brower is Nevada's former U.S. Attorney. He's now a partner at a private law firm paid to represent Lender Processing Services. Nevada's attorney general sued that company for what the state calls the largest case of illegal robo-signing. Brower's fellow attorneys filed a court paper which states robo-signing is not illegal; it is expressly permitted, and is not forgery.

The I-Team wanted to see if Brower himself supports robo-signing. At first, he told us, on the phone, he had nothing to do with the high-profile robo-signing case. The I-Team wanted Brower to explain his position. His office canceled one interview and postponed several times. Finally the I-Team caught up to Brower at a Las Vegas legislative hearing at the end of the lunch break.

Reporter Nathan Baca: "You have no involvement whatsoever?"

Greg Brower: "No. But I'm not; we're in the middle of a hearing. Look, you don't need to do anything. We're in the middle of a legislative hearing. If you want to talk at some point, let's make arrangements to do that but you can't interrupt a hearing."

Baca: "But the hearing isn't going on right now."

Brower: "We're about to start. The chairman's about to gavel in."

Baca: "Can you take a look at this and explain this to me?"

Brower: "I don't know what this is.

Baca: "It's a letter from you."

In the letter to the attorney general's office, Brower says he represents LPS and all questions should go through him.

Brower: Well, this is a letter that I sent to John Kelleher quite some time ago in anticipation of some meeting that I facilitated between LPS and his office. Like I said, I'm not involved in any litigation or case that's pending.

Baca: "And you also visited the office, have you?"

Brower: "I have, yeah."

Baca: "Is robo-signing legal or is it illegal? What would you like to tell voters?"

Brower: "Well, that's a legal question that I'd be happy to get into in some other context. I don't know what the context of your question is and I just don't know where you're going with this."

"I think it's really shameful," said former Senator Sheila Leslie, a Democrat running against Brower. She explains who she believes Nevada's leaders should be fighting for.

"Some of the banks and these mortgage processing firms have added to the misery that so many hard working Nevadans have faced. Struggling families that have lost their homes."

Real estate attorneys say that nine out of 10 homes purchased after foreclosure have problems with their titles. Robo-signing may sound impersonal by its very title, but tens of thousands of Nevadans feel its impact personally.

Some left their homes, uncertain if they had to. Others bought houses not knowing if their homes are truly theirs to be clear.

There is a legal defense of robo-signing that will be heard in district court May 10, 2012. Lender Processing Services says it has not done any illegal act and that having employees sign mortgage documents in their bosses name is not forgery. After the I-Team interview, Greg Brower contacted Channel 8 saying his law firm no longer represents LPS. He says it is "difficult for him to discuss robo-signing in the abstract."

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