Harris County, Texas – home to Houston – believes Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems didn't pay filing fees on behalf of all Texas counties, Judge Ed Emmett told Bloomberg.
The county's lawyers may ask the courts for permission to hire outside attorneys to sue MERS for as much as $100 million in unpaid fees. MERS tracks servicing rights and ownership interests in mortgage loans on its electronic registry, which allows banks to buy and sell loans without recording transfers with individual counties.
A similar lawsuit was filed against MERS in September by Dallas County, which alleged the company didn't pay tens of millions of dollars in mortgage filing fees. It also named Stewart Title Guaranty Co., Stewart Title Co., Bank of America and Aspire Financial as defendants. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins told HousingWire that the company cost taxpayers $50 million to $100 million in fees.
"We are looking at it from the standpoint that because this entity was created, they were able to shirk this responsibility to pay the filing fees that are associated with a mortgage transaction," Watkins said. "When a document is filed with the county, there is a fee that is associated with it, but because of MERS these fees have not been paid."
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