Beasley Allen re-files predatory lending suit in Birmingham

MONTGOMERY, AL. -- Beasley Allen has re-filed the lawsuit on behalf of the City of Birmingham against various sub-prime lenders including CitiGroup, Inc., Citi Mortgage, Inc., Citi Financial, Inc., Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, and Countrywide. The suit contends that the companies have violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by participating in predatory lending practices. The lawsuit also alleges the lenders violated other state laws and have profited by their wrongdoing.

The suit was originally filed in November 2008. During the past 45 days, the City of Birmingham provided the defendants in this matter with an opportunity to resolve all claims in an amicable fashion. However, no settlement was reached with the defendants named in the complaint. The lawsuit was re-filed on Feb. 5 in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Ala.

The complaint alleges that as a result of the predatory lending practices of these lenders against many Birmingham residents, the City of Birmingham has lost tax revenue due to the high rate of foreclosures in the city.  The excessive foreclosures have also caused the city to spend additional taxpayer funds maintaining abandoned properties, demolishing abandoned buildings, on increased abatement costs and on increased police and fire protection expenses due to increased crime rates in areas hardest hit by sub-prime foreclosures. The lawsuit seeks compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief against the lenders to stop their predatory lending practices.

Jere L. Beasley and Jay Aughtman of Beasley Allen will represent the City of Birmingham, along with Lawrence Cooper, Birmingham City Attorney.

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