* Schneiderman removed from committee
* Iowa says New York has "undermined" gov't coalition
By Andrew Longstreth
NEW YORK, Aug 23 New York Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman was removed on Tuesday from a committee of state
attorneys general probing mortgage abuses, Iowa's attorney
Schneiderman's removal follows his statements in recent
months voicing concerns over a proposed deal between major
banks and a coalition of federal and state officials over
claims of foreclosure abuses.
"Effective immediately, the New York Attorney General's
Office has been removed from the Executive Committee of the
Robosigning multistate," an attorney in the Iowa Attorney
General's office, which is leading the investigation, said in
an email on Tuesday to other lawyers involved in the probe.
The removal is the latest sign of discord between
Schneiderman and the state and federal coalition on mortgage
abuses. On Monday, the New York Times reported that the federal
government was pressuring him to agree to a settlement with the
banks over abuses such as submitting allegedly false documents
to remove borrowers from their homes.
Schneiderman has said that he opposes any deal that gives
participating banks a release from other litigation surrounding
their mortgage activities. Attorneys general from other states
have also questioned aspects of the deal, including Delaware
Attorney General Beau Biden.
In a statement, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said that
New York had been a member of the executive committee since it
was formed in October 2010. But he said that New York declined
an opportunity to be part of a smaller negotiation committee
formed in June 2010.
"Since that time, New York has actively worked to undermine
the very multistate group that it had spent the previous nine
months working very closely with," he said.
Miller added that allowing New York to remain on the
committee "simply doesn't make sense, is unprecedented and is
Danny Kanner, a spokesperson for Schneiderman, said the
attorney general is "committed to a comprehensive resolution
that will provide homeowners meaningful relief to stay in their
homes, allow the housing market to begin to recover, and get
our economy moving again."
Kanner also said that "investigations by attorneys general
cannot be shut down by efforts to settle quickly and those
responsible must be held accountable."
Separately, Schneiderman has been pursuing his own
investigation into another aspect of the mortgage business, the
securitization practices at large banks. He recently sought to
intervene in Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N) $8.5 billion
mortgage-backed securities settlement, which he called "unfair"
(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; editing by Carol Bishopric)