In an apparent acknowledgment to the Denver Post articles regarding questionable practices among Colorado Public Trustees, the Governor accepted the resignations of the 10 Public Trustees he appoints. The trustees are in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo and Weld counties.
The Governor’s Office issued new guidelines for the 10 trustees appointed by the governor. Those guidelines are:
• Submitting a conflict of interest disclosure each year and disclosing any professional licenses.
• Following state rules on the use of any vehicle owned by the Public Trustee’s office. That includes not using state vehicles for personal use.
• Receiving approval of all purchases greater than $5,000.
• Following state rules on official functions.
• Restricting the gifts purchased for employees.
Public Trustees handle public transactions and foreclosures on real estate properties. They oversee the administration of Deeds of Trust including releasing them when a loan has been satisfied and foreclosing in the event of default. The Public Trustee is also responsible for the collection of tax accounts of Land Purchase Contracts for Deed within his or her county.
The Governor’s Office is working with each trustee to establish an appropriate transition so there is no interruption in service and will begin accepting applications through the Office of Boards and Commissions.
In Pueblo, Nick Gradisar had moved his Public Trustee office into a rented space in a building he was part owner of. The amount paid in rent could be as much as $26,000 for Gradisar’s share. Gradisar and El Paso Public Trustee Thomas Mowle had agreed to interviews on Tuesday but both backed out. Gradisar said he “had something come up” and Mowle said he wanted to hear more from the State before saying anything on camera.
As stated in yesterday’s blog, I strongly urge the governor to appoint Public Trustees who will not take contributions from foreclosure law firms, banks and other lending institutions.
It is widely known that many Public Trustees have been”wined and dined” by foreclosure law firms and received other gifts, such as monetary donations, favors, paid conference retreats and campaign contributions. While some of these have been the appointed Public Trustees, it is widely known that other elected Public Trustees have engaged in similar activity as well.
The majority of Public Trustees also use GTS- the foreclosure filing system in which Larry Castle of Castle Stawiarski holds an interest, as reported by the Denver Post in this article: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_18628865
GTS is reportedly more expensive than other available filing systems, which drives up profits at the expense of the homeowners. I urge a more neutral and less expensive filing system to be a part of the new Public Trustee guidelines.
Public Trustees should not be influenced by big pockets and should consist of personnel who will make fair and neutral decisions and remain impartial and not be solicited by those foreclosure law firms, banks and lending institutions.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado foreclosure defense attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.