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Another FHFA Victory in Fee Litigation

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The conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has scored another victory in litigation filed by local governments seeking unpaid fees.

Last month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Oakland County, Mich.’s, lawsuit against the pair of secondary lenders that Fannie and Freddie do not have to pay real estate transfer taxes.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is Fannie and Freddie’s regulator and in control of their conservatorships, is named as a defendant in the Michigan case.

Oakland County, which has vowed to take its case to the Supreme Court, claims that Fannie and Freddie owe it $1.5 million and owe the State of Michigan is owed $10.5 million.

On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted FHFA’s motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Lee County, Fla., Clerk of the Court Linda Doggett.

Doggett originally filed her complaint in October 2012 alleging that Fannie and Freddie hadn’t paid documentary taxes when they transferred title and ownership to properties subject to foreclosure.

But FHFA argued that state and federal law exempts Fannie and Freddie from paying the tax.

“The court agrees with the reasoning of the sixth circuit and the many district courts which have previously addressed this issue and finds that the plain language of the provisions exempt defendants from owing documentary taxes due under Fla. Stat. § 201.02,” the decision stated. “Therefore, the motion to dismiss is granted.”

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