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I started wondering whatever happened to erstwhile City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s lawsuits against Countrywide, Washington Mutual and Wachovia, mortgage lenders he said had preyed on borrowers in San Diego and should be held accountable.

Aguirre was up for reelection when he filed the suits. The Countrywide one more or less overlapped a suit filed by the state attorney general. Because of that, Aguirre’s opponent, Jan Goldsmith, was quite critical of the action.

Now that Goldsmith’s in office, I checked in with his spokeswoman Gina Coburn to find out what happened. She said the City Attorney’s Office had dropped the cases.

The “foreclosure sanctuary” lawsuits were dismissed and we have offered our assistance to the Attorney General’s office where needed as they are now handling the matter.

What about all of the cases against Countrywide that were supposed to be transferred to be heard in San Diego? Aguirre claimed some responsibility for convincing federal judges that this should be the center of the hearings.

Aguirre saw great significance in the October decision to have the cases heard here:

“The “center of gravity” in the predatory lending litigation across the nation will now be in San Diego, Aguirre said this afternoon in a press conference.

According to the transfer document filed by the panel, San Diego was chosen for three reasons: Two of the cases in the docket were filed in the Southern California district, Countrywide’s home base is in Southern California and the courts here have “the capacity to handle this litigation.” …

Just a few months ago, what seemed an ambitious objective — to stop foreclosure … that proposal seemed ambitious, but it now is common sense,” Aguirre said, referring to calls around the country for a moratorium on foreclosures. “San Diego is helping to lead the nation in an important part of the economic situation.”

I just put in a call to the attorney general to find out what’ll happen.

KELLY BENNETT

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