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Citing “Mismanagement and Inaction,” Nelson Blames Scott for Ongoing Mortgage Mess

| March 27, 2013

Sen. Bill Nelson, left, in a stop in Tallahassee, is blaming Rick Scott for not putting to work federal dollars designed to help those hardest hit by the mortgage meltdown. (Facebook and © FlaglerLive)

Sen. Bill Nelson, left, in a stop in Tallahassee, is blaming Rick Scott for not putting to work federal dollars designed to help those hardest hit by the mortgage meltdown. (Facebook and © FlaglerLive)

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday that Gov. Rick Scott is to blame for the state’s poor performance in helping homeowners who lost their jobs or part of their incomes during the recession.

Nelson said during a stop in Tallahassee that he has written the inspector general of the federal Troubled Assets Relief Fund, or TARP, to look into what he called “mismanagement and inaction by Florida officials” in administering a program called “Hardest Hit,” which was supposed to take federal money and help struggling homeowners.

Nelson cited a story by the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month that said of the 18 states participating in the Hardest Hit program, Florida ranked last for the percentage of federal dollars distributed – $150 million of about $1 billion in federal recovery funds, or 15.7 percent of the pot over the past three years.

In contrast, Nelson pointed to North Carolina, which has dispersed 47 percent of its Hardest Hit funding, and Michigan, which has dispersed 75 percent. And he noted that RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report for February showed Florida leading the nation in foreclosures for six straight months.

Nelson, a Democrat, said the newspaper story led him to believe the decision to slow the disbursement of funds was the Republican governor’s.

“The implication in the Tampa Bay Times is that it was made at the administrative level in the Executive Office of the Governor,” Nelson said. “I have no evidence except to know exactly that – you can look at the statistics of the program. And as a result, the people of Florida have been hurt.”

According to the Times, “Scott — a critic of federal stimulus programs — restricted efforts to publicize the Hardest Hit program and was instrumental in reducing aid when it went statewide in 2011.”

Scott’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cecka Rose Green, spokeswoman for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, which administers Hardest Hit, said Nelson is right about the amount of money actually paid out but that additional funding – for a total of $230.5 million – has been pledged to 9,052 homeowners in all.

Green said of the roughly 44,000 applications to the program so far, some 23,000 have been completed – and of those, 37 percent qualified for assistance.

“We are confident the funding will be properly expended by the December 31, 2017, deadline,” she said.

Green also noted the Hardest Hit program has been reviewed by the U.S. Treasury Department, the Florida Auditor General’s office and the Legislature’s Office of Government Accountability and Program Policy Analysis.

Nelson has been on record since 2011 in pushing for Hardest Hit to pick up its distribution pace in Florida, but now he’s rumored to be considering a run against Scott in the 2014 gubernatorial race.

On Wednesday, Nelson was vague, saying that right now he has no plans to run for governor. But given Scott’s low job approval ratings, he said, the Democrats have a good chance to reclaim the governor’s mansion.

–Margie Menzel, News Service of Florida

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10 Responses for “Citing “Mismanagement and Inaction,” Nelson Blames Scott for Ongoing Mortgage Mess”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a shame that the Constitution was changed that we no longer have Senators who are their for the state but are their for their own self.

    • johnny taxpayer says:

      Absolutely correct. Mexico has an official representative in Washington D.C., yet Florida does not. The passage of the 17th amendment has done more harm to our Country than any enemy could ever dream of.

  2. Sherry Epley says:

    Senator Nelson is “right on” about this. Yet again, our governor could care less for the people who live in Florida. It will be a great day when he is out of office.

  3. DoubleGator says:

    Ha Ha …….. what a Governor ………… I surely didn’t vote for this fool ………. or his best bud the Lieutenant Gov………. bird’s of a feather flock together. If it weren’t so sad, it sure does gives me a good laugh every day. It will be interesting to see how much these fools have cost us Florida citizens. Could of, would of, should of …….. you get what you voted for!

  4. Legally says:

    Senator Nelson, along with his gang of thieves at Fannie and Freddie, are THE CAUSE of this entire housing mess. They just won’t learn that if you go around threatening to sue banks for not giving risky loans and then rob tax payers blind at Fannie and Freddie while ignoring ALL CALLS to regulate the government entity Democrats, created, ran and BANKRUPT you get a global recession. It’s very effective to go around and blame everyone else for what you have caused when you have the most ignorant electorate this country has ever seen lining up at the polls voting for you,

  5. confidential says:

    This governor and his buddies in Tallahassee keep Florida and Floridians in the dumpster.

  6. Magnolia says:

    Nelson and Obama, teflon men both. None of this could possibly be their responsibility.

  7. christina b says:

    Fannie and Freddie and Bill Nelson did not keep the state from prioritizing this program. That’s an argument that carries absolutely no water.

    Fannie and Freddie–and the Obama Administration’s chief law enforcement officer deeming banks “too big to be brought to justice”–are impeding the cleanup of this mess, but let’s be sure we put the blame for the lack of success of the “Hardest Hit” program exactly where it belongs–on that thief of a governor and his band of merry one-percenters.

  8. johnny taxpayer says:

    So the federal government with the aid of Senator Nelson creates another program, funded with our tax money (don’t forget, it’s not “federal funds” it’s our money) and tries to force the Governor of our state to implement it. I wonder if Mr. Nelson will have the same view of Federalism if he should become Governor?
    Let’s not forget the one part of Obamacare that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional was the federal mandate for States to expand medicare, because under our constitution the Federal Government cannot compel the State Government to do a damn thing!

  9. Magnolia says:

    It is my understanding there are still homes being sold for no/or very little money down right here in Flagler County. That’s a federal issue, not state.

    God I hate lying politicians and stupid voters. You are killing this country.

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