According to Bloomberg.com New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued a subpoena to the real estate appraisal unit of First American Corp. in his investigation of whether mortgage brokers pressured appraisers to inflate property values.
First American's eAppraiseIT LLC, which values up to 15,000 homes a year in New York, was asked for information about appraisals performed throughout the state, the president, Anthony Merlo Jr., said in an interview yesterday.
The attorney general has issued subpoenas to appraiser Mitchell, Maxwell & Jackson Inc. and broker Manhattan Mortgage Co., the companies said on May 18. "It's a very good thing, what the attorney general is doing," Mr. Merlo said. Mr. Cuomo's office was focused on "who's exerting the pressure" on appraisers, he said.
The First American unit, based in Poway, California, does about 50,000 valuations a month nationwide, said Merlo. He said the company is cooperating with the attorney general's request for information. ``Our preliminary meeting and responses were very favorable,'' Merlo said.
Cuomo's office is also seeking information on appraisal rebuttals, in which consumers, loan officers or real estate agents try to get the stated values of homes raised, said DeAnna McCann, chief marketing officer at eAppraiseIT.
"Those requests aren't improper provided they come with evidence that the valuation was incorrect, such as comparable home sales that an appraiser missed", McCann said.
The attorney general's office also is seeking information on how appraisal orders are placed.
Click below for related articles: