Sunday, June 15, 2008

North Dakota Media dropped the ball.

I would love to have a sweat heart deal like this. Here is the Grand Forks Herald story, not much here other than a pro-Conrad spin. Didn't know, didn't ask for it etc. Because Conrad is on the finance and budget committees this is an attempt by Countrywide to buy votes, favor and influence policy in their favor. This is shamefull and disgusting.

There should be outrage about this but we hear hardly a peep. If this had been a republican senator or congressman would be hearing how this is outrageous and unethical.

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Kent Conrad said he was given preferential treatment on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp. and will write a $10,500 check to charity.

``It appears Countrywide waived one point on my mortgage,'' Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said in a statement today in Washington. ``Although I did not ask for or know that I was receiving a discount, and even though I was offered a competitive loan from another lender, I do not want to have received preferential treatment.''

Conrad said he also received a loan from Countrywide on an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck, North Dakota, even though the lender typically serves properties that have four units or less. He said he had decided to refinance that loan with another institution.

Making an Exception

Countrywide Chairman Angelo Mozilo told an employee to ``take off one point'' from the vacation-home loan, which saved Conrad $10,700, the magazine said. The apartment loan violated Countrywide's policy of not loaning money for buildings with more than four units, Portfolio said. The story said Mozilo told an employee to make an exception for Conrad.

Conrad said in a statement yesterday he received financing from Countrywide though he ``never asked for, expected or was aware of any special treatment'' and ``to leave the impression that I did is a complete lie.''

Conrad issued the new statement today after he said he reviewed e-mail traffic at Countrywide given to him by reporters and e-mails Countrywide gave him.

Conrad's 2007 financial disclosure form listed a single Countrywide loan among his liabilities. It says he took out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the apartment building in 2004 with an interest rate of 5.75 percent. Conrad reported the loan is worth $50,001 to $100,000.

Here is the crux of the argument:
Conrad said Friday, he understands now that Mozilo may have told the “young loan officer” for Countrywide to give Conrad special treatment.

“He probably did. I don’t know. I never thought for a moment that that meant I got a better rate. And I never thought for a moment that I paid less fees. I really didn’t. And when I try to reconstruct things, I doesn’t look to me like I did.”

Conrad said there is another reason for him to believe that his Countrywide loans are not exceptional. The Countrywide loan officer now works for a different company. After he left Countrywide, the loan officer e-mailed Conrad and said he could write Conrad a better loan than the one he is carrying with Countrywide.
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