New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer won support from 34 attorneys general and a Realtors association in his legal battle against a U.S. banking regulator's effort to stop his probe of mortgage lending practices.
Spitzer is seeking to dismiss a case filed against his office by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which claims that he exceeded his jurisdiction by demanding mortgage lending records from nationally chartered banks. The National Assn. of Realtors defended Spitzer's probe, saying in court papers that the comptroller's actions hinder what could be a collaborative effort to crack down on discriminatory practices.
"It is the state that is in the best position to identify any discriminatory practices or patterns within that state's real estate industry because the state is closest to the participants and because real estate is uniquely tailored to each locality," the association said in a brief filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
A federal judge last month stopped Spitzer's inquiry into the mortgage lending practices of several banks, including Citigroup Inc.'s Citibank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Bank USA and Wells Fargo Bank. The comptroller's office contended that Spitzer overstepped his authority and interfered with the regulator's bank examinations.