The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that a Monrovia city property owner has settled a lawsuit with the state government’s Gold Line Construction Authority. Gold Line was planning to build a maintenance yard for public transportation vehicles during an expansion of light-rail service. This yard was to be placed on property that George Brokate of Monrovia owned. Brokate was originally offered $5.6 million by the company, but filed suit to claim more when he realized a similar property owned by the city of Monrovia was given $57 million. Gold Line insisted the discrepancy was due to a distinction between publicly- and privately-owned land. Ultimately, Brokate and Gold Line reached a settlement of $24 million, nearly four times the original offer, to cede the property to the state of California.
“Holding out for more” is sometimes a good strategy when dealing with property transactions, especially when the government is involved. Brokate had in his possession property that was described as “critical” to the expansion plans. If you ever come to a business deal involving land or property, be sure to know not only how much it is potentially worth, but also how much money similar property has gone for in the past. Such research definitely helped Mr. Brokate get the big bucks in this settlement.
Last Thursday, the federal government and 49 state attorneys general announced that they have come to an agreement with five large mortgage providers over allegations concerning illegal business practices. The five banks (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo) were accused of a lack of due diligence when creating and signing documents related to foreclosures. The $25 billion settlement, which guarantees that the case will not go to court, is the largest multistate settlement since the 1998 tobacco industry case. All states except Oklahoma participated.
It is important to note that, though this marks a major victory for those affected by the mortgage crisis, some individual claims may still be eligible to made against the companies. To find out how you or your home mortgage can benefit from this settlement, visit the settlement’s web page.