The Foreclosure Prince
Trump’s (Second) Nominee for Deputy Treasury Secretary
Brian Brooks will reportedly be President Donald Trump’s second nominee for Deputy Treasury Secretary. He previously worked with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at OneWest Bank where they foreclosed on the homes of tens of thousands of American families following the 2008 financial crisis. A memo from the California Attorney General’s office during Mnuchin’s confirmation alleged OneWest committed “widespread misconduct.” Brooks is currently general counsel for mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Prior to his work with Secretary Mnuchin finding new ways to kick families out of their homes, Brooks spent nearly two decades at the global law firm O’Melveny & Myers, where he optimized the firm’s foreclosure practices by working to develop a legal mechanism that would allow foreclosures to resume after a temporary suspension due to falsified documents. During this time, he encouraged his Wall Street clients to find “opportunity in the crisis.”
WALL STREET’S FORECLOSURE ATTORNEY
Brooks represented several investors in Steve Mnuchin’s purchase of OneWest Bank and spent years overseeing the bank’s mortgage marketing and fair lending programs as OneWest’s Vice President.
“Brooks represented several of the investors in Mnuchin’s purchase of failed subprime mortgage lender IndyMac for $1.6 billion in 2009. The bank was renamed OneWest, and Brooks joined the company as vice chairman.” [Ylan Mui, “Fannie Mae exec with ties to Mnuchin is among candidates for consumer protection boss,” CNBC, February 9, 2017.]
“At OneWest, Brooks oversaw the bank’s fair lending programs.” [Ylan Mui, “Fannie Mae exec with ties to Mnuchin is among candidates for consumer protection boss,” CNBC, February 9, 2017.]
“Before joining Fannie Mae in November 2014, Mr. Brooks was Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank, where he served as chief legal officer and oversaw the bank’s fair lending, corporate customer experience, and mortgage marketing and communications groups.” [Fannie Mae Leadership, Brian P. Brooks, accessed February 10, 2017.]
During the financial crisis, when foreclosures had been suspended due to falsified documents, Brooks and his team “developed a legal mechanism” to allow companies to resume foreclosures and encouraged his clients to find “opportunity in the crisis.”
“Brooks had been at O’Melveny & Meyers [sic] about seventeen years when the financial crisis hit the United States. ‘The financial crisis had two types of clients you might have.’ he says. ‘It had clients who were going bankrupt and then it had clients who were finding opportunity in the crisis.’ The ones who were looking to make money off of the crisis were buying distressed assets, failed banks, and attempting to utilize turnaround strategies. It was the time of the robo-signing scandal. Brooks had a number of clients who were in the middle of the worst financial crisis of anybody’s lifetime. People were getting fired, sued, and prosecuted. They need a strategy to move forward, and Brooks was the lawyer they called to get the train back on the tracks.”
“Brooks and his team developed a legal mechanism to restart foreclosures based on a reverification process. The robo-signing scandal used false affidavits in thousands of foreclosure cases, and Brooks saw the catch-22. ‘You can’t throw people out of their houses on faulty documentation, but we also can’t shut down the credit process, which would happen if we didn’t have a normal foreclosure and loss mitigation process,’ Brooks says.
His team found a way to reverify the affidavits, which allowed them to find a way to start moving forward. Slowly but surely, Brook’s clients got through it and survived the crisis.” [Urmila Ramakrishnan, “Humble Beginnings Beget Customer Values,” Profile Magazine, 2016.]
Brooks was a managing partner of global law firm O’Melveny & Myers’ Washington D.C. office, where he “handled various areas of the practice, including banking” and was the head of the “financial services practice.”
“Brooks graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1994, and he moved to Washington, DC, to work at the global law firm O’Melveny & Meyers [sic]. He handled various areas of the practice, including banking.
After three years, Brooks decided to do something unconventional—he became a judicial clerk for Danny J. Boggs, which is something most graduates do right out of law school. After his clerkship, Brooks returned to O’Melveny & Meyers [sic], made partner, and eventually ended up as the managing partner of the DC office and the head of the first financial services practice.” [Urmila Ramakrishnan, “Humble Beginnings Beget Customer Values,” Profile Magazine, 2016.]
Brooks represented the “nation’s largest automated underwriting system” and the “nation’s largest mortgage originators” at O’Melveny & Myers.
“Brian Brooks, Managing Partner of the D.C. office of O’Melveny & Myers. Mr. Brook’s experiences in the fair lending area and includes defending the nation’s largest automated underwriting system against disparate impact claims, representing several of the nation’s largest mortgage originators, and services and share lending investigations and litigation brought by state’s attorney general and representing mortgage investors in administrative disputes brought before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Fair Housing Act.” [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Meeting, Mortgage Crisis and Predatory Lending, March 29, 2009.]
Brooks, who in 2015 made $2.4 million from Fannie Mae, “was awarded a sign-on award when he joined Fannie Mae in November 2014, primarily to compensate him for forfeiting compensation upon leaving his prior employer.”
Brooks’s total salary at Fannie Mae in 2015 was $2,400,000. [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K, Fannie Mae, Fiscal Year ending December 31, 2015.]
Brooks represented “Alan Greenspan and other high-profile clients before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.”
Brooks represented “Alan Greenspan and other high-profile clients before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.” [“Brian Brooks, ’94: Financial Services Veteran Helps Craft America’s Financial Future,” The University of Chicago Law School, Spring 2015.]
A SORDID HISTORY WITH THE DC SWAMP
Brooks has donated over $25,000 to Republican political action committees and candidates.
According to Political Moneyline, Brooks has donated $5,050 to federal candidates, PACs, and the RNC when he lived in Washington DC. [CQ Political Moneyline search for Brian Brooks, accessed February 9, 2017.]
According to Political Moneyline, Brooks has donated $20,500 to federal candidates, PACs, and the RNC when he lived in California. [CQ Political Moneyline search for Brian Brooks, accessed February 9, 2017.]
Brooks also donated $10,000 to Republican Neel Kashkari’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign in California, $1,000 to Kate Anderson’s school board campaign in California and $300 to Barbara Comstock’s campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. [National Institute on Money in State Politics search for Brian Brooks, accessed February 10, 2017.]
In 2016, Brooks represented Fannie Mae in a case where the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the mortgage giant, ruling that the company could be sued in state courts.
In 2016, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp. The case “asks[ed]whether the presence of Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) as a party to a lawsuit is itself sufficient to create federal jurisdiction over the suit.” [Ronald Mann, “Argument analysis: Justices dubious about federal jurisdiction for suits involving Fannie Mae,” SCOTUSblog, November 9, 2016.]
The plaintiffs had first sued in Federal district court and their claims were dismissed. [“Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corporation” Oyez, accessed February 10, 2017.]
The plaintiffs then sued in California state courts and alleged “state law equivalents” of the claims in the earlier federal suit. When Fannie Mae removed the case to federal court, the plaintiffs moved to have the case remanded to state court but were denied. The appellate court determined that Fannie Mae’s charter held that cases concerning Fannie Mae were under the jurisdiction of federal courts. [“Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corporation” Oyez, accessed February 10, 2017.]
The court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision finding in favor of the plaintiffs in a unanimous 8-0 decision. [Ronald Mann, “Argument analysis: Justices dubious about federal jurisdiction for suits involving Fannie Mae,” SCOTUSblog, November 9, 2016.]
Brooks was a registered lobbyist in 1999 and 2000, when he lobbied the federal government on behalf of Lockheed Martin.
In 1999 and 2000, Brian Brooks lobbied on behalf of Lockheed Martin and was registered with O’Melveny & Myers LLP. [Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database search for Brian P. Brooks, accessed February 9, 2017.]