Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charged with Real Estate Fraud
Diane Hathaway, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, may be facing political pressure to resign, but it seems she will not go down without a fight. Accused of real estate fraud, Hathaway may face criminal charges.
In 2010, Hathaway and her husband, attorney Michael Kingsley, contacted ING Bank in pursuit of a short sale on their Grosse Pointe Park home, a transaction in which a bank and borrower agree to sell a property for less than what is owed on the mortgage.
The hardship letter sent to ING Bank, however, failed to disclose the recent transfer of their Florida home to Kingsley’s daughter. As Hathaway claimed she did not possess the financial resources necessary to pay the mortgage on her Michigan property, her Florida residence seemed to have been hidden away. After the short sale of the Grosse Pointe home, resulting in the erasure of over $600,000 in mortgage debt, the Florida home was quietly transferred back into Hathaway’s name.
Federal authorities filed a lawsuit to seize Hathaway’s Florida residence, accusing her of hiding real estate while persuading a bank to allow the short sale of her Gross Pointe residence. Hathaway and Kingsley, however, will have the chance to challenge the government in this forfeiture action.
While Michigan Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. urged Hathaway to make a statement, clearing the air and explaining the transactions, Hathaway declined to speak publicly. Matt Frendewey, spokesman for the Michigan Republican Party, pushed for Hathaway’s resignation: “Her actions are offensive to the many Michigan families who have faced difficult times during Michigan’s economic downturn.”