LANSING (WXYZ) - A formal complaint against Justice Diane Hathaway has been filed with the state Judicial Tenure Commission, 7 Action News has learned.
The JTC is the state agency that investigates potential wrongdoing by Michigan judges.
Dan Pero, a former JTC member and a Republican consultant, tells 7 Action News that he mailed the complaint Thursday after watching an Action News report documenting Hathaway’s property transfers before and after her 2011 short sale.
"It's a very serious issue and requires some answers," Pero said.
Hathaway is a Democrat and was elected to the Supreme Court in 2008. Pero is fmr. Michigan Republican Governor John Engler's chief of staff, and his wife ran the campaign of fmr. Chief Justice Cliff Taylor, who Hathaway unseated in 2008.
A short sale allows a homeowner to sell their property at a loss rather than go into a foreclosure. It can save the owner hundreds of thousands of dollars in mortgage payments, but he or she need to prove a hardship to their bank, like a loss in income.
But prior to Hathaway’s short sale, she shuffled two homes out of her name: a Florida home went to her stepdaughter, and one in Grosse Pointe Park went to her stepson.
After the bank agreed to the short sale on Hathaway’s Lake St. Clair home, that Florida home went back into Hathaway’s name.
The home where Hathaway currently lives is also involved in the shuffle. It was recently put into her name, but its first owner was Hathaway’s stepdaughter. According to records, she bought it for $195,000 cash around the same time Hathaway’s bank was mulling over her short sale.
But that same stepdaughter already has a mortgage for more than $166,500 on a home in Grosse Pointe Woods. Hathaway won’t say whose cash was used to buy that home, but it was moved into the justice’s name earlier this year.
Asset-protection experts and legal experts who reviewed the transfers deemed them unusual.
Hathaway has declined comment.
The JTC does not confirm whether or not it has received a complaint about a judge, said Executive Director Paul Fischer.
Steve Fishman, a criminal defense attorney who Hathaway had earlier referred reporters to for comment, could not be reached.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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