FRM questions still linger
Did you notice the attorney general’s report regarding Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. treaded lightly on the office’s culpability concerning FRM as well as that of the state Banking Department?Only when legislative hearings clearly identified a significant failure by the AG’s office and the Banking Department, did the tone change and suddenly the governor and AG focused in on the banking commissioner by asking for his resignation. This action was appropriate, but many questions remain and there doesn’t appear to be any real desire to answer these open questions.The real missed opportunitiesAssociate Attorney General Richard Head was the chief scribe of the May 12 “Report of the Attorney General.” But Head actually had been involved with FRM for several years before it shuttered itself in November 2009. Through the years Head had received several complaints regarding FRM, and referred all of them to the Banking Department claiming the state’s consumer protection laws necessitated his agency to forward all civil complaints to the appropriate regulatory agency, but his division also referred a 2004 criminal allegation regarding FRM.The operative word here is “criminal,” and Head and current Attorney General Michael Delaney as well as former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte all admit criminal fraud allegations are the sole jurisdiction of the attorney general. So, why would Head refer a criminal complaint to the Banking Department?And in 2006, Chris Carter, a former lawyer at the AG’s office, actually went to the AG’s office and made another criminal fraud allegation against FRM and, apparently, no permanent record was made of the complaint – it may have been “informally” referred to the FBI.A state criminal fraud allegation by a former senior AG official may have been “informally” conveyed to federal authorities and no record exists of it today and the current AG cannot now confirm what actually happened regarding that referral? Was it contained in the Ayotte e-mails that were permanently deleted, never to be recovered?What they all know and when they did know itAttorney General Delaney’s initial report did not go beyond 2008, even though the Ponzi scheme seemed to accelerate during 2009, the same year he became AG. What do we now know happened around the time Delaney assumed the position of chief law enforcement official of New Hampshire? Last August, a member of the Banking Department’s staff said in an e-mail to Hildreth that he (Hildreth) should talk with the “new” AG, Michael Delaney, because he (Delaney) knew something about prosecuting fraud.What? Someone may have suspected fraud?Did such a meeting take place? It all really begs the famous Watergate inquiry: What did he know and when did he know it? And when did Hildreth know this house of cards was going down, and what did he tell Delaney and did Delaney tell Governor Lynch and/or members of his staff, none of whom were interviewed for the AG’s report?
Hard but fair and relevant questions.
Who wasn’t interviewed?Deputy Bank Commissioner Bob Fleury wasn’t interviewed for the FRM report, even though (ostensibly) he was in charge of the Banking Department concerning FRM when Hildreth (supposedly) was recused from the FRM matter, but nonetheless was talking/meeting with the Gallagher law firm about it.Who else wasn’t interviewed? The chief counsel of the Banking Department, Cecilia Leonard. Didn’t she just so happen to have worked at the Gallagher law firm before joining the Bank Department?Why wasn’t Richard Head “interviewed?” Why would he be given the assignment to conduct an inquiry of the matter when the record is quite clear he had past involvement with FRM? Hard but fair and relevant questions.It is now up to the Executive Council to come to the rescue of the integrity of New Hampshire state government. Only it, collectively, has the opportunity to bring out the truth of this matter and not continue the half-told story.The Executive Council needs to conduct its own investigation concerning how state government did or did not handle the FRM matter, and it should start by hiring outside counsel with no connections to any state agency, to examine why certain decisions were made by the AG regarding FRM, including who he and his staff met with in state government about it, as well as question those in the executive branch aware of and/or helping direct the so-called inquiry to the present.It is time to put all of these players under oath-why didn’t the AG do this for his report? It’s time for real transparency.Why, Governor Lynch, have you not met with us, the lenders of FRM? Since December, we have contacted your office, asked to meet with you and called for an independent investigation. What we received back were canned letters months later. Our pain is real, and the least you could have done is to have met with us by now. The voters are watching this situation closely. This is a time to show leadership.With his wife Susan, Al McIlvene of Kittery Point, Maine, invested more than $800,000 in Financial Resources Mortgage, all of which they say is lost.