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Michigan Supreme Court Justice Resigning amidst Ethics Probe
On Monday, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway informed the court that she would be resigning effective Jan. 21. Justice Hathaway is already targeted by a federal complaint alleging her with mortgage fraud. Then the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission added their 18-page complaint against her at the Michigan Supreme Court accusing her of concealing assets and of “blatant and brazen” ethics violations in a series of real estate deals.
Apparently, the emergency petition filed by the judicial watchdog for removal of Justice Hathaway is over the sale of a home owned by her and her husband in the Detroit suburbs in 2011.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a statement that he expects Governor Rick Snyder to appoint a successor to Justice Hathaway as soon as possible.
The complaint by the judicial watchdog alleges that Hathaway and her husband had lied to their lender about the consideration for which they had sold their property and had concealed an amount close to $600,000, and also persuaded the bank to forgive the outstanding principal of the loan citing financial hardships.
Also, to hide their assets from the bank, Justice Hathaway and her husband and done a series of sham transactions making temporary transfers of other properties to their relatives to hoodwink the bank about their real financial situation.
In one of such deals, unearthed by investigators, a property in Windermere, Florida had been sold to Hathaway’s stepdaughter for $10, when the assessed value of the property was $664,682. This particular transaction had drawn the attention of federal prosecutors who filed a civil forfeiture complaint in November against Hathaway and her husband in federal court in Florida.
Later, after the Hathaways had been forgiven their mortgage, Hathaway’s stepdaughter again transferred the Florida property back for $10.
Prosecutors have alleged that Hathaway and her husband had “systematically and fraudulently transferred property and hid assets” to support their claim of being unable to pay off their mortgages on the home in Detroit.
Michigan’s Attorney General said, “Given the gravity of ongoing federal allegations and today’s unprecedented Judicial Tenure Commission complaint, it is in the people’s best interest that Justice Hathaway step down.”
Hathaway and her husband have not been charged with any crime.