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Politics & Government

Counties sue Fannie, Freddie over real estate taxes

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Oakland and Ingham counties are suing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over millions of dollars in disputed tax revenues.

Michigan has something called the real estate transfer tax, and it’s paid by the seller when a property changes hands.

Fannie and Freddie have been unloading many of the homes that revert to them in foreclosure sales.

Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner says the companies are trying to have it both ways – getting the benefits of private companies, and the protections of government entities.

"If you’re going to operate as a private company, if you’re going to pay exorbitant CEO salaries, if you’re going to foreclose just like the banks, you’re going to be subject to the same cost of doing business."

Meisner estimates Fannie and Freddie owe the state and county more than $12 million in unpaid transfer taxes over the past six years.

Oakland County is suing the companies in U.S. District Court. The Ingham County suit was filed in Ingham County Circuit Court.