Nolan Finley's word choices -- "shakedown," "goons," "extorting" -- leave no doubt about how he sees a new federal mortgage fraud charges against Quicken Loans.
"Trace evidence is all the Obama administration requires to put banks on the rack," The Detroit News editorial page chief writes in his latest column.
Quicken Loans is the latest target of the Justice Department's shakedown of the nation's lenders.
Justice's goons have been systematically extorting protection money from big banks and mortgage lenders, under the threat of federal fraud lawsuits and prison time for their executives.
The department's modus operandi would be worthy of racketeering charges if carried out by civilian mobsters. . . . This government has gone gangster.
Another Detroit columnist, Crain Communications chairman Keith Crain, also comments Sunday on Quicken's case :
The federal government, with a track record of vindictive actions from departments like the IRS and other places, doesn't have a good level of credibility with the nation.
Dan Gilbert, with his astounding success over the last decade, is a natural target for the feds.
All of this makes for a great soap opera, but it will take time to figure out what's really going on. . . . We would all be wise to assume innocent until proven otherwise.
In his News column, Finley cheers the downtown Detroit lending giant's decision to fight back:
Quicken, owned by Dan Gilbert, has decided not to cower, at least for the moment. Instead of paying protection money, it filed a lawsuit to stop a three-year investigation.
Thursday, the government responded by filing charges against Quicken, accusing it of submitting ineligible mortgages for FHA insurance. . . .
The Obama administration . . . scours the transactions of lenders to find hints of irregularities. It extrapolates from the skimpiest evidence a pattern of widespread abuse, and if needed, frightens insiders into coughing up creative accusations against their employers. . . .
Gilbert is a different cat than Justice has crossed on Wall Street. Detroit street-tough, he doesn't take to being bullied. . . . I hope he hangs in there.
-- Alan Stamm