Sacramento and Elk Grove officials are exploring a controversial plan to use their powers of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages from private investors and slash the amounts borrowers owe.
The proposal, pushed by a San Francisco-based group of financiers called Mortgage Resolution Partners, is meant to alleviate the drag on local economies of thousands of homes worth far less than buyers paid. It's also meant to turn a handsome profit for investors who would advance the vast sums needed to buy the mortgages.
The proposal has infuriated opponents in themortgage industry. They call it an illegal use of eminent domain, a power that gives government the right to seize property for the public good while paying just compensation.