Harris County Commissioners To Sue Mortgage Clearing House Over Filing Fees

The Harris County Commissioners Court is joining other Texas counties in suing a Virginia-based mortgage clearing house for unpaid mortgage filing fees.

The Commissioners Court has hired a Dallas law firm that is currently representing Dallas County in a similar claim against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems. County Judge Ed Emmett isn't sure how just how much money is involved in unpaid mortgage filing fees, even after a preliminary analysis of the County Clerk's records.

"Nobody knows, I mean, they say anywhere from 10 to a 100 million, and it's a nationwide thing. You know, MERS was created by a lot of companies, and it will be a long drawn-out struggle." 

Special Assistant County Attorney John Odam says MERS failed to file appropriate records with the County Clerk.

"MERS is a clearing house — a large number of banks, lending institutions, are members of MERS. And they're kind of a, quote, 'middle man,' if you will — a clearing house on the reassignments of the mortgage on someone's home." 

Odam says Harris County is unhappy about two things:

"The original lending institution should have, along with MERS, filed when there have been transfers made by a lending institution to someone else, and consequently paid a filing fee that was not paid, and also to do the filing. And the second part of it, the public does not have an accurate knowledge on who truly holds the mortgage."

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems didn't reply to our inquiry by deadline.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...