Industry Watch

INDUSTRY WATCH

September 19, 2004

Maryland Realtors to convene at resort, hear Charles Moose

The Maryland Association of Realtors will hold its 2004 Annual Conference and Tradeshow this week in Ocean City.

The group will be handing out various awards and installing its new president, JoAnne E. Poole, Tuesday.

The three-day event will include more than 150 exhibitors, continuing-education industry courses, a grand opening cocktail party and final day brunch. Tuesday's general session will feature Charles Moose, the former Montgomery County chief of police, as keynote speaker.

The hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, 4001 Coastal Highway.

Registration may be done online or at the event and the cost varies. For more information visit www.mdrealtor.org or call 800-638-6425.

HUD tells Fannie, Freddie to raise affordability goals

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the biggest U.S. mortgage finance companies, would have to change how they underwrite home loans in order to meet affordable housing finance goals, a U.S. housing official said last week.

"They will have to make adjustments in their underwriting standards to low-income and minority first-time homebuyers," said John Weicher, an assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Weicher spoke at an American Enterprise Institute conference in Washington.

HUD said in April that it would require the companies to direct 57 percent of their mortgage financing by 2008 toward homes for people with incomes no greater than the median of their areas. The current level is 50 percent.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said in response to HUD's proposal that, in formulating its new housing finance targets, HUD overestimated the number of mortgages for low-income homebuyers available for purchase.

HUD said in July that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, known as government-sponsored enterprises, lag behind other companies in helping low-income borrowers buy a home.

Judge dismisses Jones suit against Clinton supporter

A New York judge last week tossed out a claim by Paula Jones that a real estate tycoon owes her $1 million he had promised if she dropped her lawsuit against President Clinton.

U.S. District Judge Peter Leisure wrote that he concluded Jones agreed not to accept the $1 million from Abe Hirschfeld during her settlement negotiations with Clinton.

In her lawsuit, Jones had claimed that Hirschfeld's public promise of $1 million "was still on the table" even as she settled with Clinton in November 1998 for $850,000.

But the judge said documents demonstrated that Jones had rejected Hirschfeld's offer.

Hirschfeld, a Clinton supporter, offered Jones a $1 million check on Oct. 31, 1998, at a news conference. Later, the New Yorker appeared to back off from the offer and attached conditions to the payment.

Jones claimed Clinton made an unwelcome sexual advance in 1991 in a Little Rock hotel room while he was Arkansas governor and she was a state employee. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Clinton.

From staff, Associated Press and Bloomberg News reports

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