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An Essex County elected official wants the courts to let him make his voice heard in a local foreclosure case that he says fits into a broader, nationwide pattern of predatory lending.

John O’Brien, the Southern Essex Register of Deeds, filed a motion on Wednesday with the Appeals Court asking a judge to stay an appeals proceeding in the case of Wells Fargo Bank against Beverly resident Esther Ngotho, remand it back to a lower court and allow him to intervene.

At a press conference, O’Brien said he believes Ngotho – an immigrant and Black woman – was “set up for failure from day one by the lenders” and alleged documents related to the case that were recorded in his registry “clearly were fraudulent.”

O’Brien and advocates in attendance spoke at length about what they perceive as predatory lending by banks and other entities, often targeting minorities and other vulnerable populations. O’Brien tried unsuccessfully to intervene in Ngotho’s case in 2020, but a Land Court judge denied his motion. He now wants the Appeals Court to allow him to get formally involved.

“I’m trying to be a preemptive strike here to say we’re watching this and we’re watching patterns. Every register in the state and the country should be doing this,” O’Brien said. “For me, as an elected official, to deny the right to intervene, to help a woman in my district right a wrong, is disgraceful. I am shocked that the Land Court did not give me the opportunity to have my day in court.”

Register Of Deeds Wants to Intervene in Foreclosure Case

by State House News Service time to read: 1 min