The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s legal staff of 370 attorneys will be overseen for the remainder of the Bush administration by Michael Flynn, who was the top lawyer at Golden West Financial Corp. during the housing boom.
Flynn served as senior vice president and senior counsel at Golden West — known for its "pick-a-pay" adjustable-rate mortgages — from December 2001 to January 2007.
Golden West was acquired by Wachovia Corp. in 2006, and Wachovia was itself taken over by Wells Fargo last month as mounting losses left the company undercapitlized. Former Golden West chief executive Herb Sandler, who with his wife Marion was ridiculed in a recent "Saturday Night Live" sketch, has said pick-a-pay mortgages were not the cause of Wachovia’s demise.
At Golden West, Flynn managed a team of lawyers that oversaw the legal aspects of the company’s mortgage lending practices, including originations, litigation, servicing, regulatory disputes, and compliance matters.
As HUD’s new acting general counsel, Flynn will oversee about 370 attorneys and 320 additional staff, and serve as the chief legal advisor to Secretary of Housing Steve Preston and other top managers. He will maintain his current position as counselor to the HOPE for Homeowners board of directors.
Flynn succeeds Robert Couch, a former president of Ginnie Mae who had served as HUD’s general counsel since June 2007.
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