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Professor promotes plight of real estate walkaways

Profile: Brent T. White

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Some people regard Brent T. White's point of view as an affront to basic notions of right and wrong -- perhaps even a threat to the general financial well-being of the country. Others see him as a voice of reason, a calm explainer of a stance that just a few years ago was nearly unheard-of in this country: that walking away from a mortgage contract not only can make financial sense for some homeowners, but it also can be morally justifiable, an act that shouldn't be a source of shame. White has written extensively on the legal and psychological aspects of "strategic default" -- the apparently burgeoning phenomenon in which homeowners deliberately default on their mortgages because their homes are so far underwater they figure that continuing to make payments amounts to throwing away money. White's expertise in the realm of distressed real estate is both professional and personal: He's an associate professor of law at the University of Arizona who has studied the a...