A Michigan Supreme Court justice accused of fraud in a short sale will fight to keep her Florida house, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Steve Fishman declined to address the government's specific allegations against Justice Diane Hathaway and her husband. But he said the couple will file a claim to keep a home in Windermere, Fla., out of the hands of federal authorities.
"Of course they are filing a claim. It's their house," Fishman said in an interview.
The U.S. attorney's office in Detroit filed a forfeiture lawsuit Monday seeking to seize the home as the fruit of a shady real estate deal. Hathaway has not been charged with a crime.
The government said Hathaway and Michael Kingsley temporarily transferred the Florida property to a relative while trying in 2010 to negotiate a short sale on their home in Grosse Pointe Park, a Detroit suburb.
After the short sale went through and a $600,000 debt was erased, the Florida home went back into the couple's names, according to the government.
The government contends ING Bank was the victim of fraud because the transfers weren't disclosed. The discovery of a major asset might have convinced the bank to reject a short sale, which means a bank and a borrower agree to sell a property for less than what is owed on the mortgage.