GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed Grand Junction attorney Mike Moran as Mesa County's new public trustee. Moran started Nov. 1.
The Public Trustee Office was founded in 1894 to protect the rights of borrowers, lenders and lienholders, according to the legislation creating the position.
"We're a neutral party between lenders and borrowers," Moran said.
The office manages the foreclosure process once a lender has decided a borrower has defaulted on a loan. The public trustee also releases and records deeds of trust after a borrower has paid off a loan, sold a house or refinanced.
Moran, 48, is an attorney who grew up in Grand Junction, attended college at the University of Colorado and law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He's married, and the father of two daughters, 9 and 11.
Moran worked in law-related publishing for Thomson Reuters, worked as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Justice, ran his own law office, and prior to the trustee appointment, worked at the law firm of Chris Mahre and Associates.
Moran also served on a city council and in the State Legislature while living in Ohio.
And, as a college student, he worked as a real estate agent.
"One thing I bring to the office, I understand the legal process of real estate matters (and) foreclosures," Moran said. "My focus is to make sure the office is efficient, transparent and professional."
The legal notices, which include not only foreclosures, but also other legal proceedings, hearings, and proposed budgets, are published online at www.mesacounty.us/publictrustee.com, as well as in the newspaper.
"We post our list before it's published in the newspaper," Moran said. "I'm required by law to (also) publish in a newspaper."
On Mesa County's website, you'll find a list of foreclosure properties for sale that week; a list of all pending foreclosures; a list of foreclosure sales continued from original sale date; and Mesa County foreclosure statistics. The site includes addresses of foreclosed properties, the original amount paid, the unpaid principal, the interest rate, the attorney, and the phone number of the lender.
Foreclosure auctions take place at the public trustee office every Wednesday at 10 a.m. and generally draw about 20 people, Moran said. The next auction will take place Jan. 9. The public trustee office is located on the third floor of the old County Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave.
"Usually about three (foreclosed properties) per week are sold to private individuals," Moran said. "Most times, banks buy back the properties," then try and sell it through a Realtor.
In Mesa County, there were 854 foreclosure sales in 2011. The number dropped slightly in 2012, to 847 foreclosure sales.
The public trustee's office can be reached at 970-254-4180.