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LA County to resolve ‘clean energy’ lawsuit


Homeowners who received PACE loan

Los Angeles County and a private lender will pay a total of $12 million to resolve a pair of lawsuits alleging that a program designed to help homeowners install clean-energy products left many participants with payments they could not afford, making them vulnerable to foreclosure.

Public Counsel, which represented plaintiffs in the suits, a pair of private lending companies that worked with the county on the Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, loan program targeted homeowners the companies should have known would be unable to afford the payments, while the county allegedly failed to provide adequate safeguards to protect loan recipients.

“PACE should have been a good program that enabled homeowners to upgrade their homes with renewable energy,'' Ghirlandi Guidetti, a lead attorney on the case from Public Counsel, said in a statement. “Instead it turned into a nightmare for too many families. This settlement should help make that right.''

Settlement funds will be made available to anyone who received a county-sponsored PACE loan between March 2015 and March 2018 and had a lien recorded against their property. The amount available to each homeowner will vary based in part on financial circumstances, the overall number of claimants and whether the homeowner received documents in English when the loans were negotiated in another language.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for settlement funds can sign up for notifications at

“The PACE program's fundamentally flawed structure resulted in many elderly and low-income community members suffering under the crushing weight of untenable payment obligations incurred under false pretenses,'' Taylor Amstutz, a homeowner protection attorney at Bet Tzedek Legal Services, said in a statement. “This settlement is a lifeline for our clients.''