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Arizona Accused of Another Money Grab

PHOENIX (CN) - Another group says Arizona illegally grabbed millions of dollars from it to try to patch up its budget deficit. The Land Title Association of Arizona says the state unconstitutionally swiped $3.5 million from its recovery fund, though the money is designated for paying customer losses when an insolvent agency goes into receivership.

The Land Title Association, a group of escrow agencies and title insurers, claims in Maricopa County Court that the state grabbed money from it four times without its consent.

Shortly after the association was created in 1992, the Legislature formed the recovery fund, into which agencies have paid $11 million, according to the complaint. When the fund exceeds its statutory threshold of $4 million, the contributing agencies are to get refunds from it. The state is not supposed to snatch it.

The Central Arizona Water Conservation District and Science Foundation Arizona filed similar constitutional complaints against the state's money grabs. All were filed in Maricopa County Court, whose seat is Phoenix.

The Land Title Association wants the state's money grabs declared illegal. It also wants the money back and an injunction to prevent the state from doing it again. It is represented by Mark D. Chernoff with LaVoy & Chernoff.

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