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  • Tammy L Wells

York County’s Hammond earns accolades from statewide deeds association

ALFRED, Maine – When York County Registrar of Deeds Nancy Hammond brought up the subject of deed fraud as meeting of the Maine Registers of Deeds Association in the summer of 2023, it was a new topic.


“None of the other members were aware of any fraudulent activity,” she said.


So she told them about the phenomenon – where people fraudulently “acquire” land that does not belong to them and proceed to attempt to sell it – that had made its way to York County, and as it turns out, would later make its way to other parts of Maine.


By September that year, there had been three attempts to defraud the rightful owners of property in York County, but thanks to eagle-eyed real estate brokers, Hammond said, that didn’t happen.


What did happen was the introduction by Sen. Henry Ingwersen (D-Arundel) of a bill before the Maine Legislature, L.D. 2240, designed to combat deed fraud.


Hammond, of Lyman, who had never previously given legislative testimony, stepped up to testify in favor of some provisions in the bill that would impact the deeds association.

And for that she was recently named The Maine Registers of Deeds Association first recipient of the VOICE award.


“We wanted to recognize the fact Nancy was able to step forward and join the York County Deeds Task Force, and she spoke on behalf of the association on the legislation,” said MRODA President Cherri Crockett, also the Oxford County Registrar of Deeds. “She brought together the facts and put them in front of the people who needed to see them. She was fabulous.”


Hammond testified on a proposed educational piece of the bill that would be a resource for consumers, and to making violations of L.D. 2240 a Class B felony, rather than a civil violation.


“Nancy really proved her leadership this past year and we wanted to recognize it,” said Crockett and so the VOICE award was made. “She continuously is a voice of reason at MRODA meetings…. she has an eloquent way of speaking to her point, without overpowering others’ opinions. In my opinion, Nancy is the epitome of the VOICE award.”

Hammond has a 35 year background as a real estate paralegal, and worked for a title company prior to her election as York County Registrar of Deeds in the November 2018 election. She was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2022.


“Nancy was able to speak on our behalf,” said Crockett. “She’s not shy when it comes to sharing what needs to be done, and who is, and is not, responsible for getting certain aspects completed.”


As to LD 2240, Sen. Ingwersen said he amended the bill after stakeholders expressed opposition during committee hearings. The amendment – called a resolve – would have formed a commission to recommend legislation and was approved, but wasn’t voted through by the Legislative Council, said Ingwersen, expressing disappointment. He said he’ll propose further discussions with stakeholders to come up with ideas for legislation for the next session. “I believe that a formal stakeholders' group as outlined in the resolve is a great first step,” he said.


MRODA meets throughout the year but has no rule making authority over the 17 county registries of deeds (Aroostook County has two) in Maine. Instead said Hammond, the members meet to share information and trends and look to improve their own registries. Trends, she noted tend to hit the more populous counties like York and Cumberland first, before making their way to counties with fewer residents. And while some counties are far flung, the ability to hold meetings online has helped.


She is appreciative of the award.


“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers,” Hammond said. “It is very appreciated.”

York County government is also appreciative.


“We are very proud of Nancy,” said York County Manager Greg Zinser. “The award is well deserved.”

 

 



York County Registrar of Deeds Nancy Hammond of Lyman was recently honored by the Maine Registers of Deeds Association as recipient of the VOICE Award, recognizing her leadership, particularly in testifying before a committee of the Maine Legislature.

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