Lawyer appointed Mesa County public trustee

Michael D. Moran

A Grand Junction attorney whose practice includes bankruptcy and real estate law has been appointed public trustee in Mesa County.

Michael Moran was one of two appointments announced by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in filling the last public trustee posts in 10 counties.

Hickenlooper asked all 10 trustees to resign after media reports detailed some of their spending practices and, in the case of former Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown, a dispute over publishing foreclosure notices.

Moran is an attorney with the Grand Junction law firm of Chris Mahre & Associates.

According to information on the firm website, Moran grew up in Grand Junction and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado.

He received his law degree from Georgetown University and subsequently worked for a corporate law firm, a contractor for the Department of Justice and a law publishing company.  He served on a city council and in the State Legislature will living in Ohio.

Public trustees handle public transactions and foreclosures on real estate properties. Trustees oversee the administration of deeds of trust, releasing deeds when a loan has been paid off whether through refinancing, sale of property or a final payment. In addition, trustees are responsible for the collection of tax accounts for land purchase contracts for deed.

Public trustees are either elected or selected by local officials in 54 counties in Colorado. In the other 10 counties, the posts remain political appointments of the governor. That could change, however, under legislation likely to be introduced in the upcoming session of the State Legislature.

Hickenlooper reappointed trustees in five counties, but named new trustees in five other counties.

Brown was embroiled in a dispute over his decision to switch publication of property foreclosure notices from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel to the Fruita Times and Palisade Tribune. Brown said he made the changes in part because of errors in notices that appeared in the Sentinel and the willingness of the weekly newspapers to publish electronically scanned notices. It was subsequently reported, though, that Brown signed a contract to publish the notices in the weekly newspapers a month before opening the process to competitive bidding.