Housing Secretary Mel Martinez is not going to Rome (as originally planned) to attend Pope John Paul II's 25th anniversary, but he is still not attending the Mortgage Bankers Association of America's annual convention that opens Oct. 19 in San Diego.His replacement, HUD Deputy Secretary Alfonso Jackson, has also pulled out, MortgageWire has learned. A Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman said Mr. Jackson has a scheduling conflict due to a community renewal conference in Costa Mesa, Calif. MW recently reported that the MBA is backing away from its support of the HUD secretary's Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act reform efforts. And sources are indicating that the cancellations are a result of the fallout between the MBA and the secretary. A HUD spokesman declined to comment on HUD's relations with the MBA, but he stressed that Secretary Martinez is committed to RESPA reform. "We are continuing to refine the proposal to bring balanced mortgage reform to Americans and to the industry," the spokesman said.

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