ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County has agreed to be part of a class action lawsuit against Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Hennepin County has initiated the lawsuit against the mortgage giants to recover real estate transfer taxes since early 2006. If the lawsuit is successful, 97% of the back taxes goes to the state with counties dividing up the remaining 3%.

Stearns County Civil Division Chief Attorney Marcus Miller says there is little risk in joining the class action suit because Hennepin County is only looking to recoup its costs if they win.

Miller says it's unclear how much money Stearns County stands to recapture until they pour over records during that time period.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae argue they are exempt from the deed tax under their federal charter.

Counties have the right to opt out of the lawsuit, but it's expected that all 87 counties will stay on.