Cook County's Robin Hood moment?

Well sorta, except the Sheriff of Nottingham (in this case, that of Cook County) is also acting in a way like Robin Hood.  Folks, you had to realize we would get to this moment.

"What's all this then?"

So what is it that I'm going on about?  CNN and the Chicago Sun-Times both have an interesting story about how because the foreclosure rate in the county has reached such an epidemic level, that even the law is saying they can't keep up with it.  But more succinctly, they are tired, it seems, of simply kicking people out of their homes.  Or more to the point, kicking the WRONG people out of their homes! Actually, a quick correction, the Sun-Times piece is an actual article posted by Sheriff Dart as to why he did what he did.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said Wednesday he is suspending foreclosure evictions in Cook County, which had been on track to reach a record number of evictions, many because of mortgage foreclosures.

Sheriff Thomas J. Dart of Cook County, Illinois, says proper eviction procedures aren't always been followed.

He said many of the evictions involve renters who are paying their rent on time but are being thrown out because the landlord has fallen behind on mortgage payments.

Mortgage companies are supposed to identify a building's occupants before asking for an eviction, but sheriff's deputies routinely find that the mortgage companies have not done so, he said.

"These mortgage companies only see pieces of paper, not people, and don't care who's in the building," Dart said. "They simply want their money and don't care who gets hurt along the way.
"On top of it all, they want taxpayers to fund their investigative work for them. We're not going to do their jobs for them anymore. We're just not going to evict innocent tenants. It stops today."

- excerpt from "Illinois sheriff: No foreclosure evictions on my watch", CNN.com, 2008.

Banks or firms who are holding the mortgages ought to know better.  Honestly, you folks out there who push on law enforcement to dislocate renters who have been paying should be yourselves hauled away.  Are you telling me that you can't hire a property manager, like so many other apartment complexes do, to handle the tenants? Many years ago, I helped at my uncle's (well more like a long-time friend of the family, that kind of "uncle") who ran a mortgage firm in the northwest burbs outside of Chicago.  He had folks on standby who did appraisals, but with a single call get carpenters or what have you for various realty projects.  So I find it hard to believe that these bankers couldn't find out if there were renters on the property.

We're approaching that moment in the book Grapes of Wrath, only it won't just be Oklahomans this time!

First, this highlights the current disaster created by the Bush Administration's push for a "ownership society."  In it's half-ass attempt (really name me one thing that the do that isn't half-ass?) they disregarded the regulations, or I should say surviving regulations put forth to save our economic behinds and forced Fannie and Freddie to loan away.  I don't have to remind you on this, it's all over the internet!  And what is the result?  As the CNN article highlighted, in 1999 we had over 12,935 foreclosures, and for this year alone...THIS YEAR, it will be 43,000! Hell, we still got several months to go too!  Secondly, the Sheriff, by halting the evictions, is in violation of his office.  He's taking on a very big risk here, and could face termination.  If there are any state legislators or even those in the US Congress who reads this, you got to help him out.  Something tells me he isn't the only officer of the law who has this going through his head. 

I'm going to end this with an excerpt from Sheriff Tom Dart's explanation, in the Sun-Times.

 

As Cook County sheriff, I am responsible for running a 10,000-inmate jail, providing patrols to unincorporated areas and securing the courts.

But perhaps no part of our job is as difficult as the work done by our eviction units. On any given day, our deputies could be asked to throw a family out of their home, with all of their possessions left on a curb -- sometimes pilfered through by those living nearby.

Where mortgage firms see pieces of paper, my deputies see people.

Yet no matter how difficult they are, evictions are part of our job.

What isn't part of our job, however, is to carry out work on behalf of the multi-billion-dollar banks and mortgage industries.

Too many times, our deputies arrive at a home to carry out a mortgage foreclosure eviction, only to find a tenant -- dutifully paying their rent each month -- who is unaware their landlord stopped using that rent money to pay the mortgage. They had no fair warning that they were about to be thrown out of their home.

 

- excerpt from Sheriff Tom Dart's letter to the Chicago Sun-Times, 2008.

 

 

Cross posted from Venomopolis.com

 

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Comments

grapes of wrath

I admire this guy because it's true, the renters will get evicted when the landlord misses payment and that just isn't right. It's also fairly stupid to kick out income generating renters while the property is going into foreclosure but there appears to be a whole lot of that...

this whole thing is a whole lotta of that, signing people up for $300k homes by hook or by crook.

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Hyperrational non-obvious results

According to a guy in this thread on Technocrat, such decisions by banks and other property owners in the current-lack-of-credit situation are actually *MORE* rational than the alternatives.

Myself, I think I agree with you.  If you're deep in debt, throwing out good commodities or rents in return for nothing is stupid.

 

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