Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



Plucky community group alerted sheriff to evictions

Thursday, October 09, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
by MARK BROWN

Chalk up a win for the little guys in the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

A small victory perhaps, maybe a temporary one.

But all in all, a step in the right direction Wednesday by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, due in large part to the aggressive advocacy of a plucky community organization.

It was the Albany Park Community Council and the neighbors it represents who brought to Dart's attention the insane way banks were being allowed to evict innocent tenants whose landlords had lost their properties through mortgage foreclosure proceedings -- even when the tenants had paid their rent and knew nothing of the problems.

Dart announced his office will quit carrying out evictions stemming from mortgage foreclosures until lenders start providing proof they have taken the necessary steps to identify who is living at an address and that those facing eviction have received proper legal notice.

Typical of the mindless lending practices that got the nation into this financial mess in the first place, lenders have been trying to conduct evictions without actually figuring out who lives at the property. That should come as no surprise, I suppose, since it's now apparent they often never even bothered to find out to whom they were lending.

In the case of houses and condos that the previous owner was renting out, this careless practice has resulted in stunned tenants -- rent paid in full -- coming home from work to find their possessions on the curb. No notice. No opportunity to look for a new place to live. The same thing is happening with entire apartment buildings.

Dart said once he saw the abuse, he didn't want his office to be a part of it, especially at a time when foreclosure evictions are running 400 to 500 a month -- nearly triple what they were two years ago. "We're no longer going to be a party to something that is so unjust," Dart said.

In the process, Dart opens himself up to a possible contempt citation for failing to carry out the evictions, but only if a Cook County judge is silly enough to go that route, not that I'd put it past the banks.

Having watched this one develop from the ground floor, I give credit to Dart for doing the right thing.

The real heroes here, though, were Diane Limas and Emily Burns from the Albany Park group and the residents of a tidy brick building at 4914-4916 N. Spaulding, in particular Esteban and Maria Cruz, Pedro Ramirez and Alma Aquino.

They were savvy and gutsy enough to stand firm earlier this summer when a real estate agent working for one lender started using illegal bullying tactics to scare off the tenants, putting fliers in their mailboxes that said they had a week to move.

The community group investigated and found that an amazing scam had taken place.

As I first reported to you in June, Romanian businessman Mihail Stancu bought the building, filed paperwork as if he was converting it to condominiums, then took out loans on each unit without actually making any improvements to them. In the process, he cleared more than $1 million before fleeing the country. The tenants knew nothing.

After the story ran, the city stepped in and persuaded a judge to block all eviction proceedings while an effort was made to sort out the mess. Despite the order, sheriff's deputies unknowingly showed up later at one of the apartments with an order to evict Stancu and tried to throw out the tenants instead. Luckily, they backed off that day, and before they could return, the Albany Park group helped Dart see the light.

Even that hasn't kept the lenders from continuing their extra-legal harassment methods of the tenants in an attempt to get control of the property.

Some believe there are as many as 200 such fraudulent condo conversions now in foreclosure in Chicago. More common is your garden variety landlord getting in over his head. Either way, Dart said his deputies are showing up at more and more homes inhabited by someone other than the person they were supposed to evict.

Dart's action does nothing to impinge upon the rights of landlords to evict tenants who aren't paying their rent.

It does, however, create a situation in many foreclosure evictions where a lender may temporarily be unable to move forward with removing somebody who deserves the boot. That's a problem, but better that they get it right.

Illinois law gives a tenant 120 days to move after notification in the event of a foreclosure. Dart said lenders and their lawyers should be required to provide affidavits swearing the required notice was given.

"The people in Albany Park opened a lot of people's eyes in a hurry," Dart said.

Little guys who stand together are more likely to be seen.



Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicagoís only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jailís Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP