Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This Sheriffs' Got Soul
A Chicago, Illinois 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."
Dart said he wants the judiciary or the state Legislature to establish protections for those most harmed by the mortgage crisis.
In 1999, Cook County had 12,935 mortgage foreclosure cases; in 2006, 18,916 cases were filed and last year, 32,269 were filed. This year's total is expected to exceed 43,000.
"The people we're interacting with are, many times, oblivious to the financial straits their landlord might be in," Dart said. "They are the innocent victims here and they are the ones all of us must step up and find some way to protect."
The Illinois Bankers Association opposed the plan, saying that Dart "was elected to uphold the law and to fulfill the legal duties of his office, which include serving eviction notices."
The association said Dart could be found in contempt of court for ignoring court eviction orders.
"The reality is that by ignoring the law and his legal responsibilities, he is carrying out 'vigilantism' at the highest level of an elected official," it said. "The Illinois banking industry is working hard to help troubled homeowners in many ways, but Sheriff Dart's declaration of 'marshal law' should not be tolerated."
Interesting how they are trying to charge HIM with declaring Marshal Law, when they are not following the procedures they are supposed to .
This Sheriff is doing the right thing. I hope we have MORE law officers who realize the people getting foreclosed/evicted are victims of this system.... which leads us to the next blog post...