Thursday, October 9, 2008

Diogenese put down your lantern, we have found an honest man!

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- An outraged sheriff in Illinois who refuses to evict "innocent" renters from foreclosed homes criticized mortgage companies Thursday and said the law should protect victims of the mortgage meltdown.

Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart says too many renters are being evicted for landlords' problems.

1 of 2 Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said earlier he is suspending foreclosure evictions in Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago.

The county had been on track to reach a record number of evictions, many because of mortgage foreclosures.

Many good tenants are suffering because building owners have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, he said Thursday on CNN's "American Morning."

"These poor people are seeing everything they own put out on the street. ... They've paid their bills, paid them on time. Here we are with a battering ram at the front door going to throw them out. It's gotten insane," he said. Watch Dart slam mortgage companies »

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, Dart said.

"This is an example where the banking industry has not done any of the work they should do. It's a piece of paper to them," Dart said.

"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 courts 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 'martial law' should not be tolerated."

Dart was undeterred Thursday.

"I think the outrage on my part with them [is] that they could so cavalierly issue documents and have me throw people out of homes who have done absolutely nothing wrong," Dart said. "They played by all the rules.
"I told them, 'You send an agent out, you send somebody out that gives me any type of assurance that the appropriate person is in the house, I will fulfill the order.'
"When you're blindly sending me out to houses where I'm coming across innocent tenant after innocent tenant, I can't keep doing this and have a good conscience about it."

From Ernie:
One of the reasons that I could never become a public official, is because I could never do some of the things that they are expected to do. An official is supposed to play by the book, and I’m afraid that I would always be using my judgment.

It reminds me of the helicopter pilot that landed his machine between the people that were being shot by America troops, and the troops, to stop the killing in Mai Lai. The story of Hugh C. Thompson Jr. should be standard reading material for all Americans.

America needs more people like these people to stand up and say; “Enough” The story of Hugh C. Thompson Jr.


Robin Shelley said...

My husband told me about seeing this guy on TV, Ernie, & I wondered if he is jeopardizing his job... don't know if he's elected or appointed... since, as you said, government officials are not paid to "think". We'd better keep a close eye on him.
Admirable! Admirable! Admirable!

Kym said...

Thank you for this story. It illuminated a whole area of this crisis that I hadn't thought about. Of course, renters are going to be caught between banks and owners! I just hadn't realized it.

Kudos to the sheriff!

ben said...

Ernie.. Drove to Ukiah and back today. Very few trucks on the road. Mostly curtain vans and the like. Not many lumber trucks going south. I think I saw three. Only one Evergreen pulp hauler when they used to run 100 loads a day. We had better be ready for a bad slowdown soon. The only dim light is that the price of oil is down.

Robin Shelley said...

How's Laytonville look, Ben? I understand there have been some pretty big changes made there in my absence.

spyrock said...

i guess it is becoming obvious to most of you that something needs to be done about the financial terrorists and predatory lenders. these banks and ceo's need to be fined and required to reimburse the american people for charging us usurous interest rates. there should only be one type of loan allowed. fixed rate. every other kind of loan should be outlawed. there should be a cap of 5% on long term loans of 5 years and longer and a cap of 10% on credit cards or loans of less than 5 years. lenders should be required to disclose their terms and conditions in simple, plain, obvious language. a class in real world economics should be a required subject in high school.
any lender who made a sub prime or gpm or adjustable rate mortgage that has defaulted must renegotiate the loan into a fixed format at 5% interest per annum.
these are some of the things that would help our economy get back on its feet.

Anonymous said...

Main Entry: Di·og·e·nes
Function: biographical name
Pronunciation: dī-'ä-j&-"nez
d circa 320 B·C· Greek Cynic philosopher; advocated asceticism, self-sufficiency, freedom from convention, moral zeal.

Hi, Ernie. Notice how my dictionary spells the name of the Greek philosopher? No "e" at the end. I thought you would like to know.

But back to the main point, I'd better go back and read the story. That spelling thing really shook me up for a while. (But I'm better now.)

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Hi, Ernie. Notice how my dictionary spells the name of the Greek philosopher? No "e" at the end. I thought you would like to know."

Actually, Diogenese is correct. The Diogenese (Pronounced as in: Chinese) are the followers of Diogenes, who spent his life looking for an honest man. The group of Diogenese have faithfully followed his tradition of looking for an honest man, even into today. I was telling them where to look, so they would know that there is a honest man amongst us. But, thanks for the comment, I always welcome the opportunity to explain my misspellings.

Anonymous said...

You write: "But, thanks for the comment, I always welcome the opportunity to explain my misspellings."

Let me add, none do it with more aplomb.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Nice word “aplomb”. I word have used “gross prevarication”.