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Housing Counselors Provides Mortgage Relief Help through MHA Program

SUGAR LAND, Texas, Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Money Management International (MMI)  is participating in a nationwide partnership to help families struggling with their mortgage payments apply for help from the Federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program (MHA). The MHA program is an important part of the Obama administration’s comprehensive plan to help homeowners get mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/52440-money-management-international-mmi-mortgage-relief-mha-program

More than one million homeowners nationwide have already benefited from the MHA program, but hundreds of thousands of additional families are still eligible for help. MMI, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, NeighborWorks America and more than 700 housing counseling agencies across the country to help homeowners apply for help through the program free-of-charge.

Homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments are encouraged to make an appointment with an MMI housing counselor to learn more about their mortgage relief options and the process for applying for aid through the MHA program.  To register for a free housing counseling session, simply call 888.665.9659 or visit MMIurl.org/MHAcounseling.

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available 24/7 by phone and online, and by appointment at branch locations. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 866.490.9477 or visit MoneyManagement.org. We’re social! Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Watch us on YouTube. Subscribe to our blog.

Making Home Affordable Program is a free government program administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help families avoid foreclosure and strengthen the housing market recovery.  For more information, please visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

Contact:
Tanisha Warner
Media Relations
713.394.3202
Tanisha.Warner@MoneyManagement.org

SOURCE Money Management International

Article source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1495858

Event Saturday to help homeowners avoid foreclosure

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson,D-Lithonia, will host a an event Saturday in Lithonia to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Congressman hosting

More than 780 homeowners in Johnson’s district have been approved for the federal HomeSafe program since 2011, getting nearly $15 million in temporary relief.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Salem Baptist Church, 5460 Hillandale Dr., near Lithonia.

Registration required: 404-653-8833.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/event-saturday-to-help-homeowners-avoid-foreclosur/nbBS7/

Gotham King office portfolio, in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs, might avoid …

Landerbrook.jpgView full sizeA foreclosure lawsuit involving the Landerbrook Corporate Center and other East Side office buildings could end in a settlement, according to court documents filed last week. An investor group that bought the portfolio at the peak of the market might hand off the keys to a lender, in a process known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A $135 million foreclosure lawsuit involving one of the region’s most notable office portfolios could end in a settlement, according to documents filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The owner of the nine-building Gotham King
portfolio
, which spans several East Side suburbs, might give the
keys to a lender and avoid a foreclosure sale. In a joint motion filed last week, both lender and borrower asked a Cuyahoga County judge to dismiss the case, assuming the real estate hand-off goes smoothly.

The motion was short on details about the potential deal. Attorneys representing both parties declined to comment Friday.

If the proposed settlement comes together, it will end a huge foreclosure and receivership action. At roughly 960,000 square feet, the Gotham King portfolio includes Landerbrook Corporate Center I, II and III in Mayfield Heights; Metropolitan Plaza and One Harvard Crossing in Highland Hills; One Corporate Exchange and Corporate Place in Beachwood; and Corporate Circle I and II in Pepper Pike.

The clear winner would be Lone Star Funds, a Texas-based private equity firm that buys distressed debt and buildings. A Lone Star affiliate bought the note on the Gotham King properties in July, as part of a troubled bundle of mortgages sold at a deep discount.

Now Lone Star is set to step in, though it’s unclear whether the company will sit on the office buildings for a year or two or immediately sell them off. Executives with Lone Star and Hudson Advisors LLC, a related asset-management company, did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s a positive result for the parties, given that this clearly was hotly contested litigation,” said David Browning, the court-appointed receiver responsible for maintaining the value of the real estate during the legal fight. “It’s just better to have this resolved for the benefit of the tenants and everyone involved.”

The portfolio is 76 percent occupied and several leases are pending, said Browning, who is also managing director of the CBRE Group Inc. brokerage in Cleveland. Gotham Realty Holdings, a New York real estate company, teamed up with local investor Donald King in 2007 to purchase the buildings from Duke Realty Corp. At the top of the market, the group paid an eye-popping price topping $140 million just before the economy slumped and demand for office space softened.

The buildings lost major tenants including insurance company Progressive and Brandmuscle, a marketing software company that moved to downtown Cleveland. The properties slipped into foreclosure after the borrowers failed to renegotiate their $135 million mortgage, which was bundled with other commercial loans and used to back bonds sold to investors.

Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/09/gotham_king_office_portfolio_i.html

Poloncarz Announces Upcoming Erie County Tax Foreclosure Auction – WKBW

Sale on Foreclosed Properties Set for October 2; Two Prior Sales Netted Over $14 Million for County

By
WKBW News

Poloncarz Announces Upcoming Erie County Tax Foreclosure Auction

September 29, 2013

Updated Sep 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM EDT

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz announced that Erie County will hold a Tax Foreclosure Auction on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 in the Mason O. Damon Auditorium in the Downtown Central Library. Since taking office in January 2012, the Poloncarz administration has held two foreclosure sales that have yielded over $14 million in delinquent property taxes while returning over 125 homes and businesses into productive taxpaying properties.

“Erie County will continue to work to bring delinquent properties back on the tax rolls, settling accounts and ensuring that these properties do not continue to be a drain on hard-working taxpayers and homeowners across the county,” said Poloncarz. “This foreclosure auction will once again send the signal that Erie County is engaged in addressing the problem of foreclosed properties and the negative effects they have on our community.”

The October 2 sale initially began with 150 properties slated to go to auction, but redemptions have reduced that number to 60 parcels that will be on the block that day. The Erie County Department of Real Property Tax Services forecasts that another $6 million will be collected as a result of prior redemptions and auction day sales.

Director of Real Property Tax Services Joseph Maciejewski added, “Due to the overwhelming success of the last two auctions, my office decided to offer pre-registration to meet the needs of potential bidders by reducing the amount of time it took to register on the morning of the Auction. We have also seen an increase in the amount of investors from other states and Canada.”

Doors will open for the October 2 Tax Foreclosure Auction at 8:30 AM, with the Auction commencing at 9:30 AM. For more information visit http://www2.erie.gov/ecrpts/

To pre-register for the October 2 Tax Foreclosure Auction, visit
http://www2.erie.gov/ecrpts/index.php?q=online-pre-registration

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Article source: http://www.wkbw.com/news/local/Poloncarz-Announces-Upcoming-Erie-County-Tax-Foreclosure-Auction-225722731.html

Tom Barrett proposes a czar position to oversee tax foreclosure problem

Pope Francis to canonize two popes on April 27

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Article source: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/tom-barrett-proposes-a-czar-position-to-oversee-tax-foreclosure-problem-b99108425z1-225742281.html

30 properties set for City of Lockport tax foreclosure auction Oct. 8

LOCKPORT – The City of Lockport has 30 properties for sale in its annual tax foreclosure auction, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in City Hall.

The city is aiming to score sale prices that exceed $259,264, which is the total amount of unpaid taxes written off on the 30 properties, according to City Treasurer Michael E. White.

The lineup of properties this year comprises almost all houses, with no commercial property and only one vacant lot, an L-shaped piece on Hinman Road.

The featured parcel is expected to be a nearly 2,000-square-foot house on a large triangular lot at 111 McIntosh Drive.

The three-bedroom, two-story house, assessed at $158,800, appears to have been abandoned for at least two years. There has been a van with four flat tires parked in the driveway all that time. White said that he’s not sure about the status of the vehicle but that the house is getting potential bidders’ attention.

“I’ve had a lot of calls from people within the neighborhood,” chief tax clerk Ronda L. McFall said.

Another featured property is 82 Pound St., which actually includes two houses. A large, red, two-story house dating from 1890 is in the front of the nearly half-acre lot. A newer house with a three-car garage is in the rear.

Somewhat less desirable are 124 N. Transit Road and 175 South St., which are in sad shape. The auction catalog says it all about those two houses: “Buyer must have house demolished.”

Overall, “there’s a lot of interest,” White said. “People are looking to get a good deal in a down economy.”

The city isn’t changing its rules for the auction, despite a defeat in a lawsuit from a bidder last year who won two properties and put down deposits.

The city refused to give him the properties because the bidder hadn’t paid his school taxes on a parcel he already owned. It also kept his deposits, although a judge ordered the city to refund the money.

The Common Council has been discussing altering the rules, but any changes wouldn’t take effect until 2014.

For now, the city reserves the right to make undesirable bidders forfeit their deposits.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

Article source: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/lockport/30-properties-set-for-city-of-lockport-tax-foreclosure-auction-oct-8-20130929

The Un-United United States

Shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress struggled to develop a document that would provide the structure for the first government of the United States.  On November 15, 1777 the representatives of the thirteen original colonies adopted the Articles of Confederation.  It providedstructure for a loose association of independent states,enabling them to cooperate on specific matters while maintaining individual state sovereignty.

The Articles of Confederation failed for a number of reasons.  Among those reasons were, the inability of the national government to tax, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and provide for central leadership.

One major event that signaled the failings of the Articles was Shay’s Rebellion, an armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. Daniel Shay, a Revolutionary War veteran and Massachusetts farmer was being forced into foreclosure on his farm as the state raised taxes and interest rates to cover its war debt.  Shay and fellow protesters shut down county courts to stop the judicial hearings for tax and debt collection. The government’s inability to deal with the issues leading up to the rebellion signaled a break down in order and signaled that a new structure was needed.  The country was becoming ungovernable.

Today, 226 years later American’s face yet another threatened shutdown of the government but this time there’s a difference.  Shay’s Rebellion was an uprising led by a small band of citizens against the established order, the government.  Today, the anticipated shutdown is being led by a small band of elected officials who are more focused on their narrow political ideology than operating in the best interest of the American people. They are also willing to misrepresent the facts and lie to the American people to make their case. Congress’ unwillingness to work with the Executive Branch and its inability to pass legislation is a clear indication that once again, the country is becoming ungovernable.

Conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a bill linking the continued funding of the government to the unrelated defunding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is the posterboy for the conservative opposition to the ACA.  He has called the ACA a “glitch-riddled healthcare takeover that is killing jobs, wages, and health-care benefits all across the nation.”  It’s not a takeover of health-care; it’s a change to health insurance which provides greater access to care for the previously uninsured.  Why are Republicans opposed toexpanding healthcare to more Americans and willing to shut down the government in order to prevent it?

According to fact checking by USA Today, Cruz’s diatribe on the Senate floor was filled with outright lies. For example, Cruz falsely claimed that the spouses of 15,000 UPS employees will be “left without health insurance” and forced into “an exchange with no employer subsidy.” UPS is dropping coverage for spouses only if they can get insurance with their own employer. Cruz also cited an outdated quote from Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, to back up his claim that Obamacare is slowing job growth. Zandi told us the slowdown in job growth at small businesses is “no longer the case.”

Even Senator John McCain (R-AZ) took issue with Cruz.  He called it “extended oratory” and took issue with Cruz’sreference to Nazi Germany.

House speaker Boehner has stated, “”The American people don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want Obamacare…The House has listened to the American people…Now is the time for the US Senate to listen to them as well.”  The problem with Boehner’s statement is that it is just not supported by the facts. For example,CNBC released a poll earlier this week showing Americans oppose defunding the new health care by a 44 percent to 38 percent margin and strongly opposed defunding 59 percent to 19 percent, if it means shutting down the government.Not to mention the fact that health care reform was a significant plank in President Obama’s platform in both the2008 and 2012 campaigns. He won convincingly both times.

Senator McCain addressed the previous point by saying,”the people spoke” and still reelected President Barack Obama in 2012. Lawmakers shouldn’t “give up our efforts to repair Obamacare” McCain said, but said it wasn’t worth shutting down the government. ”We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost…”

These are the same people who two weeks ago under the direction of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA),pushed through a bill that slashes $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years and limits the time recipients can get benefits to three months. Cutting food stamps at a time when according to Bread for the World 14.5 percent of American households struggle to put food on the table? More than one in four American children are at risk of hunger? Senate Democrats have pledged to not pass this bill and President Obama has promised to veto the bill if it comes across his desk.

Cantor’s bill would also require adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find a job or to enroll in a work-training program in order to receive benefits.  This, at a time when according to Census Bureau statistics there are11.3 million unemployed persons and the unemployment rate at 7.3 percent, changed little in August? Lest we forget, Cantor and his cronies are also leading the charge to cut funding for job training programs.

The Ted Cruz’s and Eric Cantor’s of the world are the modern day Daniel Shay.  The difference is Shay led a populist movement of citizen’s who’s way of life was being threatened by the government.  Cruz, Cantor, and their band of Tea Party political terrorists are holding Americans hostage and using the American government against the American people; making the United States of America, un-united and ungovernable.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirisu/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.com. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com  © 2013 InfoWave Communications, LLC

Article source: http://politic365.com/2013/09/30/the-un-united-united-states/

Former Cop, Convicted Embezzler Arrested on DUI Charge

A former Bartow County Sheriff’s Office captain who has spent a year in federal prison found himself Saturday on the wrong side of the law, again.

Brenton James Garmon, now 41, pleaded guilty in May 2008 to embezzling more than $80,000 of funds seized by BCSO’s Narcotics unit, which he headed from about 2004 to 2007, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Garmon, then 36, who used some of the money to stop foreclosure proceedings on his home, was sentenced to serve a year and a month in federal prison.

He was released in May 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and was to be supervised for the following three years. The current Aquafil employee also was ordered to repay $80,493.78 to the sheriff’s office.

In an unrelated incident, a sheriff’s deputy Saturday about 12:30 a.m. spotted the blue 1994 Ford Ranger driven by Garmon. He allegedly failed to stop for a stop sign at Peeples Valley and Cass-White roads, and was pulled over.

Garmon allegedly smelled of alcohol, and said he had been drinking since 10 a.m. Friday, consuming about six beers, and had just drank a beer shortly before leaving his home, according to the BCSO report, above.

A breath test for the presence of alcohol performed on Garmon registered 0.98. He was arrested and charged with DUI and failure to obey a stop sign, and has since bonded out of jail.

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Article source: http://cartersville.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/former-cop-convicted-embezzler-arrested-on-dui-charge

Forceful mayor’s drastic plan to stop foreclosures

RICHMOND, Calif. — Gayle McLaughlin looks and sounds like the former school teacher and data entry worker she was — down to her sensible brown walking shoes.

What the 5-foot-4-inch mayor of this working-class San Francisco Bay Area city does not resemble is the ready-to-march, dogged corporate thorn she is.

Her latest opponent? Wall Street.

McLaughlin, a member of the leftist Green Party, is leading a novel effort by the city to buy 624 underwater mortgages in Richmond, pay the investor-owners some of what they’re owed and set the homeowner up with a new mortgage closer to the home’s current value.

If investors don’t sell, the city says it may use its eminent domain powers to seize the mortgages at fair market value.

The idea is to prevent foreclosures, which cause blight, and help homeowners still stuck with mortgage loans far greater than their home’s value, McLaughlin says.

“People were tricked. They were sold these bad loans. This is a question — for me — of a community being victimized,” says McLaughlin, 61, a longtime renter who “owned a trailer once.”

Richmond’s threat to use its eminent-domain powers, which allow governments to take private property for public use, has unleashed a torrent of opposition.

Banks, government regulators, mortgage bankers, Realtors, investors and land title companies say the plan is unconstitutional, will shortchange investors who own the mortgages, including pension funds and threaten mortgage lending and property rights.

“If investors get ripped off today, why would they put capital to work tomorrow?” says Tom Deutsch, CEO of the American Securitization Forum, whose members include issuers and investors in mortgage-backed securities. If any city does it, “It’ll set the precedent nationwide,” he says.

Richmond, a city of 105,000 that is 70% minority, was hit hard in the housing bust.

Home values tanked 66% from their peak in 2006 to a median of $156,000 at the end of 2011, Zillow data show. That’s led to thousands of foreclosures and millions of dollars in lost property tax revenue, McLaughlin says. Home prices have climbed back to a median of $218,000, but four of 10 mortgaged homes are still underwater.

Many of those are at risk of foreclosure, McLaughlin says. Last month, she marched with other protesters to Wells Fargo’s headquarters in San Francisco in support of the plan.

“It is not an option to stand on the sidelines, waiting for the next wave of foreclosures,” McLaughlin says. “We are going to stand up to Wall Street.”

NO STRANGER TO POLITICAL FIGHTS

The second-term mayor, whose career in government started as a Richmond City Council member in 2004, is accustomed to tough fights.

Growing up in Chicago, she was the third of five daughters born to a union-carpenter father and a factory-worker mother. She’s spent decades on the other side of the powers that be — opposing the Vietnam War, supporting the Central American solidarity movement and numerous environmental causes.

In her 2010 mayoral race, she survived an attack by the city’s police and fire unions that exposed an earlier, unsuccessful attempt to shed personal debts by filing for bankruptcy. McLaughlin says the “smear” campaign backfired, and voters identified with her ability to overcome financial challenges.

McLaughlin has also repeatedly clashed with Chevron, the city’s biggest employer. Last month, the city sued Chevron, alleging that a 2012 fire at the local refinery reflected “years of neglect.” The suit asks for financial compensation for economic damages and punitive ones to deter similar future conduct.

Chevron, which agreed to pay the county $2 million stemming from the fire, says the lawsuit is a “wrongheaded attempt” to take advantage of the refinery fire.

McLaughlin expects it to force Chevron to “change its corporate culture so our community can be safe.”

A MESSAGE FROM WALL STREET?

Not everybody applauds McLaughlin’s tactics.

“You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. … You sit down with them,” says Richmond City Councilman Nathaniel Bates, a frequent McLaughlin opponent. He says Chevron is working hard to modernize a 111-year-old plant that predates the city.

The use of eminent domain won’t hurt Wall Street as much as it’ll hurt Richmond, Bates says.

He fears that investors won’t buy Richmond’s bonds if the city proceeds. Richmond may have gotten such a warning shot last month when it failed to find takers for a $34 million bond offering.

The city also isn’t offering enough for the mortgages, Deutsch says.

For the 624 home loans, Richmond offered a “fair market value” that averages 52% of what’s owed, shows an analysis by independent consulting firm PF2 Securities Evaluations. Of the loans, 444 of them are current. The median balance owed is about $380,000.

The city may take control of the mortgages by eminent domain if investors don’t agree to sell, though it would still have to compensate them.

“It’s kind of like an offer you can’t refuse … a Godfather-like thing,” says Richmond Realtor Jeffrey Wright, who also opposes the plan.

He says the issue is less about preventing blight — especially since some of the homes would quickly re-sell if foreclosed on — and more about the mayor’s politics.

“It’s a social justice crusade,” Wright says. “From the mayor’s perspective, the banks have done the people wrong.”

Here’s how the plan would work. Assume a house has a $300,000 mortgage. The city might argue its current value is only $160,000. If a judge agreed, the city would use funds from investment firm Mortgage Resolution Partners to buy the loan. The homeowner would refinance into a new loan, perhaps for $190,000. Those funds would pay off the city. The $30,000 difference between what the city paid, and what it got, would be split among MRP, its investors and the city.

The plan’s implementation is far from certain.

After an eight-hour city council meeting earlier this month, the council narrowly approved McLaughlin’s proposal to take the next step with the plan and try draw in more cities. The council will have to vote again to actually seize loans and get a “yes” vote from one of the members who voted “no” at the last meeting.

If the city seizes a loan, “There would be an immediate court challenge,” Deutsch says. What’s more, if sellers aren’t willing to sell, the courts would have to determine fair pricing for the mortgages.

Investors already filed suit against the plan once. A federal judge said the claims were not yet “ripe” because Richmond hadn’t actually done anything yet.

A handful of other cities are considering the same strategy as Richmond’s, but it’s taken the idea the furthest, says Cornell University law professor Robert Hockett, a chief proponent.

Others have backed off. Those include North Las Vegas, Chicago and San Bernardino County in California, where opposition was also strong.

Richmond has enlisted more grass-roots support than those other places, supporters say, including from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

What else is different about Richmond?

“The mayor,” Deutsch says.

Article source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/09/29/richmond-eminent-domain-foreclosures/2834299/

The Boston Mayoral Forum Series kicks off

The second Boston Mayoral Forum was held at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Sept. 19. The event was hosted by UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, WBUR, and the Boston Foundation and was held at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.


Chancellor J. Keith Motley began by opening the debate with an introduction and a speech.  

The forum focused on addressing disparities of education, income, and opportunity among Boston residents. The forum also addressed the mitigation of the Everett casino and the lack of racial diversity in the police force.

Boston mayoral candidates at the time of the debate included City Councilor Felix Arroyo, former Boston School Committee member John Barros, former Boston Police officer Charles Clemons, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, City Councilor John Connolly, former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie, City Councilor Michael Ross, State Representative Martin Walsh, community organizer Bill Walczak, and City Councilor Charles Yancey. David James Wyatt, former candidate for City Council in 2007, was not in attendance.

Candidates shared their thoughts on and ideas for fixing the education system.

Walczak stated, “It’s important for schools to act more holistically. Most Bostonians live in poverty because of this, and as a result, schools need to be more efficient. We need to make sure that schools look at things from a different perspective such as making sure food and housing are secured first.”

Connolly added, “Students need emotional support, healthy choices, and food pantries to learn in a school environment. So many children go to school broken and are not ready to learn.”

Richie’s proposed solution was to “create partnerships with private nonprofit organization sectors in the city to improve students’ education.” She added, “Not only that, but we have to help families avoid foreclosure, hunt for jobs, and learn English as second language. We need to do better at coordinating things.”

Arroyo brought up funding for gym and arts classes. “We need the creativity from the arts and theatres, and gym for physical activities,” he said.

Barros, Walsh, Ross, and Clemons also agree with reforming the education system to fit students’ needs. 

Income and rising market costs for housing were also discussed.

Yancey stated, “We require one-third of housing to be for low-income residents so they are not displaced from housing in general because of the increasing costs.

“I would like to increase that number. I talked to a lot of young professionals enriching our economy. Half of them do not live in the city and we can’t afford to lose their talents. We need to bring transit and affordable housing because it is too expensive for almost everyone,” Conley said.

Richie, Walczak, Arroyo, and Walsh share similar views on the issue of affordable housing.

Increasing the diversity in Boston’s police force was mentioned, with many emphasizing that only a small percentage of officers are people of color.

“We don’t have a single person of color, except for the captain. We need to put people of color in leadership positions. We all have to have the same commitment to sharing and spreading around diversity,” stated Ross.

Clemons remarked, “There are 54 percent of colored people in this population, yet we have a low amount of colored officers in the police force. We even removed our current police commissioner of color. One of the reason I left my police position was to make it my independence day to change this. It’s not fair that we have just white captains in charge of these districts.”

Arroyo, Walczak, Conley, Barros, and Richie concur that the police force should reflect the people of Boston and reform to encourage people of color on the force.

Nolan O’Brien, the student trustee from UMass Boston, attended the event and stated, “It is quite clear that the most serious issue facing the next mayor of Boston is education reform. Most if not all of the candidates call for extensive reinvestment in or re-evaluation of Boston Public Schools and how education reform will affect job growth, public transit, and housing. From what I’ve seen, education is the real linchpin in this election.”

The two mayoral finalists elected on Sept. 24, Walsh and Connolly, will meet on Nov. 5, 2013 for the election. They will also meet again at UMass Boston for the next Mayoral Forum on Oct. 9. 

Article source: http://www.umassmedia.com/news/the-boston-mayoral-forum-series-kicks-off/article_acc89dd4-2653-11e3-bce8-001a4bcf6878.html