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Tax foreclosure threat becomes latest hardship in Flint

Flint — Fresh out of prison last summer, Jamal Johnson returned to his boarded-up home on the city’s east side and sought to rebuild his life.

His sister had watched the house, but what shocked Johnson, 37, was an unpaid water bill that spiked to a staggering $3,192. The majority of the bill was generated when he was locked up for weapons violations. If unpaid, according to Flint city ordinance, Johnson would lose his home.

Johnson was one of nearly 8,000 homeowners who were in danger of having tax foreclosure proceedings start last week until the Flint City Council approved a one-year moratorium on the tax liens — which covered residents with two years of unpaid water and sewer bills going back to June 2014.

But the temporary reprieve is in question. It faces an uncertain fate before the state-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board, which monitors Flint’s finances since the city’s emergence from state oversight in April 2015 and is scheduled to vote on the moratorium at its June meeting.

Outstanding water liens have become the latest hardship as an impoverished Flint still reels from a lead-in-water crisis that was first publicly acknowledged less than two years ago.

More than 100 residents showed up at last Wednesday’s raucous council meeting, upset and insulted that they could lose their homes after being charged for water they couldn’t drink and rarely, if ever, used. There was a May 19 deadline for the thousands of homeowners to pay up under a 1964 ordinance, but the officials approved a one-year reprieve partially in part to give them time to alter the law.

Some residents were slapped with tax liens after refusing to pay their water bill for years after developing skin rashes and seeing behavioral problems in their children. Then there are cases like Johnson’s.

“The house was boarded up when I came back,” said Johnson, who was arrested in 2012 and hadn’t been home until he was released on parole last June. “My sister kept going back and forth watching the house for me. But she said she wasn’t there. I’m like, why I’ve got to pay? I don’t understand it.”

If the council hadn’t acted, the city would have started enforcing the liens with foreclosure proceedings.

Maria Williams, 63, who lives on the city’s north side, told the council that she is dumbfounded that the city would put a lien on her house for the $1,000 owed for water that made her and her grandchildren sick.

“I’ve been on my own since I was 18, years ago, and never had a problem with paying the water bill,” said Williams, whose granddaughter, Deneika Booth, owes $1,110 for water. “Now I don’t feel like I should have to pay for this water.”

Williams blamed her problem in part on the state emergency manager who decided to switch from the Detroit area water system to the corrosive Flint River.

“And it was a cover-up,” she said. “People did know about this.”

The angst has led to a recall effort against Mayor Karen Weaver, who a year ago was in Washington, D.C., for meetings at the White House with President Barack Obama to lobby for more federal aid and get other attention for the city.

The city is between a rock and a hard place, Weaver said. There is righteous residential anger over water they could not use, but the city still needs to collect bills to stay financially afloat and not fall back under state control, she said.

Weaver said she will honor the moratorium and “follow the law.”

“It’s not like something new has been put in place,” she said about the 1964 ordinance. “We’re doing what has always been done. This was something that council did. This is the legislative body. My role is to execute the law. So I’m carrying out the law that’s put in place.”

The ordinance wasn’t enforced last year because Flint offered “credits” to its residents through state financing, city officials said. The state ended the credits at the end of February, noting that lead levels had fallen to 12 parts per billion, which is under the federal action standard.

Weaver met with Gov. Rick Snyder in Lansing in mid-February about getting an extension, but was rebuffed. She complained about getting “short notice” about the end of water bill credits, but the governor’s office said it told the city in mid-December it would likely stop the credits one month after federal water standards were met.

Weaver said she’s heard some stories about exorbitant bills like Johnson’s, and “we want those people to come to us so we can really investigate those and see what happened. We had somebody who had a crazy bill and found out there had been a leak going on.”

Edward Taylor, a former Flint council member and landlord in the city, has his own water lien story. He said he was hit with a $1,053 bill from a home he rented out to a woman he recently evicted. Taylor said the woman illegally turned on the water, so the city is holding him responsible for paying up.

“I get home from out of town, and I get a water bill in my name for that particular house, and I’m like, why did I get a water bill, I don’t have water on in the city,” Taylor said. “Evidently the lady never turned in the water affidavit, and she got it turned on illegally. So what they want to do is charge me for it. I told them no.”

Taylor is promising to sue the city if he doesn’t get relief and the bill wiped away.

“That’s not the way it works,” he said, “not when I do everything that I’m supposed to do.”

After the moratorium vote, council President Kerry Nelson said: “the people are suffering enough” for being forced to pay for water they cannot drink and are reluctant to use.

“The calls that I received were numerous. Everywhere I go, people were saying: Do something,” Nelson said. “I did what the charter authorized me to do” with a temporary moratorium “until we look at the ordinance and get it corrected. It needs work. It’s 53 years old. We must start doing something for our community.”

The council president insisted the Snyder administration needs to step up “and help us.”

“They created this,” Nelson said. “The government doesn’t get a free pass.”

(313) 222-2620


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After Complaints, Fannie Mae Will Stop Selling Homes to Vision …

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Home Foreclosure Attorney Provides Free Legal Advice to California …

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Los Angeles, CA — (SBWIRE) — 05/23/2017 — When homeowners face foreclosure, a home foreclosure attorney can save their home and file bankruptcy or file a lawsuit. In California, one in every 2260 homeowners has faced home foreclosure as of April 2017 (RealtyTrac). While foreclosure rates in California have improved over the years, the threat of losing one’s home still exists. Fortunately, there are legal actions they can take to stop foreclosure.

Filing bankruptcy helps homeowners stop foreclosure fast. There are two types of bankruptcy homeowners commonly choose to stop foreclosure: chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. Homeowners need to talk to an experienced home foreclosure attorney to evaluate their situation before selecting which chapter to pursue.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, homeowners can wipe out all credit card and medical debt, but must be up to date on mortgage and car payments and must not have too much equity in the house. While homeowners can lose their property with this chapter, most do not. “The benefit of a chapter 7 is that at the end of the case, [homeowners] are discharged debt-free,” said Attorney Lauren Rode. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as student loans.

With a chapter 13 bankruptcy, homeowners can stop foreclosure immediately. The homeowner will then have 3-to-5 years to fully repay their missed mortgage payments [arrears]. An advantage of a chapter 13 is that homeowners do not have to fully repay their unsecured debt (credit card or medical bills).

While homeowners can stop foreclosure by filing bankruptcy, there are times when they face foreclosure due to their lenders’ wrongful practices. In these cases, homeowners can file a lawsuit against their lenders by hiring a home foreclosure attorney.

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights protects homeowners from wrongful practices by their lenders and encourages fair lending and borrowing practices. This means that mortgage lenders cannot deceive their borrowers such as “lying to [them] about putting a hold on [their] foreclosure while [they] are being checked for modification,” (Attorney Lauren Rode). If homeowners are being treated unfairly, a home foreclosure attorney can help file a lawsuit against their lenders.

Homeowners facing foreclosures should act quickly to save their home. Fortunately, they can stop foreclosures by filing a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy or filing a lawsuit against their lender. By taking legal action, home foreclosure rates in California can continue to improve.

For free legal advice, California homeowners can call Consumer Action Law Group at 818-254-8413 to talk to a home foreclosure attorney for free.

About Consumer Action Law Group
Consumer Action Law Group is a law firm located in Los Angeles, California. Their bankruptcy lawyers have successfully stopped hundreds of foreclosures for Stockton, California residents. Individuals who live in Stockton, California can call Consumer Action Law Group for free stop foreclosure advice. Bankruptcy Attorneys at Consumer Action Law Group have stopped foreclosures for homeowners within 5 minutes. For a free meeting with a lawyer today, Call Consumer Action Law Group directly at 818-254-8413.

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Chicago Foreclosure Activity: Shadow Inventory Hits New Low

ATTOM Data Solutions (the parent of RealtyTrac) released their April Foreclosure Market Report last week along with their Chicago foreclosure activity data. The nation hit the lowest level of activity since November 2005 and as the release points out:

A total of 34,085 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in April, down 6 percent from the previous month and down 22 percent from a year ago and continuing well below the pre-recession average of more than 77,000 foreclosure starts per month between April 2005 and November 2007.

The release includes the graph below that plots foreclosure starts but you should note that “foreclosure activity” includes more than just foreclosure starts. What the graph also shows is that the rate of completions is now very close to the rate of starts which means that the banks are finally dealing with the problems almost as fast as new ones pop up. However, I don’t believe that a completion in their sense is the only way for a foreclosure to be dealt with – otherwise we would have seen a huge spike in shadow inventory over the last few years with the gap shown. I suspect that a fair number of homeowners are able to redeem the property and I don’t think that is counted as a completion below.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, commented on the dramatic decline in foreclosure activity over the last few years:

Foreclosure activity continued to search for a new post-recession floor in April thanks in large part to the above-par performance of mortgages originated in the past seven years. Meanwhile we are seeing an elevated share of repeat foreclosures on homeowners who often fell into default several years ago but have not been able to avoid foreclosure despite the housing recovery.

The data for Chicago shows a similar low point in total foreclosure activity as shown in my graph below. However, as I pointed out last month, there has been a bit of a recent uptick in foreclosure starts lately, which is a little concerning. In addition, auctions hit the lowest level in the last 16 months while bank repossessions hit the lowest level in the last 4 months. Neither of these last two developments is really good because we want these foreclosures to be resolved and that’s a significant way for them to be resolved.

Speaking of resolving foreclosures…I do track how many are outstanding and the trend is once again looking good after stagnating for a considerable period of time. As the graph below shows we are once again working through the shadow inventory and will hopefully break below 10,000 in the next few months.

#Foreclosures #ChicagoForeclosures

Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.


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City of Minot hires lawyer in intermodal station foreclosure dispute – KFYR

MINOT, N.D. – The Minot City Council has taken on legal counsel to handle the city’s end of an ongoing foreclosure dispute with an intermodal station in the city.

Court records indicate that First Western Bank and Trust has declared two separate loans in default from North Dakota Port Services, which leases the station’s land. The city of Minot owns the property.

The city council voted Tuesday to approve the Bakke Law Firm to handle the city’s part of the case, following a roughly half-hour long closed-door executive session.

The amount due for one loan comes in at more than $7.4 million, while the other is more than $1 million.

The Bakke Law Firm also handled the city’s legal dispute with former City Attorney Colleen Aue

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Quality Cash Market foreclosure auction canceled

The foreclosure auction of the Quality Cash Market has been canceled, raising hopes that the East Concord icon will remain in business.

Co-owner Liz Duncan could not be reached for comment Monday, but the store confirmed that the auction, scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, would not be held.

The family-owned convenience store at 11 Eastman St., including a bakery and butcher shop, was set to be sold in a foreclosure auction organized by Granite Bank, which holds the mortgage on the store and an adjacent family-owned building.

Quality Cash opened in 1977. Duncan is part of the third generation of family owner/operators. Earlier Monitor stories about its possible demise drew a host of comments from sad and upset readers.

When the foreclosure auction was first announced, the two buildings owed thousands of dollars in property taxes to the city of Concord, according to city tax collector Michael Jache.

David Brooks

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Fresh Start program helps families hurt by foreclosure during recession

A new state program, Fresh Start, is designed to help families and individuals who have experienced foreclosures, job loss or other financial difficulties stemming from the financial crisis that began in 2008, Gov. John Carney and other officials announced May 23.

Fresh Start, a partnership between the Delaware State Housing Authority and the state’s financial empowerment program, $tand By Me, offers free financial coaching to help Delawareans get past setbacks and move toward home ownership again.

The statewide program, funded by bank settlements, was developed to help Delawareans who lost their homes because of foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu arrangements, said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. They may wish to improve credit, increase savings or decrease debt to put them in a better position to buy a home or rent.

$tand By Me works with nonprofits to offer personal financial coaching, with four coaches statewide devoted to helping Fresh Start clients.

Since it began six years ago, $tand By Me has served more than 75,000 Delawareans, including more than 14,000 who have participated in financial coaching.

Carney and other leaders spoke at an event formally kicking off the program at the Goodwill store at Lea Boulevard in Wilmington. Goodwill is one of three nonprofits with Fresh Start financial coaches, along with NCALL Research and Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware.

For information, visit or call 504-3549 or 652-3991, ext. 106, in New Castle County, 678-9400 in Kent County or 855-1370 in Sussex County.

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Save Red Rock attorney, ex-state senator to run for Clark County Commission – Las Vegas Review

Save Red Rock attorney and former Nevada state Sen. Justin Jones announced Monday that he is running for the Clark County Commission.

The 42-year-old Democrat intends to file candidacy for District F to replace term-limited Susan Brager, a fellow Democrat, in 2018.

“I think Clark County needs people who are ready, willing and able to stand up for the people who live in this community and want to make it a more livable community,” Jones said. “One thing I think people know about me, I never give up. If there’s a challenge I never stop fighting, and I think that’s what we need at the county commission level.”

A county resident since 2001, Jones said he is concerned about “haphazard” development in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. He also wants to focus on working with the Regional Transportation Commission to improve public transportation.

“I think there’s an opportunity for better urban planning in the county,” he said.

Jones graduated from George Washington University Law School in 2001. He is a partner at the law firm Jones Lovelock, which he formed this month with attorney Nicole Lovelock.

A familiar face

Jones will likely be familiar to people who follow local and state government.

He was elected to the state Senate in 2012. During his one term in office, Jones sponsored the Nevada Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, which prohibited banks from “dual-tracking.” Dual-tracking is a practice where a bank forecloses on a home while it is also processing a homeowner’s submission for a loan modification to prevent foreclosure. The bill passed unanimously.

Recently, Jones has represented the environmental nonprofit Save Red Rock in its attempts to halt a developer’s plans to build about 5,000 homes on Blue Diamond Hill, near Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. He’s argued before the county commission that land-owner Gypsum Resources shouldn’t be granted a zoning change to build the community.

No zoning change has been granted. However, commissioners are allowing Gypsum Resources to submit detailed plans on what it wants to build.

“Obviously I was disappointed,” Jones said. “But I also feel that there’s a commitment by many of the commissioners to protect Red Rock, and I want to be a part of that.”

Republican candidates

Two Republican candidates, attorney Tisha Black and auto insurance claims adjuster Mitchell Tracy, have also announced plans to run in District F.

The county’s official filing period for candidates begins in March.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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Florida appeals court reverses judgment that borrower in foreclosure case committed technical error

BROWARD COUNTY — Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal recently reversed a lower court decision that had said a borrower in a foreclosure case had committed a “technical breach.”

Summitbridge Credit Investments III LLC (Summitbridge) filed the appeal after the Broward County Circuit Court ruled that the borrower, Carlyle Beach LLC, owed money but that a foreclosure was unfair.

The legal issues for the borrower and lender began when Summitbridge bought Carlyle Beach’s commercial loan from the original lender, which had implemented several modifications, in 2012. Carlyle Beach had agreed to certain terms “so long as credit is available under this agreement and until the bank is repaid in full.” The borrower had to prove financial standing with certain documents and statements during the time of the loan. But Carlyle Beach allegedly didn’t comply with the agreed-upon terms, so the lender wanted to foreclose.

Carlyle Beach said it didn’t break the contract because the agreement was only in place “so long as credit is available.” Shortly after taking the out the loan, the borrower was told the “credit-line was no longer available.” The lender never asked for more financial proof.

Summitbridge submitted an appeal because it said that there was no cancellation of financial information so an alleged “material breach” was enough to bring foreclosure. It also said the borrower’s late payment of the property taxes should not prevent foreclosure and that the court was incorrect in not allowing “essential discovery” and that the lower court “misapplied equitable concepts” when it dismissed the notion of “relief on its non-equitable claims.” The district court agreed with the trial court on all points except the concerning the “material breach.”

Carlyle Beach argued that the lender didn’t have the proper position to foreclose and that the court was incorrect when it decided that it was guilty of a “technical breach.” The appeals court agreed with the trial court on the borrower’s issue about whether the lender could foreclose but agreed with the borrower on its cross-appeal that the trial court erred when it came to the borrower’s “technical breach,” so it reversed that judgment. 

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