Thursday, November 10, 2005

Woody Goes to Washington or How I Stopped Worrying and Made It a Federal Case

I went ahead and addressed my developer issues to both of my United States senators:

Senators Durbin & Obama:

As highlighted by the Chicago Tribune’s series of articles this week, mortgage fraud has become a blight on communities on the south and west sides of the city. While this threat is a blight upon emerging or rebuilding neighborhoods, I believe that there is another insidious plague that also threatens the stability of homeownership.

Shoddy or unethical real estate developers can also cause just as much damage to a community as an individual engaged in mortgage fraud. Questionable development of a property may later wind up costing its owners a significant amount of money as latent defects or other oversights are found. Additionally, when the twin specters of mortgage fraud and irresponsible real estate development are combined, it makes a difficult hole for most homeowners to attempt to climb out of.

The paperwork accompanying this letter will point of a few things, the first is that I believe (but cannot yet prove) that our condominium association is a victim of mortgage fraud. It seems highly suspicious that three individuals who are all in foreclosure combined to secure over 24 different mortgages on multiple properties. The on-line records from the Cook County Clerk’s office clearly show that XXXX, XXXX and XXXX are in the late stages of foreclosure due to the non-payment of their multiple mortgages. While these individuals very well have run across a spate of bad luck, it seems to be highly coincidental that the bad luck did not also extended to the mortgage on their principal residences.

Secondly it is clear that our condominium developer, XXXX, neither adhered to laws concerning the electrical wiring of our homes as well as his fiduciary duty to the other owners by allowing a debt that he incurred to eventually be shifted to the association.

You will read in an electrical report that we had done earlier this year that any and all standards for electrical wiring were either not followed so done so badly that the work now results in a fire hazard. The outstanding City of Chicago code violations regarding the porch were never repaired and as a result, the association had to levy a special assessment to pay for new back porches.

In fact the porches have been described by our porch vendor, The Porch People, as “imminently hazardous.”

As an association, there is no way that we should be dealing with these types substantial infrastructure issues three years after initial board turnover. I shudder to think about what may surface in the future.

Currently one of the only ways we a condo association can recoup any monies from our developer is through a civil lawsuit. I quite frankly don’t think that’s fair. Our association does not have the money for long term quality legal representation and what regulations there are about shoddy development have little if any criminal consequences.

In short, in the City of Chicago and in the State of Illinois an individual has more governmental oversight on the purchase and performance of his or her car than the roof over their head.

That is extremely disturbing.

Unethical real estate development can be slowed or stopped altogether if various levels of government enact legislation to either license developers or develop resources to allow interested consumers to check the accreditations or violations of developers. Moreover, sweeping changes in the law crimilizing developers who create a life threatening situation through inexperience or negligence needs to be considered.

Your prompt consideration in these matters would be gratefully appreciated.


The Woodlawn Wonder

Next on the drop off list, Congressman Bobby Rush, Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (don't you love the name) and Illinois Congresswoman Barbara Flynn Currie.

Yup, it's on and poppin'.

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