Home Agency Director Took Interest-Free Loans Despite State Law

Kenneth Pannaralla not only takes home $213,418 a year from a city pension and three government jobs, but the former captain for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan also got two interest-free home-improvement loans worth a total of $15,000 through the Southwest Home Equity Assurance Program he has been executive director for since 2004. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on October 17, 2011, that Pannaralla and his daughter also currently have another zero-interest home-improvement loan through the agency for $10,000, although the Illinois Home Equity Assurance Act supposedly bans such benefits.

The law states: "No commissioner or family member of a commissioner, or employee or family member of an employee, may receive any financial benefit, either directly or indirectly" from the program. The Sun-Times also reported that the Southwest Home Equity Assurance Program was one of three small government agencies established by referendum in Chicago as a result of a state law passed in 1988 to curb white flight in Chicago's bungalow belt. After paying $125 for the appraisal to enroll in the program, homeowners are guaranteed they will not lose money when they sell their home even if property values decline.

While the Sun-Times reported the program has paid some homeowners as much as $155,000 when their homes sold far below appraisals typically performed several years before, the program began paying 59 percent of the difference between the sale price of a home and its guaranteed appraised value, rather than 100 percent. The program uses money it collects in property taxes from the Southwest Side district it covers to pay all of the interest on loans up to $10,000.

Do you wish that you had the opportunity to enroll in something like the Southwest program? Or do you just wish you could have been connected like the other aldermen and government employees who received interest-free loans? As unfair as it all might seem, you should know that however bad your own current situation might be, there is a way out. Whether you have accumulated too much credit card debt or are simply in need of some type of foreclosure help, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help outline the benefits of a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A bankruptcy means test can be the first step to help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure. If you are tired of feeling like there is no answer to your financial problems, contact our firm today to speak with a legal professional who understands your situation and can help you achieve an affordable bankruptcy now.

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