• Protesters Move from Occupying Wall Street to Occupying Foreclosed Homes

    The movement known as Occupy Wall Street led to an offshoot called Occupy Our Homes on December 6, 2011. The Atlantic reported that there were 25 actions planned nationwide for that day involving plans to protest what activists said are unfair lending practices by banks. Five of those, including Chicago, involved protesters actually moving into homes.

    According to the Atlantic, in the second house takeover of the day, organizers said two formerly homeless women and a 1-year-old baby would move into a house whose owner had decided to move out months ago rather than get foreclosure help . In the ensuing months, Occupy Our Homes said on its website that the home was “vandalized, sprayed with graffiti, and stripped of its pipes, sinks, and heating units.”

    “Crackheads came in and turned it into a crackhouse,” J.R. Fleming of the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign J.R. Fleming told the Atlantic. “They stripped all the copper out of the unit, they stripped out all the aluminum.”

    The Atlantic noted that it was the only abandoned house on the block, and after proving to police that homeowner Brenda Walker had “given her blessing,” the group arranged for Ebonee Stevenson, Shirley Henderson and Stevenson’s 1-year-old cousin to move in. Fleming told the Atlantic that “about 30 to 40 approving neighbors and community organizers” looked on as the tenants moved in after a prep crew had replaced the fixtures, piping and wiring. The group received no resistance from police, Fleming told the Atlantic.

    If you do not want to wait for a group of activists to help you deal with a foreclosure, you should know that filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow you to legally stay in your home as well as reduce, restructure or eliminate your debt. What are your feelings about the Occupy Our Homes movement? Do you think this sort of activity will continue?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Bankruptcy Will Not Cost You Your Credibility

    When 46-year-old Ginger White became the latest woman to accuse former presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual impropriety, she told the New York Times in a story published on November 29, 2011, that she came forward after seeing how the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza had treated his previous accusers. “It bothered me that they were being demonized,” White told the Times. “I felt bad for them.”

    White is claiming to have had a secret affair with Cain for 13 years while previous accusers levied charges of sexual harassment. However, the most disturbing aspect to the Cain campaign’s handling of the accusations has been the manner in which it has been implied that each woman’s troubled financial history somehow equates to every one of them not being credible.

    Both White and Sharon Bialek, Cain’s first public accuser, have bankruptcies and eviction notices in their past. However, the website Jezebel noted that it is “important to consider the oft-overlooked possibility” that perhaps accused men like Cain are drawn to victims or partners “expressly  because they’re in positions of vulnerability and because no one would believe their word over the word of a wealthy, successful businessman.” A “troubled” accuser, as Cain often referred to them, might be less likely to tell. “Powerless people, even when armed with powerful information, are still powerless,” Jezebel said. “Or so the powerful and busted think.”

    The truth of the matter is that American history is filled with numerous companies and celebrities who have experienced financial distress and were forced to turn to bankruptcy before turning their lives around. For many average Americans currently struggling to find credit card or foreclosure help , the way that bankruptcy has been used against Cain’s accusers could reinforce an unfounded belief that filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 will haunt you forever. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

    In an effort to help bolster the fact that there are more success stories than failures, tomorrow we will begin going over some of the notable names that have their own experience with bankruptcy.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer