• Nobody’s Safe from Foreclosure

    Just days after Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels brand announced it would be working with the John Buck Co. to convert the 27-story Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash into a 250-room hotel, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on October 26, 2011, that the chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based firm is now facing foreclosure on a personal investment. Developer John Buck was sued on October 7, the day after a loan on an Oak Brook office building matured with a balance of $27.6 million. As Crain’s said, the news shows “that not even Chicago’s savviest real estate practitioners can avoid trouble in the current market.”

    Calling the lawsuit a “rare blemish” for Buck, Crain’s also noted that “foreclosure suits don’t carry much shame in the current market, where many reputable borrowers voluntarily default because their properties are worth so much less than their debt, wiping out their investment.” The Oak Brook building is 91 percent leased, but Crain’s noted that 85 percent of the leases are scheduled to expire by 2013 and cable provider Comcast, which occupies roughly 70 percent of the building, has a lease that expires in April and renewal terms would require “significant rent concessions.”

    Crain’s said it is unclear if Buck will challenge the foreclosure suit, “but many borrowers in his situation see no point in bothering.” While many homeowners might enjoy the thought of simply cutting their losses and walking away from a property that has been hit hard by the housing market, the truth is that a majority still want some sort of foreclosure help that will help keep them and their families in their homes. You should know that whatever unfortunate twist of fate might have contributed to your financial troubles, filing a bankruptcy means test can be the first step in determining the best type of bankruptcy for your situation. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can answer all of your questions and help you work with your debtors to improve your situation. A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow you to consolidate, eliminate or reorganize your debt, and our firm can help when you contact our office to set up a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • With Inventory Down, Will Housing Market Ever Look Up?

    The number of sales of existing homes and condos climbed in Chicago’s nine-county area for September while prices fell, but the supply of available homes slipped for the second consecutive month, the Chicago Tribune reported on October 21, 2011. Local multiple listing service provider Midwest Real Estate Data LLC said that inventory in the Chicago area dropped almost 50 percent from a year ago, to 8.9 months, meaning it would take almost 9 months to sell the number of properties that were on the market in September. “Even though we say there’s less inventory, there’s still a lot of inventory, and we don’t know when that other shoe will drop with an influx of foreclosures,” Loretta Alonzo, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors, told the Tribune.

    The dip in inventory was the lowest it has been in the past 24 months except for April 2010, but the Tribune noted that the expectation is that it might be temporary. While the number of homes entering foreclosure was slowed by state and federal investigations of lenders’ foreclosure processes, a report by data aggregator RealtyTrac indicated that the number of homes that entered the foreclosure process nationally rose 14 percent in the third quarter. Furthermore, the Tribune said many of those homes will become bank-owned foreclosures and relisted for sale.

    Has the housing market downturn left you and your family scrambling for foreclosure help ? Now could be the time for you to consider filing a bankruptcy means test to determine a better way to manage your debt. Whether you were suddenly hit with a mountain of medical bills or have been unable to find employment after being laid off, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can assist you in understanding all of your legal options. Contact our firm today to set up a consultation that will allow you to see how a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy could provide you with the fresh start you have been seeking.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Unemployment Tax Hikes Hurt The Employers

    More than 30 states have had to borrow billions from a federal fund to cover unemployment benefits and higher state unemployment tax bills are forcing employers around the nation to shell out more than $1 billion in interest payments this month, CNN reported on September 29, 2011. Companies in 24 states may have to start paying between $21 and $63 more per employee in federal unemployment taxes in January. Doug Holmes, president of the business trade association UWC Strategic Services on Unemployment & Workers’ Compensation, told CNN that employers paid 27.8 percent more in state jobless taxes last year. “Unemployment taxes, which were a relatively low bottom-line cost in 2008, are now becoming a significant cost,” Holmes said. “It discourages companies from electing to hire new employees.”

    This is the first time during this economic downturn that states have had to pay interest on their federal borrowing, which CNN said currently totals nearly $38 billion. The 2009 stimulus act waived interest payments for two years, giving both cash-strapped states and their employers some breathing room.

    Has the job market caused you and your family stress? Are you seeking foreclosure help ? Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers understand the toll that this economy has taken on everyone. If you have been struggling to find a job and pay your bills, then perhaps now is the best time for you to complete a bankruptcy means test . Either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will help reduce or eliminate your debt much quicker than opting to do nothing. Tell us how the job market has affected you or your family. Are you still struggling to find work or collecting unemployment?

  • State Sues Mortgage Rescue Companies For Not Rescuing

    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed lawsuits against four Chicago area companies and attorneys alleging that they illegally charged consumers for fraudulent mortgage rescue or loan modification services that were little if any help to those seeking foreclosure help , the Chicago Sun-Times reported on September 28, 2011. Companies named as defendants in the lawsuits filed in Cook County Circuit Court included ZeTrust Legal Services in Chicago, Legal Modification Network LLC in Woodridge, Loan Litigators International LLC, now out of business after being based in Lombard, and Exelpol Management & Consulting Inc., a dissolved corporation that operated out of Schaumburg.

    The Sun-Times also reported that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office filed a similar lawsuit against an Arlington Heights-based loan modification and debt settlement company, Legal Housing and Debt Advisor LLC. “The new twist on this scam is that these predators are really using lawyers as a front so that they can conceivably get around the law and collect the upfront money,” Madigan said, according to WBEZ-FM. She noted that in reality the attorneys performed no legal services for the homeowners.

    Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys will make any bank trying to foreclose on your home prove that they have the right to do so. If we are unable to get the bank to accept a proposal for a loan modification program, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can always help you stay in your home by assisting in filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Were you a victim of a mortgage rescue or loan modification scam? Are there other businesses or institutions you believe should be facing lawsuits?