• 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

  • Foreclosure Holds Housing Market Hostage

    After five consecutive months of increases, home prices in Chicago and across the nation fell in September from August, according to a Medill Reports story published on November 29, 2011. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas up 0.1 percent from the quarter before, although Medill noted that home prices were down 3.9 percent from a year ago. A backlog of foreclosed properties and sustained high unemployment rates are partly to blame for home prices that Medill said are now “comparable to where they were almost nine years ago in the first quarter of 2003.”

    “We’re bouncing along the bottom,” Gerd-Ulf Krueger, economist and founder of HousingEcon.com Inc., told Medill. “Consumers don’t see a reason to expect price increases.”

    While Medill noted that “repercussions from the housing collapse include more people choosing to rent than buy,” the number of homeowners needing foreclosure help is also having an effect on the housing market. RealtyTrac reported that new foreclosures were up 7.36 percent in October to 230,678, but the number of foreclosed homes sold fell 25 percent to 75,243.

    “The whole system is a self-contradictory mess,” Krueger told Medill. “The government and [lending] organizations are still fighting the war that they should have fought five years ago, which is to make it tougher to get financing.”

    With the housing market not expected to stabilize until after 2012 and lenders making it difficult to take advantage of record-low interest rates, there will be many more homeowners considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the coming year. What more do you think can be done to help home prices in 2012?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney