• 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.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Two Different Foreclosure Plans Get Two Different Reactions

    Two South Loop aldermen introduced legislation to address the growing problem of vacant foreclosed properties, although the advocacy group Action Now supports one while being skeptical of the other. The Chicago Journal reported on October 12, 2011, that while Action Now said the revised version of vacant building legislation from Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) “might not be worth doing,” the group does “unequivocally support” an ordinance from Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward).

    According to the Journal, Dowell’s “new ordinance overly restricts the definition of what properties are considered vacant,” Action Now says. The original version of Dowell’s measure sought to make mortgage servicers holding a property after foreclosure secure and maintain that building unanimously passed the City Council on July 28. Action Now, however, contends that when the banks persuaded Dowell and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to revise the legislation, the advocacy group was not part of the negotiations. The updated legislation, they say, expands the definition of what properties are not vacant.

    Fioretti’s “more modest ordinance,” co-sponsored by Deborah Graham (29th), would make mortgage servicers or whoever else legally holds a vacant property deploy watchmen at abandoned buildings that are within 1,000 feet of schools, according to the Journal. The bank or institution owning the vacant property would pay for the watchmen, Fioretti told the Journal. The alderman also proposed a different ordinance that would set up credit unions in tax increment financing districts, to pool unused TIF money toward the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.

    All over Chicago, there are a countless number of families seeking foreclosure help . Did you know that filing a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help keep you in your home and immediately end creditor harassment? Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you understand all of your legal options in dealing with your debt. Even if you have never heard of a bankruptcy means test , contact our office today to take the first step toward becoming debt free and credit rich.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys