Proposed Bill Would Eliminate Property Tax Increases

State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) introduced a bill that would eliminate property tax hikes in any year in which the gross property value of property in a taxing district decreases, Crain’s Chicago Business reported on September 13, 2011. The proposed bill does allow for an exception if voters approve a hike by referendum. Under current law, taxes are allowed to increase by the rate of consumer inflation or 5 percent, whichever is lower.

Franks has several co-sponsors for the bill, including many Republicans. “Home values have plummeted in recent years, but the tax burden on those properties continues to rise,” Franks told Crain’s. “It is unconscionable that property taxes have increased as more and more homeowners are under water with their mortgages.”

It remains to be seen if Frank’s bill will gather enough support to pass, but even then, property tax relief may not be enough for Chicago-area homeowners needing foreclosure help now. Illinois residents struggling through hard times should know they could get deserved relief today with an affordable bankruptcy now. Our experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure by providing you with all the Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you will need to reach an effective debt settlement and end creditor harassment. Before you get started on a bankruptcy means test by yourself, contact our Chicago office today to schedule a free initial consultation and get the help you need to get out from under debt.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

Lofty Evanston Mansion Falls in Cook County Sheriff’s Sale

A controversial mansion in Southeast Evanston is scheduled for auction in August 2011. It once had a price tag of $9 million before heading into foreclosure.

The auction of the 11,000-square-foot mansion is the latest chapter in a saga that upset the exclusive one-block enclave of Edgemere Court. The tony block includes the 1927 mansion of Col. Henry Crown.

The home, built in 2008 by developer Christopher Nesbitt, has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, an outdoor pool and lakefront access. The last asking price on the property before foreclosure was $7.9 million.

The home, and lot two doors south that was cleared by Nesbitt for another mansion, has been a sore spot for some neighbors. Nesbitt removed an existing sidewalk at the 925 Edgemere property, and removed the sidewalk on the lot at 917 Edgemere. Two other homeowners of adjacent properties removed their sidewalks as well. The removal prompted a group of neighbors to file lawsuits against the four offending properties.

A resident of the street said the disagreements over the sidewalks – and the empty home and vacant lot – have rankled a neighborhood that’s functioned harmoniously for a century.

The sheriff’s sale of 925 Edgemere comes because of a foreclosure lawsuit filed in December 2009 by the property’s lender, United Central Bank.

Foreclosures can happen to anyone, regardless of life station, and the circumstances don’t really matter – what does matter is getting away from the debt before it becomes a major issue. Legal options can be employed to stop the problem and allow you to move on with life.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Troubled Block 37 on Market After Foreclosure Fight

The new Block 37 mall on State Street is officially going up for sale after a long and hard-fought foreclosure battle.

The bank group that now owns the shopping center has hired Eastdil Secured LLC to market the mall. The 280,000 square-foot mall opened in November 2009, a few weeks after the lender group sued to foreclose on the project. Bank of America leads the lender group.

Bank of America gained control after bidding $100 million at a sheriff’s foreclosure sale in March. The bid amount is less than half of the loan’s $206 million balance. No other bids were made for the mall.

The $100 million offer is known as a credit bit. Lenders take back properties in an attempt to satisfy the amount they are owed. These bids can sometimes indicate what lenders think a property is valued at.

Daniel Hyman, president of Millennium Properties R/E Inc., feels the mall should draw strong interest from investors. “There’s obviously going to be interest,” Mr Hyman says. “There are more people downtown with dogs than briefcases. There are people there that would shop.”

A spokeswoman for Bank of America confirms the hiring of Eastdil. The brokerage had been hired by the lender group to market the mortgage late in the foreclosure proceedings.

Benjamin Law Firm – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Owner of Wrigley Field Rooftop Building Suffers Losing Streak

The curse of the Loveable Losers is affecting The Lakeview Baseball Club, a three-story building that overlooks the right field at Wrigley. The building is heading to a sheriff’s auction after foreclosure.

A Cook County judge issued a foreclosure judgment against the owners. A public sale for the building at 3633 N. Sheffield Ave. is scheduled for August 17.

The owner of the building owes its bank $3 million on a senior and junior mortgage. Three other creditors are owed $715,334 according to the foreclosure judgment entered on July 8, 2011. The owner of the building is a venture of father-and-sons Robert, Anthony and R. Michael Racky.

The bank holding the loan, First Personal Bank, originally filed its foreclosure suit in February 2010. The bank alleged the Racky venture stopped paying the monthly payments of $27,753 in December 2009. First Personal provided the $2.8 million senior loan in March 2006, and the $350,000 junior loan in April 2007.

Anthony Racky, a managing director of the club, says the venture is trying to sell the building before the sheriff’s sale. A potential deal is in the works, although he has not identified a prospective buyer.

Martin Oberman, the attorney representing the Rackys says the building’s worth is greater than the debt due to the bank.

According to a Chicago Tribune article, in May 2010, the rooftop netted just $34,365. The monthly mortgage payment for that month was $31,865.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Fannie Mae Moves to Foreclose on Apartment Building in Chicago Ridge

Fannie Mae has filed a $6.1 million foreclosure suit against an 84-unit apartment building located in Chicago Ridge.

The owners of Ridgeland Court failed to keep up with their end of the bargain. The complaint filed by Fannie Mae lists failure to make a monthly payment in May, didn’t purchase the required insurance for the building, and did not pay outstanding bills on the property within a specified 30-day period.

Rental growth has risen in suburban buildings such as the 65,400 square foot Ridgeland, according to a recent report by Appraisal Research Counselors. The apartment market in the suburbs is strong due to the weak job market causing young people to rent instead of purchase a home.

Ridgeland Court Apartments are fully leased according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc.

The owner of the apartment building is a trust managed by SKS Properties Southwest Region Inc., according to the lawsuit.

SKS is also in default because it transferred ownership interest in the property to another entity, SKS Properties SE LLC. This transfer violated the mortgage agreement according to Fannie Mae’s complaint.

Fannie Mae seeks to collect the original amount of the 2007 loan. The original amount is $5.4 million, and does not include accrued interest, fees, and other costs.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Singer of “I Believe I Can Fly” Brought Down by Foreclosure

Award-winning R&B artist R. Kelly is facing a $2.9 million foreclosure suit on his mansion in Olympia Fields.

The music artist has not made a payment on his mortgage since June 2010 according to a complaint filed by J.P. Morgan Chase Bank N.A. in Cook County Circuit Court. The bank filed the lawsuit in June 2011.

The mansion is a two-story house on a 3.7-acre site. Included in the home are six full bathrooms, seven half-baths and a four garage, as listed by the Cook County Assessor’s website.

Mr. Kelly constructed the 11,140-square-foot home in 2000, but has not lived there for over a year according to an individual familiar with his movements. The source said that payments were stopped in an attempt to force the bank to negotiate a modification of the loan.

At issue is the current appraisal amount on the home. The mansion appraised for $5.2 million in 2009, but fell 26% to $3.8 million in 2010. The home is now worth less than the debt, according to the source.

The current principal amount due is over $2.9 million. Not included in the debt is unpaid interest, which is accruing at the rate of $251 a day, and various related charges from the bank.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Data Center Can’t Stop Foreclosure Virus on Building

A data center southwest of downtown Chicago is undergoing the foreclosure process after missing mortgage payments since February 2011.

Cole Taylor Bank says the owners of the 107,000-square-foot data center at 601 W. Polk stopped making debt-service payments in February and is behind on property taxes according to a suit the bank filed in May. To date, no foreclosure help has been sought by the owners.

The property is owned by ventures of Richard Beston and John Branch, principals of investment banking firm Rainmaker Financial Group Inc. In 2006, they purchased the center for $9 million with an affiliated private-equity company, Ten X Capital Partners. They financed part of the purchase with a $5.4 million loan from Cole Taylor according to property records.

The property at 601 W. Polk, also known as Chicago Media Center, is 60% leased and generates enough cash flow to service its debt. However, the property could use some renovations according to Christopher Jensen, a principal with Chicago-based Digital Capital Partners LLC.

Cole Taylor’s lawsuit states the property’s 2006 loan was modified six times between January 2007 and November 2010. Another $1.5 million was added to the loan which puts the total balance due to $6.25 million.

The suit seeks to collect on a guarantee given by RM Advisors, a venture managed by Beston and Branch. Ten X Capital Partners III LLC is also a defendant.

Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure attorney

Foreclosures Represent 29 Percent of Home Sales in the First Quarter

Almost 30 percent of all homes sold in Illinois during the first quarter were foreclosures. This number is down considerably from the first quarter of 2010.

The 5,529 homes were sold as foreclosures during the first three months of the year, ending in March. This number is down 38 percent from the previous year and down 6 percent from the last quarter of 2010. Illinois is still one of the states with the best deals for buyers.

The average price of a foreclosed home for the first quarter is $132,983, a nearly 41 percent discount from the sales prices of non-foreclosed homes. Bank owned or repossessed properties sold for 48 percent off the sales price of non-distressed homes. Homes that are in default but not yet repossessed by lenders averaged 19 percent off the average non-foreclosure price. Short sales are not included in the data.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued its quarterly house price index on May 25, 2011. The data shows how foreclosure sales are dragging down overall home values. According to FHFA, Chicago are home prices are down 5 percent as compared to the final quarter of 2010, 9.5 percent from the period one year ago, and 26 percent from five years ago.

If you are in need of foreclosure help, contact a Chicago foreclosure lawyer for more information.

Illinois Attorney General Expands Probe of Foreclosure “Robosigners”

The Illinois Attorney General’s office is expanding its probe of alleged “robosigning” of mortgage foreclosure documents. On May 25, 2011, the office announced subpoenas to two Florida-based mortgage servicing support providers that had not previously been under investigation.

Subpoenas were issued against Lender Processing Services Inc. and Nationwide Title Clearing Inc. Both firms handle document preparation and management for lenders who are foreclosing on mortgages. Some of the documents requested by the subpoena are every affidavit used in an Illinois foreclosure or bankruptcy case since January 1, 2007. Also requested are the names of all employees who signed affidavits since then. The Attorney General is seeking lists of all current and former employees and information on the companies’ overall loan servicing processes including default servicing and loss mitigation.

Both companies have until June 16 to respond to the subpoena.

The probe is investigating foreclosures only. Short sales are not involved in the “robosigning” scandal.

Illinois is one of many states that have been investigating questionable procedures used to foreclose on consumer’s homes by mortgage loan servicers. The Attorney General’s office had demanded information from 26 mortgage loan servicers in the state, but Madigan’s office stated that it was “turning our attention to third-party vendors that support the servicers in order to drill down to a greater degree in the servicing process.”

If you are seeking foreclosure help, contact a Chicago foreclosure lawyer. You can learn about the options that are available for your situation through a foreclosure attorney.

Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel is Facing Foreclosure

The owner of the infamous Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood is facing foreclosure, adding to already existing legal problems.  The lender, First Midwest Bank, has filed a $4.2 million foreclosure suit.

Donald Bae, the owner of the hotel, has lost a legal dispute with the village of Lincolnwood. The village won a court order to demolish the building at 4500 W. Touhy Ave if Bae does not bring it into code compliance by August 1.

Bae has been courting buyers for the hotel for years, but no one has expressed interest. There is no mention of a short sale . In the meantime, there has been no obvious attempt to remedy the violations. The village has created a TIF district on the site to encourage redevelopment of the property and surrounding parcels. ForeFront Properties, who is owned by Bae, sought $25.8 million from the TIF for his own redevelopment plans.

Two adjoining properties owned by Bae’s corporate entity are not involved in the foreclosure. A buyer of the hotel is likely to purchase the adjacent properties to create one parcel for development.

The hotel opened as a Hyatt in 1960, reaching the height of popularity in the 1970s. Performers Roberta Flack and Barry Manilow stayed there when coming through town for an engagement. Later the hotel played a part in the corruption trial of Antonin Rezko.

If you are seeking foreclosure help , contact a Chicago foreclosure lawyer. There are ways to save your home with assistance from a foreclosure attorney.

 

Lincolnwood’s Purple Hotel is Facing Foreclosure

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