Sheriff Refusing to Carry Out Evictions

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In a month of bleak, sometimes frightening news, Tom Dart is a ray of hope. Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Il, released a statement yesterday that his office will no longer carry out evictions on rental tenants. He says that it’s time to hold the banking industry accountable for doing due diligence to notify tenants of foreclosure proceedings, and that he will not be one of those men who, throughout history, have justified doing the inhumane with the defense that they were just following orders (that’s not in the story – that was in an interview on MSNBC just a few minutes ago).

in many cases, the banks have done nothing to determine, in advance, who’s living in the building — even though it’s required by state law. Instead, those banks expect taxpayers to pay for that investigative work for them.

That stops today.

We won’t be doing the banks’ work for them anymore.

We won’t surprise tenants with an eviction order intended for their landlord.

I may be held in contempt of court over this. If that’s the case, I’m willing to accept it though I believe most judges in Cook County share my desire to find a solution for this mess.

We’re asking either the state courts or Legislature to order the banks to simply conduct very basic work before requesting an eviction.

I’ve come to this point after spending the last year trying to work with the banking industry, even asking the Legislature to pass a bill requiring them to — at a minimum — let us know if any children, disabled or senior citizens live at the home, so we can connect them with social services. That effort was killed by banking industry lobbyists.

Until the banking industry steps up and does the right thing, I won’t continue to risk violating the law and open taxpayers to further liability.

Can we nominate this man for an award? I’ve just added a whole category just for him – Human Decency. It’s the least we can ask of our elected officials.

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