WBEZ | Bank of America http://www.wbez.org/tags/bank-america Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Activists say fatal fire could have been averted http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-26/P1000957.JPG_.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last Monday, I visited 2414 N. Marmora with people concerned about vacant buildings. The yard was piled with garbage and it reeked of urine.</p><p>Vanessa Valentin of the Northwest Side Housing Center discovered squatters had pried the boards off the door.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-26/garbage on Marmora smaller.jpg" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: right; width: 280px; height: 499px;" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)">"It’s easy," Valentin said. "They take it off and they have access to come in and out."<br> Valentin says she called the city’s 311 hotline that day – her third call since last summer complaining that the house was unsafe.</p><div><p>Four days later, it went up in flames.</p><div><p>"You know, my first reaction was I cried because two people lost their lives, two firemen got hurt," Valentin said. "It's very frustrating. This could have been prevented if they would have gone out on Monday when reported and secured it."<br> <br> Chicago Department of Buildings spokeswoman Caroline Weisser says the city twice boarded up the building, most recently last May, and was working on getting it demolished.</p><p>"The Department of Buildings works aggressively to use the tools at its disposal to ensure vacant properties are maintained and secured," Weisser said in a statement.</p><p>LaSalle Bank, now Bank of America, filed foreclosure in 2007, but Bank of America says JP Morgan Chase is the one in charge.</p><p>(UPDATE on 3/29/12): A Chase spokeswoman provided documents from the foreclosure auction in 2008 showing that Joseph Varan purchased the house for $180,000. But the web site of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no record of Varan holding the deed to the property, nor of an auction having been completed.</p><p>“The City is undertaking an investigation into the ownership because the title on file with the Recorder of Deeds has been drawn into question," Weisser of the Department of Buildings said in a statement.</p><p>Varan couldn't be reached for comment on why the property had not been maintained and why he hadn't filed the deed with the county.</p></div></div></p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 Workers in factory occupation claim victory http://www.wbez.org/story/workers-factory-occupation-claim-victory-96696 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-24/Serious_0 - wbez chip mitchell.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-24/Serious_0 - wbez chip mitchell.jpg" style="width: 612px; height: 407px;" title="Juan Cortez, right, says he and other employees want to buy the factory. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>About 60 employees of a Chicago window factory are claiming victory after an 11-hour occupation of the plant.</p><p>Their union, the United Electrical Workers, says it reached a deal Friday morning with the plant’s owner, California-based Serious Energy, Inc.</p><p>The deal, according to the union, requires the company to suspend plans to close the factory immediately. Instead the company will keep the plant open another 90 days.</p><p>The employees hope the extra time will enable them to find a buyer or purchase the factory themselves.</p><p>“We can run this company,” said Juan Cortez, who has worked more than 23 years in the factory. “We got smart people [to] manage the money. We can find customers. We know how to run the company.”</p><p>Employees at the plant captured national attention in 2008 by occupying the factory for six days. Back then, the owner was a company called Republic Windows and Doors.</p><p>That occupation pushed Bank of America, a Republic lender, to reach a nearly $1.75 million settlement with the workers.</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 09:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/workers-factory-occupation-claim-victory-96696 Lisa Madigan praises settlement with Bank of America over Countrywide's alleged discriminatory loans http://www.wbez.org/story/lisa-madigan-praises-settlement-bank-america-over-countrywides-alleged-discriminatory-loans-95 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-21/RS2898_AP090406014697-Lisa-Madigan-J.-Scott-Applewhite.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is welcoming a $335 million settlement with Bank of America to resolve allegations of discriminatory loans.</p><p>Madigan's office filed suit against Bank of America subsidiary Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2010. The settlement, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, stemmed from that lawsuit.</p><p>Madigan says Countrywide consistently sold African-American and Hispanic borrowers riskier loans at a higher cost than it sold to white borrowers with similar credit.</p><p>Madigan says the settlement upholds American principles of justice and fairness. She says people's access to credit, and the terms of their credit, should be determined on an equal basis, not on the basis of the color of their skin.</p><p>The settlement is subject to court approval. Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America in 2008.</p></p> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 21:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/lisa-madigan-praises-settlement-bank-america-over-countrywides-alleged-discriminatory-loans-95 'Occupy Our Homes' targets vacant houses http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-our-homes-targets-vacant-houses-94657 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-06/P1040080.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In Chicago and elsewhere in the country Tuesday, activists have been moving homeless families into empty, foreclosed homes.</p><p>In the West Side neighborhood of Belmont-Cragin, Sabrina Morey took the megaphone and welcomed a group of about 20 protesters. Then she led the group on a march to the house she illegally moved her family into last month. Now, she and her boyfriend and four kids, along with her sister and her sister's three kids, are living in the brick bungalow.</p><p>As they marched, they chanted, "Fight, fight, fight, housing is a human right." People carried signs saying, "It's about real people versus really rich people" and "Why do they only call it class warfare when we fight back?"</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-06/occupy protest smaller.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)" width="600" height="400"><br> <br> Morey says she's been homeless off and on for the past 12 years. The only jobs she’s been able to cobble together are at McDonald’s and other fast food places, and none has been permanent.</p><p>She says she can’t afford to rent an apartment and doesn’t qualify for public rental assistance because of a felony drug conviction on her record.</p><p>"It's either pay your rent or you eat, and I don't know which one is more important because we need housing and we need food," Morey said. So when a group of activists called Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction suggested she move into a vacant, foreclosed home, she says it made a lot of sense.</p><p>"They’re sitting there, they’re vacant, it brings high crime volume to the neighborhood, things happen and there’s all these homeless people," Morey said. "Instead of throwing people out of their homes, they should be putting people into them."</p><p>Morey says she didn't have to break into the house - the door was open. She says she's gotten electricity and gas turned on in her name and plans to get the water turned on as well. She says the home was in good shape, although people had previously broken in and stolen the sinks and the copper, but she and others have been working to fix it up.</p><p>Property records show Bank of America has filed a foreclosure action but not taken possession. Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens confirmed the bank does not have possession of the property.</p></p> Tue, 06 Dec 2011 21:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/occupy-our-homes-targets-vacant-houses-94657 Aldermen want to decriminalize pot - media rushes to find stock photos http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-28/aldermen-want-decriminalize-pot-media-rushes-find-stock-photos-93566 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-28/AP11092709295.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hmmm, should I go with the <span class="st">silhouette</span> smoking a joint stock photo?</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/AP11092709295.jpg" title="" width="512" height="468"></p><p>Or just go with the generic marijuana plant?</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/AP080528038872.jpg" title="AP/File " width="443" height="512"></p><p>Or heck, I'll just show a couple hippies at Woodstock:&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/Woodstock_redmond_hair.JPG" style="width: 490px; height: 336px;" title=""></p><p>The City Council is<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/lawmakers-propose-decriminalization-some-marijuana-possession-93554"> going to vote on decriminalizing pot</a>. Not in the "hey, smoke em if you got em" decriminalization, but more of a here's an orange ticket for your weed posession instead of a weekend trip to County. The aldermen are pushing this through, although the mayor and police chief are a bit mum (they are open to it, but need to see how it would work). It's like an episode of <em>The Wire</em>, but in Chicago over dime bags. The best part of this story was the trip down memory lane. The<em> Sun-Times</em> went back into the archives to get then-Mayor Daley's take on decriminalizing pot:</p><blockquote><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">Former Mayor Richard M. Daley embraced the idea of issuing tickets for minor pot violations in 2004, only to ridicule the County Board five years later for voting to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.</p><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">“People say you cannot smoke. ... They said, ‘Please don’t smoke.’ Now, everybody’s saying, ‘Let’s all smoke marijuana.’ After a while, you wonder where America is going,” Daley said at the time.</p><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">“Pretty soon, the headline [will be], ‘Let’s bring cigarettes back. It makes people feel calmer, quieter, relaxing.’ ... We said you cannot smoke cigarettes. Cigarette-smoking is bad for you. Now all the sudden, marijuana smoking is good for you. Can we take Lucky Strikes, mix ‘em together and say, ‘Smoking is coming back in the United States?’ ”</p></blockquote><p><strong>B story</strong>: Interesting, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-jpmorgan-wont-charge-debit-card-fee-as-big-banks-back-away-from-idea-20111028,0,126537.story">JPMorgan will NOT charge for debit cards in the future</a>. This on the heels of Bank of America's announcement that they WILL charge $5 a month for debit card use.&nbsp; Man, it makes you wish for the glory days of Corus bank. Or at least LaSalle. I want my bank to be named after my city. That's all I ask. And for a British female voice to greet me at the ATM.</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: Today is the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-10-28/october-28-1893-murder-chicago-mayor-carter-harrison-93519">anniversary of the assassination of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison</a>. See, this is when politicians needed police details. The dude who killed Harrison just knocked on his door and went back to his study and shot him.</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: What is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gospel-fest-return-and-move-south-side-93552">happening at the Department of Cultural Affairs</a>? Gospel Fest is back, but not in Grant Park. Then there is talk about the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture getting put back into Cultural Affairs and Special Events, after Daley split it all up. Let me get this straight: Daley takes the Cultural Affairs department and the Mayor's Office of Special Events and merges them. Then he takes most of the department's programming away and gives it to a new office (Tourism). Lois Weisberg quits and sounds off in the press. The new boss (Weisberg's deputy) orders an audit of the situation and decides to undo most of it and restructure the office. So, does everyone get their job back? It's like a shell game on the train, folks.</p><p><strong>E story</strong>: If you missed it yesterday, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-27/top-10-worst-tickets-get-chicago-93546">I gave you the worst ways to get a ticket in Chicago</a>. If you discover a dead body and fail to report it? $200 fine.</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: This is about right for Halloween, right? Is it going to rain on Monday? Don't rain on Monday.</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: This will be the first time a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/10/28/141787523/cards-win-on-11th-inning-freese-clout-force-game-7">World Series has gone to Game 7 since 2002</a>. That was the year that the Angels won over Dusty Baker's Giants. And it was that off-season that the Cubs stole him away. Could that happen with LaRussa? Or perhaps Pujols? Whatever happens this off-season, tonight is must watch baseball. What a great season.</p><p>Also, don't look now - but the <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/blackhawks/post/_/id/4668124/kane-sharp-battle-for-bragging-rights">Chicago Blackhawks have put together a blazing start</a>. Could it be that playing into April (not June) helps a team the next year? Perhaps.</p><p>And here come the<a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/story/_/id/7157852/did-chicago-bears-safety-chris-harris-talk-way-chicago"> columns about the Bears management after the sudden release of safety Chris Harris</a>. Best quote was from D.J. Moore, who was sort of asked if he was worried about talking too much (since that's what Harris was rumored to have done):</p><blockquote><p>"I don't worry about nothing but my girlfriend, make sure she isn't cheating on me," he said. "Other than that, I'm good. That's the only thing that would dent my ego."</p></blockquote><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: Greta Johnsen is our new weekend anchor at WBEZ. She will be starting this week. So when you listen to your weekly dose of <em>Car Talk</em> and <em>Wait! Wait!</em>, turn it up! There's a new voice joining you for breakfast! Greta comes from Alaska, which seems to be the best state in the union for public radio employees (Gabe Spitzer and Ashley Gross are from there). Can't wait to listen Greta! Here's her photo. I give this to you because I always hear from you that it is weird to find out what somebody looks like after you've listened to them. So here's what she looks like BEFORE you listen to her.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-28/greta.jpg" style="width: 397px; height: 310px;" title=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-28/aldermen-want-decriminalize-pot-media-rushes-find-stock-photos-93566 Chicago marathon - bonanza or blip? http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-chicago-marathon-bonanza-or-blip-92617 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/Gel dietary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Here in Chicago, the local economy gets a boost next weekend, when tens of thousands of runners lace up for the 34th annual Chicago Marathon. Bank of America, the marathon sponsor, says the race means about $171 million for the local economy.<br> <br> That got us thinking:&nbsp; What does the number really mean? &nbsp;<br> <br> Let's start with the Bank of America media packet. Lots of numbers: 45,000 runners, more than a million observers along some 26 miles of Chicago streets through 29 neighborhoods. $171 million of marathon money – and its ripple effect - gushing into cash registers and tax rolls and workers’ pockets last year, they say.<br> <br> But do runners and their families really spend that much? Well, some people do their part.<br> <br> Outside Fleet Feet in Lincoln Park there’s a steady flow of runners – and cash. Anna Clement is 24, running the marathon for the first time. She says she'll probably spend $500 total.</p><p>I’m guessing Anna’s on the high end.<br> <br> "I usually buy shoes," Clement said. "And Goos, which you need for the extra energy. And expensive clothing."<br> <br> So is the marathon an excuse to buy expensive clothing? Not an excuse, Clement says. "But you do feel like you deserve it."<br> <br> So Anna's kicking in her $500 or $600, but how do you get to $171 million?<br> <br> As they say on that Marketplace show... let’s do the numbers.<br> <br> Of the 45,000 runners, projections are that about seven thousand will be from other countries.&nbsp; 19,000 from other states. So you figure 26,000 will need hotel rooms.<br> <br> Some locals will want them, too, so let’s put 30,000 folks up for the night, at $200 a hotel room. That’s $6 million. Good to know if 30,000 of your friends ever come to town on the same night.<br> <br> If they stay a second night, that’s $12 million.<br> <br> And what if all 45,000 runners drop three hundred bucks on shoes and Goo? Another $13.5 million. &nbsp;<br> <br> And they have to eat.<br> <br> The city’s web site says there are 7,300 licensed restaurants in Chicago, so let’s give every one of them $2,000 in increased sales. Another $14.5 million.<br> <br> It’s adding up, but I’m still getting only around $40 million. &nbsp;<br> <br> The sponsors say there’s about $70 million in so-called direct spending – the meals and sweatpants - and that generates a separate $100 million benefit – they call it a trail of economic activity - or $171 million.<br> <br> So what gives? Before Mayor Emanuel starts counting all the new cops he can afford, what’s the real “economic impact” of this huge event?</p><p>It takes one of those University of Chicago profs to inject a dose of reality. Enter Allen Sanderson, pictured below, who studies and teaches the economics of sports.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-30/sanderson.jpg" style="width: 230px; height: 230px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="U of C Professor Allen Sanderson (University of Chicago)">He says, the real economic impact is more like $25 million, maximum.<br> <br> "My usual thing when I see one of these economic impact studies, whether it’s of the Chicago marathon or the Chicago Olympic bid, is to take whatever number they give me and move the decimal point one to the left," Sanderson said. "If they say it’s a hundred million, I think it’s ten million."<br> <br> Now don’t get the wrong idea. Sanderson’s not knocking the marathon. He himself has run three of them. He once analyzed the marathon’s economic impact report for a previous sponsor, LaSalle Bank. And he thinks the event is great for Chicago.&nbsp; But he says economic impact statements almost never take into account what he calls leakage.<br> <br> He gives an example of a souvenir marathon cap.<br> <br> "Maybe the cap sells for $20. That gets put into these silly economic impact models as a $20 direct expenditure when in fact the cap was probably made in China," Sanderson said.<br> <br> So the economic impact here is pretty much just the markup – maybe a couple of bucks.<br> <br> "Even if somebody stays in a hotel room and they pay $200 a night, it looks as if there’s $200 added to the city’s economy," Sanderson said. "Well, it depends what happens to the $200. If it’s a Sheraton hotel their headquarters are someplace else. Some of it stays in the local Chicago economy, but a lot of it leaks out."<br> <br> Another thing that isn’t taken into account in these studies is the cancellation effect. A good example of that, he says, is a Bears game.<br> <br> He says that Virtually everybody who goes to a Bears game is from Chicago, so it’s money that they’re spending inside Soldier Field that they’re not spending somewhere else in the Chicago area at a mall, at a restaurant, so it’s just a swap.<br> <br> "As I’ve often said, this may affect where people drink beer but not how much beer they drink," Sanderson said.<br> <br> So you can’t just count every time the register rings. Sanderson says the real question is how much money you bring in from outside and how much of that outside money stays here.<br> <br> Local labor, he says, is where the real economic impact is. How much of the marathoner’s dollar stays in Chicago, and how much ends up paying wages here? Restaurants, with all their local labor, might benefit the most.<br> <br> Cesar Pineda is chef and owner of Ciao Amore. He says Ciao Amore got two full seatings from last year’s marathon, a lot of it from pre-race carbo-loaders.<br> <br> "Anything with pasta and fresh marinara," Pineda says. "The best marinara in the city, so they go crazy."<br> <br> Sanderson says in economics, there are winners and losers, and here, less than a block away, Linda Guttierrez has to close her Cuernavaca restaurant.<br> &nbsp;<br> "Because the whole street is blocked," Guttierrez said. "We don’t have no business but we enjoy ourselves. We lock the door. We put the real loud music because I have speakers outside."<br> <br> So is it $171 million or $25 million? &nbsp;<br> <br> The answer matters, of course, to all these businesses and ultimately, through taxes, to city coffers. But to these marathon enthusiasts, maybe not all that much.<br> <br> "And we’re all out there screaming. My father, my mother, we’re all out there," Guttierrez said. "And I always keep saying next year I’ll run it, but I never do."</p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 17:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-chicago-marathon-bonanza-or-blip-92617 Surveying the market amidst potential Bank of America cuts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/surveying-market-amidst-potential-bank-america-cuts-91852 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-12/5712963104_6d80037254_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last week, President Obama last week pitched his plan to put the country back to work. But not everyone should expect a break from the unemployment lines: Bank of America was said to be considering a cut of about 40,000 jobs. The company also looked a little peaked in the market – which of late, proved an unkind place for many firms. Particularly to companies that toyed with going public – the IPO stream turned to a trickle. <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/author/david-greising/" target="_blank">David Greising</a>, an editor with the <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/" target="_blank">Chicago News Cooperative</a>, joined<em> Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about banks and other business news.</p><p><em>Music Button: Memory Tapes, "Today Is Our Life," from the release Player Piano (Carpark Records)</em></p></p> Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-12/surveying-market-amidst-potential-bank-america-cuts-91852 Mortgage fraud looms large at AGs meeting http://www.wbez.org/story/mortgage-fraud-looms-large-ags-meeting-88167 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-21/Joshua Lott Getty Images.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The role of fraud in the housing crisis is getting attention this week at a Chicago gathering of attorneys general from states across the country.</p><p>Since last year, the AGs have been looking into procedures of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, led by Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Now the AGs and federal officials are negotiating with the banks to set lending and foreclosure standards.</p><p>A settlement the officials proposed in March would have the banks fund loan modifications.</p><p>“Without that kind of mandatory principal writedown, neither the housing market nor the economy as a whole can recover from what the big banks have put us into in the first place,” says Rev. Robert Bushey, pastor of Central Christian Church in the Kankakee County town of Bourbonnais.</p><p>Bushey helps lead Illinois People’s Action, a faith-based group that demonstrated Tuesday afternoon outside a downtown hotel where the AGs are meeting.</p><p>The activists seem to have an ally in the meeting’s host, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a Democrat. “A settlement should require banks to write down the principal on mortgages so that families can afford their payments and have a fighting chance to save their homes,” Madigan's office said in a statement to WBEZ.</p><p>But some Republican AGs say mortgage writedowns could encourage too many borrowers to halt their payments — a threat to the industry. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that at least eight attorneys general have publicly opposed the writedowns as part of any deal.</p><p>A new report, meanwhile, suggests that the housing crisis is reaching far into the middle class. Chicago-based National People’s Action reported that prime-interest-rate mortgages have accounted for 48 percent of Cook County foreclosures since January of last year.</p><p>The AGs will wrap up their three-day meeting Wednesday.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/mortgage-fraud-looms-large-ags-meeting-88167 Cook County sheriff halts home evictions http://www.wbez.org/story/bank-america/cook-county-sheriff-halts-home-evictions <p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he's following through on a threat to halt foreclosure evictions. It's the second time in two years Dart is telling officers not to evict residents of foreclosed homes.<br /><br />According to the Sheriff's office roughly 500 home eviction orders from several banks have been stopped.<br /><br />At an unrelated luncheon today Dart said banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and GMAC/Ally Financial have been cooperating with his office. &quot;They are working through language that we have given them and we're waiting to hear back on that part of it,&quot;&nbsp;the Sherrif tells WBEZ.&nbsp;</p><p>Some banks have admitted to using &quot;robo-signers&quot; to approve foreclosure documents quickly and without fully reviewing them.&nbsp; The banks missed Dart's Monday deadline to turn in affidavits proving their documentation was done legally.</p></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 20:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bank-america/cook-county-sheriff-halts-home-evictions Florida county hires official tied to Chicago scandal http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913 <p>Miami-Dade County has hired a former Chicago window company official near the center of an alleged scheme to loot the business, pilfer manufacturing gear and set up a new operation in Iowa. Former Republic Windows and Doors Chief Operating Officer Barry Dubin will earn $425 an hour to help turn around Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's struggling system of hospitals and clinics, according to the <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/1283281.html">Miami Herald</a>. Dubin will serve as the system's chief restructuring officer over the next nine months, the newspaper reports. Cook County prosecutors last month charged Republic CEO Richard Gillman with defrauding company creditors and stealing cash from the firm. The indictment identifies an unnamed co-schemer as the company's chief operating officer. Republic shuttered its Goose Island plant last winter without federally mandated severance payments to the factory's roughly 240 employees. The workers, members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), responded with a sit-in at the plant. The sit-in quickly became a national symbol of the nation's economic crisis. It ended <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=30801">six days later</a> when two Republic creditors -- Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase -- agreed to pay the workers a combined $1.75 million. "Dubin is the last guy I'd want to see in charge of a hospital," says UE organizer Mark Meinster. I tried to reach Dubin on his cell phone Thursday evening. My message asks whether Cook County authorities have been in touch and whether he's the right fit for the Florida job. He hasn't returned the call.</p> Thu, 15 Oct 2009 18:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913