WBEZ | Lisa Madigan http://www.wbez.org/tags/lisa-madigan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Judge rules no pay for Illinois workers without state budget http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-rules-no-pay-illinois-workers-without-state-budget-112338 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP120209138862 (1)_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(249, 249, 249);">▲&nbsp;</span>LISTEN </strong><em>A pair of courtroom decisions in Chicago Tuesday is drastically changing the dynamics at play in the political drama unfolding in Illinois state politics. Both rulings have to do with how the state government will operate as it goes further into shutdown mode. WBEZ&rsquo;s state politics reporter Tony Arnold joins host Melba Lara to break down what&rsquo;s at stake.</em></p><p>Illinois won&#39;t be allowed to pay state workers in full during an ongoing budget impasse, a Cook County judge ruled Tuesday, potentially leaving some 65,000 employees without a paycheck and putting added pressure on lawmakers to approve a new spending plan.</p><p>Judge Diane Larsen said that without a 2016 budget in place Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger may only pay some workers who are covered under a federal labor law. Those workers would receive the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus overtime.</p><p>But Munger&#39;s attorneys and lawyers for the state&#39;s personnel agency said it would take as long as a year to determine which employees would be paid under federal law and adjust payroll because of antiquated computer systems. That effectively means no workers will be paid until Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature approve a budget, the comptroller&#39;s attorneys said. It&#39;s also likely to trigger federal fines and penalties.</p><p>Larsen&#39;s ruling likely won&#39;t be the final word. Munger and the leader of the state&#39;s largest public-employee union separately said they plan to appeal, and Rauner directed the state personnel department to do the same. Thirteen labor unions representing state employees also have filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County seeking full pay. A hearing in that case could occur this week.</p><p>&quot;Public service workers in state government are on the job despite the lack of a state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1,&quot; said Roberta Lynch, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. &quot;Throughout Illinois they are keeping their communities safe, protecting kids, caring for veterans and people with disabilities, and providing countless other vital public services - and they should be paid for their work on time and in full.&quot;</p><p>The comptroller&#39;s office must begin processing payroll on Thursday for workers to receive their first paycheck of the new fiscal year as scheduled in mid-July. Rauner told employees in a memo last week that they must continue coming to work, and AFSCME has said its members plan to do so. The governor also said his office is asking local banks and credit unions to offer loans to workers who need help paying their bills.</p><p>Larsen acknowledged the situation is unfortunate but said the state constitution prohibits the comptroller from paying bills without spending authority or a federal mandate. She said responsibility lies with Rauner and the Legislature for not agreeing on a spending plan, and with state officials who have known since at least 2007 that their computer systems were incapable of meeting federal law.</p><p>Lawmakers have been deadlocked over a budget for weeks. Rauner, a conservative businessman seeking pro-business reforms in Illinois, vetoed a budget passed by the Legislature that fell far short of available revenues. Democrats such as House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton are seeking increases in revenue to ensure the government continues to provide social services and other key operations.</p><p>Lisa Madigan, a Democrat and the speaker&#39;s daughter, had asked the judge to clarify what state government is obligated to pay without an approved budget. Her office argued that the only way for all workers to be paid their regular salaries is for Rauner and the Legislature to act.</p><p>Munger, a Republican, wanted the judge to rule that all state employees be paid their regular salaries. Her attorneys noted Madigan agreed to an order that all workers be paid during a 2007 budget impasse, and he questioned whether the difference this time around is politics.</p><p>Madigan&#39;s office said circumstances are different because in 2007 lawmakers had passed a temporary budget and were days away from approving a full plan. A spokeswoman denied politics played a role.</p><p>&quot;This entire situation has been caused by the failure of the Governor and the Legislature to enact a budget,&quot; Madigan said in an emailed statement.</p><p>Without appropriation power, the comptroller is limited to paying only crucial bills, such as debt service and pension payments, as well as federal-program participation fees and payments required by court orders.</p><p>A Rauner spokesman noted legislators passed a law last year allowing them to continue to be paid without a budget and said the governor would support similar legislation to cover state workers. It was unclear if or when a bill will be introduced.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-rules-no-pay-illinois-workers-without-state-budget-112338 Labor unions celebrate judge's ruling against Illinois pension law http://www.wbez.org/news/labor-unions-celebrate-judges-ruling-against-illinois-pension-law-111148 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/springfield_0_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An Illinois judge has ruled unconstitutional a controversial plan to reduce state employees&rsquo; retirement benefits.<br /><br />Labor groups sued the State of Illinois for passing a bill reducing their members&rsquo; pension benefits. The unions representing downstate and suburban teachers, university employees and most other state workers argued the state constitution says, specifically, that retirement benefits can&rsquo;t be diminished. On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz agreed.</p><p>Belz quoted directly from the state constitution in his six-page decision, citing the passage that states retirement benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or repaired.&rdquo; He singled out components of the bill that narrowly passed the state legislature last year to explain why he was ruling against the state. For instance, the law changed cost-of-living increases certain employees receive in retirement, and put a cap on some employees&rsquo; pensionable salary.</p><p>&ldquo;The State of Illinois made a constitutionally protected promise to its employees concerning their pension benefits,&rdquo; Belz wrote in his decision. &ldquo;Under established and uncontroverted Illinois law, the State of Illinois cannot break this promise.&rdquo;</p><p>Labor unions representing employees who are in those retirement systems celebrated the decision.</p><p>&ldquo;The court granted us everything. The court saw it our way,&rdquo; said Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. &ldquo;This is an unambiguous, unequivocal victory for the constitution and for working people.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Retirees who earned their modest security in retirement, they always paid their share. And they should not be punished for the failures of politicians,&rdquo; said Anders Lindall, a spokesman for the We Are One Coalition, a group of labor unions.</p><p>Attorneys who defended the bill acknowledged that it reduced benefits, but argued it is needed to deal with a $105 billion unfunded pension liability. Studies have shown that massive debt tied to Illinois&rsquo; retirement payments is the worst of any state in the country.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn, and those who supported the legislation, argue basic functions of state government are in danger if the pension law is found to be unconstitutional.</p><p>&ldquo;This historic pension reform law eliminates the state&rsquo;s unfunded liability and fully stabilizes the systems to ensure retirement security for employees who have faithfully contributed to them,&rdquo; Quinn said in a statement.</p><p>The Democratic governor was defeated in this month&rsquo;s election by Republican Bruce Rauner, who also released a statement asking the state&rsquo;s Supreme Court to take up the case as soon as possible.</p><p>The office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is defending the law in court. Her office said Friday that it will ask the state Supreme Court to expedite an appeal &ldquo;given the significant impact that a final decision in this case will have on the state&rsquo;s fiscal condition.&rdquo;</p><p>Meantime, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton is considering a plan, in case the state Supreme Court agrees with Judge Belz and throws out the law. Cullerton had pushed for a separate pension proposal that would ask employees to choose between earning state-funded health care coverage in retirement or receiving pay increases.</p><p>&ldquo;If they throw it out, we&rsquo;ll be back to square one and then we go back again to the alternative that already passed the Senate and when that passes, save some money that we can then pass on to education funding and whatever else we want to utilize that savings,&rdquo; Cullerton said Friday.</p><p>Legislators would have to re-visit Cullerton&rsquo;s proposal in a new General Assembly, after January&rsquo;s inauguration.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/labor-unions-celebrate-judges-ruling-against-illinois-pension-law-111148 Morning Shift: Should Chicago students opt-out of standardized tests? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-11/morning-shift-should-chicago-students-opt-out <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Cover Flickr biologycorner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at why some parents are opting their children out of the upcoming standardized test, the ISAT, and the controversy surrounding testing in Chicago Public Schools. Plus, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan checks in to talk about efforts to curb identity theft.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-chicago-students-opt-out-of-s/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-chicago-students-opt-out-of-s.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-should-chicago-students-opt-out-of-s" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Should Chicago students opt-out of standardized tests?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 08:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-11/morning-shift-should-chicago-students-opt-out Morning Shift: Fatherly advice http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-16/morning-shift-fatherly-advice-108063 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/black father and son-Flickr- Mousse66.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Racial profiling is making black parents rethink how they teach their sons to behave in public. What does this safety precaution say about our culture? Also, the Morning Shift gets political.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-feeding-your-child-knowledge.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-feeding-your-child-knowledge" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Fatherly advice " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-16/morning-shift-fatherly-advice-108063 Lisa Madigan to not run for governor; will seek re-election http://www.wbez.org/news/lisa-madigan-not-run-governor-will-seek-re-election-108060 <p><p dir="ltr">Lisa Madigan has decided she will not be running for Illinois governor. In a statement released Monday, the three-term attorney general announced she will instead run seek re-election.</p><p dir="ltr">Madigan previously said she was considering a run for governor, but in her statement she explained she would not pursue the executive office as long as her father is the speaker of the Illinois House.</p><p>&ldquo;For the last several months, I have considered the best way to continue serving the people of Illinois,&rdquo; the attorney general said in a written statement. &ldquo;Deciding whether to seek reelection or to run for Governor has not been easy. I love my job as Attorney General and continue to be excited about the important work we are doing and what we can do for people and families in the years ahead. I considered running for Governor because of the need for effective management from that office and the frustration so many of us feel about the current lack of progress on critical issues facing Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Ultimately, however, there has always been another consideration that impacts my decision. I feel strongly that the state would not be well served by having a Governor and Speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for Governor if that would be the case. With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for Governor.&rdquo;</p><p>Michael Madigan has been the powerful House speaker for more than 30 years and is also the chairman of Illinois&rsquo; Democratic Party.</p><p dir="ltr">That leaves incumbent Pat Quinn and former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley as those Democrats who have announced they are running for governor.</p><p>In a statement, Daley said, Madigan&rsquo;s decision not to run for governor, &ldquo;gives voters a clear choice between a proven leader who gets things done and a governor who can&#39;t seem to get anything done.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">State Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, Treasurer Dan Rutherford and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner have all announced they are running for governor on the Republican side of the aisle.</p><p>&ldquo;This is as big a political earthquake in Illinois as I can remember in an awful long time because it has implications up and down the ballot,&rdquo; said Dave Lundy, a political strategist with Aileron Communications, Inc. &ldquo;Everybody has been waiting and everybody has been assuming that the attorney general was planning to run for governor, I think including the attorney general.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Lundy said several other potential political campaigns are now halted with the attorney general&rsquo;s decision. Republican House Leader Tom Cross was considering a bid to replace Madigan as the state&rsquo;s top lawyer, but now he could sit that campaign out. State Sen. Kwame Raoul and Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, both Democrats, were also thinking about running for attorney general if Madigan didn&rsquo;t seek reelection.</p><p>Lundy also singled out the line in Madigan&rsquo;s statement saying should wouldn&rsquo;t run because her father plans to continue in office, remarking it, &ldquo;really just was stunning for a family that has always been incredibly discreet and incredibly private.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Indeed, the powerful House speaker and popular attorney general often choose their words carefully when speaking publicly and rarely talk off-the-cuff.</p><p>A spokesman for Speaker Madigan did not immediately return calls for comment.</p><p dir="ltr">Meantime, despite the attorney general&rsquo;s misgivings about members of the same family serving in powerful positions in public office, not everyone was bothered by the possibility of close kin running the executive branch and one chamber of the legislative branch of state government.</p><p>Former Republican Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson said he was surprised and &ldquo;a little shocked&rdquo; by Lisa Madigan&rsquo;s decision.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What this state needs is a governor and a legislature that gets stuff done and the relationships are secondary,&rdquo; Thompson said.</p><p>Lisa Madigan&rsquo;s decision comes on the heels of tales of political patronage in Metra, the troubled rail agency that serves Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs, involving Speaker Madigan.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, a memo from Metra&rsquo;s ex-CEO, Alex Clifford, was sent to a House committee, in which Clifford alleges the board of directors wanted a new CEO, in part, because Clifford would not comply with personnel requests from Speaker Madigan.</p><p>Clifford said Madigan wanted a Metra employee whose family supported Madigan politically to receive a pay raise, but Clifford refused. Speaker Madigan later withdrew the request.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lisa-madigan-not-run-governor-will-seek-re-election-108060 Take Root Chicago launches to stabilize housing http://www.wbez.org/news/take-root-chicago-launches-stabilize-housing-107843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/housing.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A new program to help struggling and potential homeowners is launching in Chicago.</p><p><a href="http://www.takerootchicago.org/">Take Root Chicago</a> will bring lenders, housing nonprofits and advocacy groups under one umbrella. The online portal, which offers a plethora of programs, is targeted at both potential home buyers and those trying to stave off foreclosure.</p><p>Take Root Chicago is sponsored by the Chicago Urban League and Freddie Mac. The program&rsquo;s services range from how to buy cheap vacant homes to financial counseling to finding lending options for first-time buyers.</p><p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t have to go to each person to understand what that specific organization is providing. You just go one place and everybody working together to make it happen,&rdquo; said Christina Diaz-Malone, vice president of housing and community outreach for Freddie Mac.</p><p>Take Root Chicago is free to the public and starts August 1. Similar programs are already up and running in Milwaukee, South Florida, Jacksonville and Denver.</p><p>Diaz-Malone said the city is in the top ten of of Freddie Mac&rsquo;s high delinquency markets.</p><p>&ldquo;The goals of the partnership are twofold: increase homeownership and retain or maintain current homeownership,&rdquo; Diaz-Malone said.</p><p>Chicago has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. Twenty-five percent of blacks in the city have lost their homes during the current crisis, according to the Chicago Urban League. The damage is still visible in pockets of the South and West Sides where some blocks have more boarded-up homes than those that are occupied.</p><p>&ldquo;The devastation that is taking place particularly in African-American and Latino communities in Chicago is tremendous,&rdquo; said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who has <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-06-29/business/ct-biz-0630-countrywide-20100629_1_latino-borrowers-subprime-loans-countrywide-financial-corp">sued</a> subprime <a href="http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2007/12/illinois-attorney-general-subpoenas-countrywide">lenders</a>. &ldquo;It wiped out a generation of wealth building and it is going to take us at least a generation to rebuild. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s important that we&rsquo;re here on the backend of this crisis to put in place the resources.&rdquo;</p><p>Sharon Legenza, executive director of Housing Action Illinois, said a one-stop program like Take Root Chicago will be beneficial.</p><p>&ldquo;As most people know we have been very focused on foreclosure prevention programs. This is starting to turn that corner, to bring under one roof both information for foreclosure prevention and the homeownership side,&rdquo; Legenza said. &ldquo;This is unique because it starts to link housing &ndash; rental or homeownership &ndash; as a continuum in peoples&rsquo; lives.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Natalie Moore is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/natalieymoore">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/take-root-chicago-launches-stabilize-housing-107843 Bill Daley pitches pension ideas as part of bid for governor http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-daley-pitches-pension-ideas-part-bid-governor-107734 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bill daley_2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Bill Daley is attacking his Democratic rivals ahead of next year&rsquo;s race for Illinois governor. His main beef with them: how they&rsquo;ve handled proposed reforms to the state&rsquo;s retirement systems.</p><p>Daley said incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn hasn&rsquo;t been a good leader on what many call the top issue facing Illinois: cutting the state&rsquo;s $100 billion pension debt.</p><p>The former White House chief of staff and Commerce Secretary said Quinn should take a page out of the political playbook of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and threaten to veto one of two rival pension reform bills.</p><p>&ldquo;It works if they&rsquo;ll stand behind it and if the legislators believe the governor will stand behind that,&rdquo; Daley said.</p><p>Of the two main pension reform proposals, Daley said he favored the bill that passed the House of Representatives, but failed in the Senate. That bill calls for a combination of raising the retirement age, cutting the cost of living increases and increasing employee contributions, along with a variety of other proposals. Labor groups and Senate President John Cullerton have said they don&rsquo;t think the plan is constitutional. Cullerton called it for a vote last month in the Senate, where it gained just 16 votes of approval.</p><p>For his part, Quinn has put the onus of pension reform on state legislators, saying he can&rsquo;t sign a bill if they don&rsquo;t agree. Quinn called lawmakers back to Springfield on Wednesday for a special, one-day session on pensions. Quinn said last week he is putting a &ldquo;Herculean effort&rdquo; into getting senators on board with the plan they rejected last month. It&rsquo;s not yet clear how successful he has been at getting 20 senators to flip their votes.</p><p>Daley also had some choice words for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, saying she should issue a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the two rival pension proposals.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s get some clarity,&rdquo; Daley said. &ldquo;Everyone, we are in a crisis. Everyone has to step up to the plate.&rdquo;</p><p>Daley said if the attorney general doesn&rsquo;t feel comfortable writing a legal opinion, she should appoint a special attorney general just for this issue.</p><p>Daley also rejected the idea that the long-standing disagreement over pensions is a plot to help her become governor.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think sending the state into a deeper crisis helps anybody,&rdquo; Daley said.</p><p>Lisa Madigan hasn&rsquo;t definitely declared she is running for governor. She&rsquo;s only gone so far in saying that she&rsquo;s considering a bid.</p><p>In response to Daley&rsquo;s comments, Madigan spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said in a written statement, &ldquo;The Attorney General is already aggressively defending the state in multiple cases that will significantly impact what the legislature can do to solve this crisis, and for over a year, she has been providing the legislature with legal advice and analysis on the constitutional issues. As everyone is aware, the constitutional questions involved will ultimately be resolved by a court opinion, not the Attorney General&rsquo;s opinion.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 14:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bill-daley-pitches-pension-ideas-part-bid-governor-107734 Madigan seeks 2nd delay on Illinois gun plan http://www.wbez.org/news/madigan-seeks-2nd-delay-illinois-gun-plan-107729 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP345718295982.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for more time to decide whether to appeal a lower court&#39;s order saying citizens should be allowed to publicly carry concealed guns.</p><p>Madigan already got one extension &mdash; until June 24 &mdash; to challenge the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said a ban on concealed firearms is unconstitutional. Now she wants until July 24.</p><p>The request was filed late Friday, but The Associated Press obtained a copy Monday before it was posted electronically.</p><p>The appellate court ordered the ban be lifted by July 9. Lawmakers complied by sending Gov. Pat Quinn a plan on permitting concealed carry.</p><p>A spokeswoman says one reason Madigan&#39;s seeking another delay is because of uncertainty over Quinn&#39;s plans for the measure.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 12:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/madigan-seeks-2nd-delay-illinois-gun-plan-107729 HUD Secretary kicks off national tour in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/hud-secretary-kicks-national-tour-chicago-97107 <p><p>U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was in Chicago Thursday to kick off a series of round table discussions detailing the recent $25 billion mortgage settlement between states attorney and five major lenders.</p><p>Attorney General Lisa Madigan was on the committee that negotiated the settlement and took part in the round table discussion on how to implement the settlement.</p><p>“I began here because there is no better example of how to do that work than Lisa Madigan,” said Donovan.</p><p>The settlement involves allegations of “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices. The five lenders, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, agreed to pay $25 billion in mortgage relief. Illinois is set to receive $1 billion.</p><p>Donovan went on to praise Madigan’s decision to use an additional $100 million awarded to Illinois as part of the settlement to provide housing counseling and legal services for homeowners.</p><p>“There are other attorneys general that are weighing decisions right now about whether to use this funding to fill gaps in budgets,” said Donovan.</p><p>Since the mortgage settlement was announced in early February some 3,000 homowners have contacted Madigan’s office in hopes they might qualify for relief under the mortgage settlement. The settlement has not been officially filed in court yet. That could come as early as Friday or next week.</p><p>“Once that happens it will take a number of months until we start seeing relief being provided,” said Madigan.</p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 00:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/hud-secretary-kicks-national-tour-chicago-97107 Illinois to get about $1 billion in national mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-get-about-1b-national-mortgage-settlement-96262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosed house_Ashley Gross.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosed house_Ashley Gross.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 354px;" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)"></p><p>The $25 billion mortgage settlement with big banks means about 1$ billion in relief to Illinois homeowners.</p><p>People who owe more than their homes are worth and have fallen behind on payments may qualify for loan reductions, while other people who are underwater but current on their loans may be able to refinance. And people who lost their homes to foreclosure may be able to get cash payments.</p><p>Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan helped negotiate the deal and spoke at a Washington, D.C., press conference announcing it.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosures_ashley gross.jpg" style="width: 281px; height: 500px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="The view inside a vacant, ransacked building in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Ashley Gross)">"Today’s settlement should serve as a warning to financial institutions - there are consequences for engaging in practices that jeopardize the stability of our communities and our economy," Madigan said.</p><p>But whether this deal means a major boost for the housing market is still a question.</p><p>Amir Sufi is a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.</p><p>"It’s marginally going to have a positive impact," Sufi said. "I just don’t think it’s going to attack the really huge problem in a really major way."</p><p>That really huge problem, Sufi says, is the large number of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth. The housing data firm CoreLogic says the total amount of negative equity in the U.S. as of last fall was $700 billion.</p><p>Illinois homeowners who are underwater on their loans say they’re hopeful the new mortgage settlement will help them. But many also say they’re beaten down after years of battling with banks.</p><p>Aimee Gendusa-English owns a home near Midway airport that’s now worth at least $50,000 less than she owes on the mortgage. She says she’s been trying to refinance her loan under a federal program for underwater borrowers. But she says her servicer keeps misunderstanding and bungling her request.</p><p>"I’m really glad to hear that anyone is going after the banks for any aspect of the wrongdoing that they engaged in," Gendusa-English said. "But as a consumer, it fills me with frustration because I feel like all these agencies are doing stuff but none of it helps me. I’m always the one who slips through the cracks."</p><p>Gendusa-English may not even qualify to refinance under the new agreement because she says her loan is held by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae refinancings are covered under a separate federal program.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 04:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-get-about-1b-national-mortgage-settlement-96262