WBEZ | settlement http://www.wbez.org/tags/settlement Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 U.S. Government seals $25 billion mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/021012 seg a3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors reached a $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosures.&nbsp; So, what now? That's the question on many current and former homeowners' minds.</p><p>Ed Jacob, the executive director of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), sussed out the details and answered callers questions.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 After settlement with FTC over privacy, Facebook's Zuckerberg says a 'bunch of mistakes' were made http://www.wbez.org/story/after-settlement-ftc-over-privacy-facebooks-zuckerberg-says-bunch-mistakes-were-made-94438 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-29/AP070205073623.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW YORK — Facebook is settling with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it deceived consumers with its privacy settings to get people to share more personal information than they originally agreed to.</p><p>The FTC had charged that the social network told people they could keep the information they share private, then allowed it to be made public.</p><p>The charges go back to at least 2009, when Facebook changed its privacy settings so that information users may have deemed private, such as their list of friends, suddenly became viewable to everyone.</p><p>"They didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance," the FTC said.</p><p>The FTC said the settlement requires Facebook to get people's approval before changing how it shares their data.</p><p>In a blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has made a "bunch of mistakes." But he adds that this has often overshadowed the good work Facebook has done. He says Facebook has addressed many of the FTC's concerns already.</p><p>The settlement is similar to one Google agreed to earlier this year over its Buzz social networking service. Like Google, Facebook has agreed to obtain assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years.</p><p>Facebook isn't paying anything to settle the case, though future violations could lead to civil fines.</p><p>Zuckerberg said Facebook has created two new executive positions — a chief privacy officer of products and a chief privacy officer of policy as part of its response to the settlement.</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 22:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/after-settlement-ftc-over-privacy-facebooks-zuckerberg-says-bunch-mistakes-were-made-94438 Former Cook County Jail inmates lining up for cash http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-jail/former-cook-county-jail-inmates-lining-cash <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cityroom_20100513_tarnold_1430841_Hiri_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Thousands of people who were locked up in the Cook County Jail are lining up to get some cash. Cook County recently agreed to pay $55 million to inmates who were subjected to mass strip searches at the jail. Men were routinely forced to stand naked together in a hallway for the procedure which included cavity searches. A jury found the county liable for the practice.</p><p>Most people who were held in the prison between 2004 and 2009 are eligable for some cash. Mike Kanovitz sued on behalf of the inmates. He said notices of the settlement have been sent out to more than 200,000 people.</p><p>&quot;The response has been fantastic,&quot;&nbsp;Kanovitz said. &quot; I know that the claims administrator in one day received something like 40 thousand pieces of mail.&quot;</p><p>Kanovitz said the individuals may get up to $1,000 each but more money may be coming. He said some of the companies that insure the county have refused to pay. He said he's still suing them and hoping to get even more than the $55 million that the county is already shelling out.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 28 Dec 2010 12:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-jail/former-cook-county-jail-inmates-lining-cash Taxing the wrongfully convicted http://www.wbez.org/story/taxing-wrongfully-convicted <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cityroom_20100730_gspitzer_732216_Repo_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>A recent IRS decision is good news for wrongfully convicted people in Illinois, and across the country. The decision came in the case of Chicagoan Darby Tillis. He spent 9 years in prison for a double murder he didn't commit.<br /><br />When I went to interview Darby Tillis he wanted to meet in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts on Chicago's North Side.<br /><br />I parked next to an old, white, stretched Cadillac limo.<br /><br />The windows were tinted but I thought I could kind of see a man sitting in the back seat so I hesitantly tapped on the window and Tillis invited me in.<br /><br />TILLIS: 94 stretch funeral car, it's turned into a limosine.<br /><br />Tillis calls this car God's Holy Wagon.<br /><br />He says it's big enough to haul around all the stuff he uses for preaching on street corners, including a generator which is in the trunk and explains why the inside of the limo reeks of gasoline.<br /><br />Tillis is dressed in a black hat, black coat, black pants tucked into black cowboy boots and a long black robe.<br /><br />TILLIS: And some people say, why you wear the robe and you wear the black and I say, well, when I come down the street you either think I'm a man of God or zip damn fool coming down the street, which way you wanna take it.<br /><br />As a preacher, Tillis has a simple message.<br /><br />TILLIS: Stop the violence.&nbsp; Stop the killing.&nbsp; Thou shalt not kill.<br /><br />That message is painted in red block letters on the outside of his limo and its somehow ironic coming from Tillis.<br /><br />In the late 70s he was convicted of murdering two employees of a hotdog stand and sent to prison.<br /><br />TILLIS: Death row, you're there to die.&nbsp; You sit there every day, facing death, not knowing when they're going say, come on, pack em up we're gonna kill you.&nbsp; You're in hell.&nbsp; You're dying while waiting to be killed.<br /><br />Tillis was eventually acquitted because one of the witnesses against him told her coworker that it was actually her boyfriend who committed the murders.<br /><br />That co-worker provided the testimony that got Tillis out of prison in 1987.<br /><br />TILLIS: 9 years, 1 month and 17 days.&nbsp; When I walked off death row i didn't even have 25 cents and about 10, 12, 13 years later they all of a sudden came up and said we got some wrongly conviction money for you.&nbsp; Say wow.&nbsp; So they gave us a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. &nbsp;<br /><br />That award comes out to around 36 bucks a day, or a dollar fifty for every hour he spent on death row.<br /><br />Fast forward to this year.<br /><br />In March, the IRS alerted Tillis that he owed taxes on the money, along with interest.<br /><br />TILLIS: If you give me some money, take out the taxes.&nbsp; Here I am a poor broke guy done lost 9 years out of my life, for nothin, and all of a sudden you give me some money and I'm like, whoopey doo. Finally I got my hands on a few dollars, then all of a sudden you come to me and ask me for 50 thousand dollars back?<br /><br />TENENBAUM: It was in excess of 70.<br /><br />Sam Tenenbaum is an attorney with Northwestern University's Bluhm legal clinic.<br /><br />He's looking through Tillis' file trying to find the most recent dollar number the IRS wanted Tillis to pay.<br /><br />TENENBAUM: It was 72 thousand four hundred dollars and 38 cents.<br /><br />Tenenbaum appealed the IRS assessment.<br /><br />He made a personal injury argument.<br /><br />He explains that tax law says that if you're hurt in a car accident and you get a settlement, that money is tax free.<br /><br />TENENBAUM: Obviously it's a personal injury if you're locked in a cell for a number of years.<br /><br />The appellate division of the IRS found the arguments persuasive and decided that Darby Tillis' hundred and twenty thousand dollar award should not be taxed.<br /><br />WARDEN: Darby is one of 57 men and women in Illinois who have received these judgments as a result of having been imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit.<br /><br />Rob Warden is the director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern.<br /><br />WARDEN: This decision would seem, means that the rest are home free and they'll get to keep all the money that the state of Illinois gave them for their wrongful imprisonment.<br /><br />Tillis was one of the first wrongfully convicted men in Illinois to be exonerated.<br /><br />An IRS spokeswoman says they don't comment on individual cases, but a memo earlier this month from the office of the Chief Counsel for the IRS amends section 104 a 2 of the Internal Revenue Code.<br /><br />The change means nationwide, when state's award payouts to wrongfully convicted people, the IRS will no longer try to tax those payments.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 24 Nov 2010 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/taxing-wrongfully-convicted Cook County to pay $55 million to inmates at county jail http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-pay-55-million-jail-inmates <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Dart.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County is paying out $55 million to people who were strip searched while being processed into the county jail.&nbsp;</p><p>The settlement follows a trial from the summer of 2009 in which a jury found that the Cook County Sheriff's department violated the rights of thousands of prisoners admitted to the jail. The department had a practice of strip searching all incoming inmates, and those searches took place in an open hallway, filled with men standing naked, shoulder to shoulder. Cavity searches were also performed on all the men in that same crowded hallway.<br> <br> The $55 million settlement will be split among 250,000 prisoners subjected to the searches between 2004 and 2009. In a written statement Sheriff Tom Dart said, "<font>The vast majority of this money will go to the lawyers and not the detainees. In fact, the amount each detainee could actually see is very small – in most cases, just a few hundred bucks – compared to the millions and millions of taxpayer dollars that will be reaped by these lawyers." </font></p><p>Dart also said that over the last two years they've installed body scanners which largely eliminate the need for strip searches so that they're done only when the scanners raise a concern.<br> <br> The Cook County State's attorneys office was not immediately available for comment.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-pay-55-million-jail-inmates