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Friday, October 17, 2008

Sheriff Dart Reverses Course

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has announced that he is reversing course and he will resume executing evictions on Monday.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart says his office will resume performing evictions in foreclosure cases on Monday, but with important new legal safeguards for tenants facing such action.

Dart said Thursday that the new safeguards were worked out with Judge Dorothy K. Kinnaird, supervisor of the Cook County Chancery Court.

Dart halted such evictions last week because deputies often found they were removing innocent people who paid their rent on time without knowing their landlords were in foreclosure.Dart says the new rules require a bank to provide the court with a detailed description of the foreclosed property and identify all its tenants.

The bank must also prove it informed all tenants of the state-mandated 120-day grace period allowing them to secure new housing before moving out.

Last week, I criticized the Sheriff for what I saw was a political stunt and grandstanding. Sheriff Dart ceased to carrry out eviction notices because too many times, in his estimation, his deputies were showing up at properties only to find renters who had made payments on time and weren't notified that the property they lived in was being foreclosed. I viewed his action as political grandstanding and a stunt to avoid having to do a thankless job.

As it turns out, Sheriff Dart will not only resume his evictions but he has set parameters in place to make sure that his deputies aren't showing up at properties where the occupant is an innocent renter that hadn't yet been notified. As such, I will say I was wrong in offering so much criticism. I still maintain that all of this could have been handled without the theatrics and grandstanding, however Dart's political gamesmanship wound up forcing a compromise that is better for everyone. As such, I will give credit where it is due and applaud Sheriff Dart for ultimately making the system work better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grandstanding??? The Judiciary of Cook County have essentially lifetime terms with no accountability mechanisms. Sometimes you need the media to pressure folks into doing the right thing for the taxpayers and not the lobbyists and other self-interest groups. I am glad you now realize the genius of this Sheriff.