Sheriff Tom Dart Sees the Faces of the Evicted

Sheriff Tom Dart in Park ForestA rather stirring Op-Ed piece in today’s Sun-Times by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart brings home the reality of evictions: the evicted are people, with families and stories all their own.

Dart writes that as Cook County sheriff, he is responsible for running a 10,000-inmate jail, providing patrols to unincorporated areas and securing the courts.

He continues:

But perhaps no part of our job is as difficult as the work done by our eviction units. On any given day, our deputies could be asked to throw a family out of their home, with all of their possessions left on a curb — sometimes pilfered through by those living nearby.

Where mortgage firms see pieces of paper, my deputies see people.

Yet no matter how difficult they are, evictions are part of our job.

Difficult as this work may be, an impossible situation for a family with young children, Dart understands that evictions come with the territory.  Sometimes people are left out on the street.

Sometimes, however, the family is not at fault, and this angers Dart, and it should anger all tax payers, in addition to those who care the least about social justice:

What isn’t part of our job, however, is to carry out work on behalf of the multi-billion-dollar banks and mortgage industries.

Too many times, our deputies arrive at a home to carry out a mortgage foreclosure eviction, only to find a tenant — dutifully paying their rent each month — who is unaware their landlord stopped using that rent money to pay the mortgage. They had no fair warning that they were about to be thrown out of their home.

That’s because, 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.

Dart and his deputies have found themselves evicting people who have paid their rent in it’s entirety.  The sheriff is right on this one.  Tenants still may face eviction, but the fault is that of their landlord, and they deserve proper notice that their landlord is doing something else with their rent money besides paying on the mortgage.

Dart says he is willing to be held in contempt for refusing to execute evicting notices.  The courts would be wrong to go after Dart.  Why go after the sheriff, when the real culprit is a multi-billion-dollar bank or mortgage lender who is forcing local government to spend tax dollars, saving the institution from performing due diligence?

Springfield should take notice.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan should take notice.  Sheriff Dart, and others in his position throughout the state, need help on this one.

I’ve seen Dart and his deputies do their job, and it isn’t easy.  In August in Park Forest, Cook County sheriff’s deputies executed 34 eviction notices.  Management from the Lofts of Thorn Creek, currently under receivership, were on hand, as was Sheriff Tom Dart.  Working with a crew of about 40 members of the eviction units, deputies spent the morning and early afternoon knocking on doors, and, in some cases, ramming them open.  Some units in this development were vacant and had been vacant for some time.  While expecting the worst, deputies met with compliant, yet unhappy, residents who were being turned out into the street.

This situation was unique in that it was the first mass test of the Village of Park Forest’s Crime Free Housing Ordinance.  In other words, not all of these evictions were for lack of payment on rent.

Still, a day or two before the first school bells summoned students to class, families were losing their homes.

Banks and mortgage lenders dumping their responsibilities on the tax payers is unconscionable, a de facto bailout.    There should be some penalty for lending institutions that abdicate their responsibilities.

Imagine turning children out of their homes only to realize the deed was done so the lender didn’t have to pay a few legal bills?

(Photo: ENEWSPF)

  • Dr Linda Shelton

    I have a different view of Sheriff Dart than those who call him a hero. I call him a criminal, part of the Daley/Madigan machine, a corrupt official. I have evidence to prove everything I say in the following. This is what I wrote on my blog:

    Friday, October 10, 2008
    Sheriff Dart like convict former Gov Ryan – Trying Something Big to Distract from his Crimes
    I own[ed] a building in Evergreen Park with my former medical office on 1st flr and former home on 2nd flr. Evergreen Park police illegally in violation of safety codes allowed my neighbor Veterinarian Whalen to brick over the bedroom windows making it a safety hazard and unlivable per the building code (on the other side is a gas station so there would be NO escape from bedroom if there was a fire). By law life and safety codes trump other rights such as building to the property line in a business district. The building had been built as a home 50 years ago.

    I owned half and my son own undivided half. Dart gave Joe Varan from GoIn Realty ( a real scumbag company that buys tax and other liens in Sheriff’s sales and then without adequate notice to resident or renters evicts them (stealing their property).

    Dart gave a fraudulent full deed to the property when Judge Jaffe and then Epstein illegally ordered me to pay $30,000 to Whalen for attorney fees when I filed a complaint for injunction to stop bricking over the windows and lost due to the violation of law by the senile judge at the time, Judge Jaffe. Then my half interest was sold in a lien sale when Whalen put an illegal lien on my property. Varan took this court order specifying that 1/2 interest in the building should be sold and Dr. Shelton should be evicted. I had no property that I owned in the building at the time.

    Then Dart allowed Varan to evict my renters (a relative had bought the contents of my office for safe-keeping and a friend was storing her business and personal property there while out of the county). NO NOTICE was given to the renters or to me. If a notice was mailed to me, it was mailed to the building and Varan had stolen my mail and locked me out of the building illegally.

    Sheriff Dart and his staff, with the help of Evergreen Park police and Varan stole, knowingly (they had a copy of a letter from Varan’s attorney acknowledging that they only owned half of the property, yet the deed was to the whole property) > $ 1 million of property including 2000 children’s medical records (I can’t give them their shot records now), all my medical books and personal books, drugs, syringes, a $15,000 ring, three fur coats from renter, all of her records of patients as a psychologist, all her personal belongings and family momentos, Elijah Mohammed’s violin (she had been his neighbor), priceless documents and historic photos from my father’s career as an academic dermatologist, computers, all of my tools of the trade, my sons property, all my business records.

    The renter is a potential federal witness who had on her computers not only patient records in psychology in the baby T case, but a lot of evidence of criminal conduct of elected officials to give the FBI, including evidence that Daley’s office knew of the bribes to truckers.

    There are hundreds of syringes on the streets now due to Dart. The FBI has been informed and has done NOTHING.

    Dart is also in charge of a jail where the US Attorney recently released a report documenting murder of inmates by guards, denial of medical care resulting in amputation, and torture. Dart should be jailed for a century. I don’t understand why US Atty hasn’t indicted anyone. Its no different then investigating a gang and then going to a gang and saying – Oh my you committed murder, rape, drug dealing, prostitution and that’s not good so I’m going give you a little time to clean up your act. How unbelievable! We live in a totalitarian police state!

    My family trust was the mortgagor. I and my son defaulted on the mortgage. As the first lien holder the family trust has now foreclosed on the property and we should get it back in foreclosure proceedings. I am preparing a suit for wrongful conveyance and will keep hounding the FBI to take criminal actions until they do. I am also filing petitions to void all orders dealing with denying the injunction and ordering me to pay court costs, as well as the lien sale.

    Posted by Dr Linda Shelton at 6:47 AM