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LCBH

April, 2011 

In This Issue
Do You Have Experience in Probate Law?
You are Invited:

 The Chicago Fair Housing Education Consortium has two open trainings scheduled:

 

    Monday, April 25th  9:00 a.m. at Catholic Charities,

651 W Lake Street,

1st floor training room

 

    Thursday, May 19th,

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights,

100 N. LaSalle, Suite 600

 

To register for a training, please send me an email with the name(s) and emails of those wishing to attend and indicate which training date.

 

klindsay@lcbh.org

 

 

Dear Volunteer: 

 

As Spring awakens the city, our in-office student interns bid adieu to LCBH to prepare for final examinations.  Their efforts over the last semester have aided the agency in meeting the needs of many more clients.  We appreciate their zealous commitment to maintaining affordable housing in Chicago.  Bob Negele, Si Hyun Kim, Sarah Mazzone and Savannah Clement:  Thank you for your dedication and good luck with exams! And Sarah, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

  

Pam Spann has been a volunteer with the AOD program for almost the last two years.  Every Friday, Pam stepped up before the bench on a variety of eviction cases.  This winter, she elected to augment her public service by joining our in-office Tenant Advocacy Clinic  on Mondays and Wednesdays. With skill and grace, she resolved several challenging pre-litigation conflicts while educating tenants and landlords alike about the applicability and meaning of the Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.  Pam has since moved on to new volunteer opportunities with other agencies but we would be remiss to not publicly acknowledge her countless hours of service.  Best of luck to you Pam, and thank you!

  

Finally, within the next couple of weeks the stork will be visiting the home of my husband Richard and I.  As such, I will be out of the office beginning sometime in early May and returning from parental leave in late July or early August.  During my absence, Patricia Fron, our agency's Buildings Programs Administrator, will be coordinating the Pro Bono Program. Patricia earned her Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2008 and has been with LCBH for over a year.  She is responsible for the activites and client programming of the Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project.  Over the last several months Patricia has worked closely with our in-office volunteers and interns and has grown very familiar with the Pro Bono Program. She will be responsible for scheduling eviction defense trainings, orienting volunteers and interns, supporting AOD volunteers, and supervising the  summer internship program.  She is available at pfron@lcbh.org or 312.784.3505.  In the coming weeks, please contact Patricia regarding taking on additional AOD court dates, or accepting a start-to-finish eviction case.  Given her exposure and expertise in foreclosure matters, she is particularly suited to match you with interesting and novel foreclosure related cases.  Thank you Trish for adding Pro Bono to your bevy of activities.

  

Enjoy the Spring and I'll be back in touch in a few months.

  

  

Sincerely,
Keri Lindsay Dickinson

 

 

Do You Have Experience in Probate Law?   
 

An older couple entered into a lease with an elderly woman approximately 12 years ago.  They established a landlord-tenant relationship requiring monthly rental payments.  The couple lived in the basement unit of the building, while the landlady lived upstairs. 

 

Over the years, the couple developed a close relationship with the landlady.  During this time, the woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Having no family of her own, she turned to the couple for support.  The couple became the primary caretakers for the landlady.  She asked the husband to resign from his job to spend more time helping the woman.  He agreed.  He took her to and from her medical appointments, even sleeping at the hospital during  invasive medical procedures. Subsequently, she offered to provide room and board to the couple in exchange for their consistent help and support.  Sadly, sometime thereafter, the husband's wife was diagnosed with the same terminal illness the landlady had.  This strengthened the ties between the couple and the landlady as they bonded over their shared hardships.

 

Because the landlady became so close with the couple, she executed a power of attorney vesting the couple with the right to make medical decisions on her behalf.  She also drafted a will designating the couple as the beneficiaries.  In the event of the landlady's death, the will purportedly vests the couple with ownership of the property in which the couple and the landlady resided. 

 

One day, to the couple's alarm, an unknown family member appeared at the home and took the woman to another state without any explanation.  According to the couple, the landlady expressed that she did not want to go, but was forced by the family member to abandon the home.  The couple was left confused and distraught over the mysterious absence of their close companion.  Months passed and the couple remained uninformed of the landlady's whereabouts.  Unbeknownst to the couple, the woman passed away during her absence.

 

Meanwhile, and still without any explanation as to the woman's whereabouts and well-being, the couple received an eviction notice from the same unknown family member who absconded with the landlady.  The couple learned that the property in which they reside was put into a land trust.  The  trustee is the family member responsible for taking the woman away and evicting the couple.

 

LCBH fully intends to continue handling the eviction case for this couple.  However, the couple needs representation through the probate process.  We are looking for a firm and or attorney, with expertise in probate law, to provide pro bono representation for this couple.

 

If you are interested in working on this case, and have experience in probate law, please contact Keri Lindsay Dickinson, Pro Bono Coordinator, at klindsay@lcbh.org.

 

Volunteer and Case Spotlight: Alex Michael and the Case of Ms. McIntosh
 
 A majority of foreclosures in Chicago are on two to six-unit buildings.
 

Since December of last year, Alex has been volunteering in our office on a regular basis.  Alex dedicates anywhere between 25 to 50 hours a week, working on start-to-finish eviction cases.  He is currently handling 8 cases and providing exceptional representation 

 to our clients in all phases of litigation. The agency is so grateful to Alex for his enormous

commitment to Pro Bono with LCBH.  Recently,

 Alex has experienced quite a bit of success in arguing temporary restraining orders before the court.  He is currently working with an elderly and disabled tenant of the West Englewood neighborhood. 

Ms. McIntosh has lived in her home since 2005.  In  the fall of 2010 the bank took possession of her building through a foreclosure sale. She was not alerted to the foreclosure action until a realtor offered her a cash for keys deal in early October of 2010.  These deals typically offer tenants financial incentives in return for their quick evacuation of the building. But Ms. McIntosh's severe medical conditions would not allow for her to quickly leave her home.  After LCBH educated her regarding her rights to refuse such offers, she turned down the cash for keys deal.

 

Shortly before the bank took possession of the property, the furnace in Ms. McIntosh's building was disabled due to a possible carbon monoxide leak. This issue was never addressed by the former landlord or the bank.  Under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO), the successor landlord (in this case the bank) is required to address building maintenance issues. Ms. McIntosh attempted to alert the bank and their attorneys of this serious safety hazard, but they informed her that it was not their responsibility to address building-related issues. Once the frigid weather of winter developed, Ms. McIntosh's situation became much more urgent and she made several attempts to alert the bank and the city to the lack of heat and hot water.

 

Throughout the winter Ms. McIntosh was forced to heat her unit with electric heaters.   This drastically increased her electric bill. This situation severely aggravated her fragile health and she became weaker as the winter months passed.

 

After numerous attempts to have these issues addressed, the city filed a case against the bank,  Although this resulted in a fine for the bank, thus acknowledging their responsibility to maintain the property, Ms. McIntosh's heat and hot water were not restored.  This is where our amazing volunteer, Alex Michael comes in.  He elected to intervene to ensure she receive the essential services to which she was entitled.  After countless hours of dedication and preparation, Alex filed his motion for a TRO and stepped up before the court. Needless to say, he was victorious.  The court granted the injunction and the bank was ordered to restore heat and hot water. We are so proud to count Alex among our commited volunteers.  Thank you Alex for continuing to provide compassionate and zealous representation to our clients.  Congratulations on a job
 well done!

 

Alex and Ms. McIntosh