Sunday, March 4, 2012

Adding insult to injury: fined for not cutting the grass on foreclosed home

Arlington, Texas
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Imagine for a moment you have been foreclosed on and evicted from your home. Unfortunately this isn’t a leap for far too many Americans who have experienced just that.

Now imagine that on top of getting kicked out of your house due to predatory lending practices and an economic downturn thanks mostly to the same predators in the financial industry, you get fined for not keeping up the house they took from you.

It is quite unfortunate to say that this isn’t an absurd hypothetical situation, but in fact the reality of David Englett of Crowley, Texas. Englett is now being charged for not paying a series of fines from the city of Arlington for such infractions as not mowing the lawn, owning an alarm without the proper permit, and for having a fence that is in bad shape, according to the Dallas-Fort Worth local CBS affiliate.

Englett’s story is nothing short of insane, given that he was foreclosed on some two years ago and hasn’t lived in the house since.

“I feel like I’m being punished for something I didn’t do.” Englett said. “It’s really frustrating and costing me a lot of time.”

Englett discovered that he had outstanding warrants when he attempted to renew his truck driver’s license last july.


“I don’t want to go to jail over nothing – never been to jail – don’t want to go to jail,” he lamented.

“I didn’t live there, so why would I worry about it the bank foreclosed on it,” Englett said. In response to the warrant for operating an alarm without a permit he said,” Even when I lived there we never activated the alarm.”

The City of Arlington has responded to Englett’s plight by claiming that if the title hasn’t officially changed, then you’re still the owner of the home and thus responsible for everything on said property.

Englett is having to pay a significant amount of money to the city, even though he is likely having financial woes given his home was foreclosed on.

He has already forked over $150 to remove a hold on his license and he says that he still owes the City of Arlington hundreds more.

The local CBS station’s legal expert Jerry Loftin explained it by saying, “You have to remember cities are all about grabbing money from you[.] I mean they try anyway they can.”

Although Loftin also stated, “If it’s foreclosed, it’s not his,” which is a phenomenal point. If he’s not allowed to live there since he was evicted, how can he possibly be expected to keep up the state of the house?

Englett had a hearing on the matter earlier this week and he is hoping that he can get the matter cleared up.

The City of Arlington simply said that they are looking into his case, without providing any details about what they have found or if they think it is remotely reasonable to engage in such activities.

“I don’t understand why the City of Arlington wants to keep on with something when I showed proof and the bank owned it and not me,” Englett stated.

As far as I’ve been able to find, it has not been reported how the hearing went or if the ridiculous fines were lifted.

Unfortunately, Englett’s situation is not a wholly unique one, as cities across the nation try to deal with their budget shortfalls by collecting more money in fines and fees.

According to a study by New York State Senator Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, New York City has a large problem with reclaimed homes with property violations.

His survey, cited by the New York Daily News found that banks have reclaimed around 2,000 homes which amounted to some 3,700 fines.

Banks have been guilty of refusing to pay the fines in many cases, indeed hundreds. This is likely why the City of Arlington chose to go after Englett and not the bank that actually foreclosed on his home.

Deutsche Bank has been one of the worst offenders in New York City, according to Klein’s findings, with 211 of their properties carrying outstanding fines.

U.S. Bank also has around $40,000 in unpaid city fines, a sum which would likely get Englett or any other individual thrown into jail immediately.

Yet for some reason corporate personhood seems to be a one way street since no one is rushing to prosecute U.S. Bank and throw the imaginary corporate person in prison like a real human being would be treated.

The Huffington Post points to several other examples of town around the United States taking a more aggressive approach to property maintenance violations.

In just the past two weeks, both Stonington and Woodbury, Connecticut have proposed blight ordinances along with Bellows Falls, Vermont while Rocky Hill, Rhode Island is currently considering increasing the severity of the punishments for violations of their blight ordinance.

Instead of highlighting the rising costs associated with keeping up properties like the Huffington Post, I think this story is a great example of how banks are treated as some kind of super-citizen which is immune from being held responsible for their criminal activity.

We have seen it in the cases of money laundering, the collusion between Goldman Sachs and individuals in government, the so-called “robo-signing” scandal (which has resulted in at least one mysterious death) and so much more.

In an age when average Americans are being subjected to increasingly draconian laws and the so-called justice system is clearly flawed given that it prosecutes even the most shoddy cases while failing to charge people for crimes for which there is ample evidence, so long as they have a badge, one would think that corporations would be held to a similar standard.

Of course this is far from the case because just like police are held to a different, imaginary set of laws, big banks are given immunity from just about everything.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about local credit unions here, but the “too big to fail” banks, better characterized as “zombie banks” which have robbed the American people blind and are currently in the process of destroying the entire global financial system, with the help of the private Federal Reserve, of course.

Hopefully stories like this one can help raise awareness of this nonsensical practice and the injustice that has become far too rampant in the United States.

Do your part and share this information with as many people as you can as only through making the majority of Americans cognizant and concerned about this trend can we begin to reverse it.

Did I miss something? Want to share your insights, comments, story ideas or writing? Email me at Admin@EndtheLie.com 

This article first appeared at EndtheLie.com. Read other contributed articles by Madison Ruppert here.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm -- 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com


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18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually the city is within it's legal rights
because of the sleazy way the banks reposes
homes. A eviction order is not a deed. The banks
evict residents so they can list the homes as
assets on their balance sheets, fraudulently but
what else is new and so they can have the home
empty and ready to remortgage to a new sucker.
They deliberately do not file a new deed so they
are not liable for upkeep, taxes or any sort of
damages. So the original owner remains the
deeded owner of record and is still liable for
the taxes and upkeep. Sleazy beyond belief.

tom said...

be afraid. be very afraid as cities and other government organizations go bankrupt. The employees so use to the easy life will do anything to keep the honey flowing. I see nothing that the average person can do to avoid it other than avoiding exposure to these slugs. I wonder how long it will be before the public understand that professional government employees weather elected or appoint is a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

since the bank owns it, fine the bank!

Penny Pincher Personal Finance said...

I had the same problem. There is a law (in the state involved, anyway) that a foreclosing bank has a certain number of days to record the deed from the sheriff's sale after it repossesses the house. Nevertheless, I owned a house in this state that got foreclosed on, and the bank took its sweet time filing the deed, during which time the city tried to come after me for downspouts which I had already fixed months previously. The hurty part was I'd fixed them while knowing I was going to lose the house, just to stay out of this kind of trouble.

Anyway, the downspouts were still fine, it was just a hanging unresolved building order that they had forgotten to reinspect, and the city backed off; but meanwhile I sent a nastygram to the bank's attorney, who would have become liable for not filing the deed in a timely manner. And I would have gone after them, believe me. They filed the deed pretty much at the last possible minute.

The guy with the long lawn is in a catch-22: having been evicted, if he returns to the property he will be trespassing. He should not have to pay a penny, but since he has to get his license renewed he may have to try to get his money back after the fact. I think he has a cause of action against his bank, and he could also call the bar association about the bank's lawyer not recording that deed, but first he needs to find out how long they legally have to record it.

Anonymous said...

Every day the bucket goes to the well. One day the bottom will fall out...

Anonymous said...

the guy needs to file a lien on the home for $100,000 dollars so he can get the banks attention

Colin said...

Pass a law that says if the bank fails to pay maintenance and upkeep that the previous foreclosed upon owner can make these back payments and receive title to the property.

Anonymous said...

What - "owning an alarm without the proper permit"

You need a permit to have an alarm? On one hand, big brother tells us to lock our door and set alarms, on the other, he charges us for doing what he says.
This is just one more insanity crack in the American Nightmare.

Uncle Bill said...

Oh come now, - where are all they paytriots for profit to sell this guy a guaranteed silver bullet to solve his legal problems?

With so many skilled legal professional paytriots, surely there must be one that will come forth and "help" this fellow?

Where is howard griswold and it david reimer? Maybe david can send an "it ain't me letter"? Sure that will solve everything.

Too bad there isn't a long list of real patriots with real accomplishments in a real court!

Anonymous said...

Wow. You Americans are the most over-governed people on the planet. I recall this activist post:

Confessions of a Communist Taxi Driver in Laos: A Lesson in Free Markets

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/confessions-of-communist-taxi-driver-in.html

How did it get to this? Where communism is a freer market than the US has? Just...wow.

ENGLISHMAN said...

"foxtrot oscar"is the correct terminology to use to these criminals,your situation gets worse simply because you keep sucking it up.When will you draw a line and say no further?

Anonymous said...

its time to tell them and this Government if you can all it that to go fuck themselves instead of us.

Anonymous said...

It is time for the 'common', middle class people to get on the ballots this year and take back the town councils. The strongest government is the local gov. I am 68yo, single woman, and I plan to run for town council. We need a voice. We need some common sense again. We need to say NO to stupid regulations and to the bullies in the government at the higher levels.

Anonymous said...

Motto of bankers."We're only in it for the profit. If losses are incurred, someone else takes it in the shorts"

Anonymous said...

Rent out the home and "Take the Money & Run".

Anonymous said...

Understand that no ticket or citation issued by any agency confers in-personam jurisdiction upon a court. In-personam jurisdiction derives from due process. Substantive due process is found in the fourth article in amendment to the constitution which states that "no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation" Procedural due process was promulgated in furtherance of substantive due process and guarantees substantive due process if followed faithfully. A ticket may qualify as a complaint (oath), but where is the finding of probable cause by way of a probable cause hearing? There are only four instruments which convey in-personam jurisdiction upon the court. the warrant, the summons, the indictment and the civil summons. The warrant and summons must be signed by the issuing magistrate, the indictment must be delivered in open court by the foreman of the grand jury, and the civil summons must be signed by the clerk of court, so your ticket cannot be any of these four instruments. the courts must depend upon you to waive your right to procedural due process of law by making a general appearance or traversing within the court. You must make a special appearance for the sole purpose of challenging the courts jurisdiction. You cannot enter a plea or otherwise move to the merits without implicitly recognizing the jurisdiction of the court over your person and waiving your due process rights.

Anonymous said...

My gripe is with the cities. I would love to see a website available that list the problems living in these surburban areas. It could be accessed alphbetically by the city & state name and then a discription of the overreaching ordinances.
Plano, the one I live in, is so restrictive that even the people that enforce the ordinance violations have told me that they wouldn't live here because of the severe restrictive nature of the city govnment.
WE cant even park certain vehicles in front of our homes! We are expected to maintain public property agacent to our property. Gift wrap our bulk trash pickup. I could go on and on.
Just dont move to Plano Texas.
There is just no way that anyone can live in the areas and NOT BE IN VIOLATION of city ordinances.
I have known of the city punishing certain people for speaking out against this situation with outrageous code enforcement. And if they dont have a code that they can use they make one up, weather its legal or not.

buy cialis online said...

Its time to tell them and this Government if you can all it that to go f**k themselves instead of us.

Pass a law that says if the bank fails to pay maintenance and upkeep that the previous foreclosed upon owner can make these back payments and receive title to the property.

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