100 signatures reached
Cogsville Group, Keep the Schlegels in their home!
To: The Cogsville Group, LLC
Laura Schlegel, a mother and active community member in Portage Park, Chicago, is facing eviction by the Cogsville Group, a private equity firm in New York City. The family is one of thousands of families now renting homes owned by massive private equity firms and hedge funds. Capitalizing on the foreclosure crisis, these Wall Street investors have purchased 200,000 homes across the country -- mostly in cities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.
Laura is struggling with chronic pain due to nerve damage and needs to be close to her doctors in Portage Park. She could be evicted any day, and she has nowhere for her, her son and her dogs to go.
Instead of putting them out on the street, the Cogsville Group should at least offer her and her family a new lease that allows them to stay in the home they previously owned.
Why is this important?
Laura, her son and 3 small dogs have lived in their Portage Park home for the last seven years. With the help of a partner, she bought the home in 2006 for nearly $400,000. After the market crashed, they attempted to refinance the mortgage, but GreenPoint Funding said that, since their credit was still good, they needed to be three months behind before they could qualify for a loan modification.
The mortgage holder kept changing, switching to Countrywide then Bank of America. Each bank requested the refi apps to be resubmitted, creating a confusing maze for Laura and her family.
Following the bank’s instructions, Laura and her partner missed three months of their mortgage payments and then began attempting to secure a loan modification. In the meantime, Bank of America put the home in foreclosure, using the highly controversial process of “dual tracking” in which banks simultaneously put families in the process of modifying their loans and put the loan in the foreclosure pipeline.
In Laura’s case -- as with so many other homeowners across the country -- the foreclosure process won.
In October 2010, her home was sold at an auction and bought back by the government-owned mortgage giant Fannie Mae. Laura began renting her home from Fannie through a local property manger. In 2012, however, Fannie transferred her home -- and 93 other homes in Chicago -- into a LLC that it had created. It then sold all 94 homes to the Manhattan-based private equity firm The Cogsville Group. On average, the private equity firm is to pay about $125,000 per house -- far below the $400,000 that Laura and her partner purchased it for in 2006. Neither property management kept up with maintenance on the home.
The chief executive of the Cogsville Group boasted in an interview with The New York Times that his company partners with the best property management companies to ensure that the houses are all habitable. But Laura’s experience was exactly the opposite. When her home flooded this past spring, the company did not help her with clean up, mold remediation or repairs.
In efforts to pressure Cogsville to assume responsibility for its property management, Laura’s partner stopped paying the rent, while they cleaned up the basement coped with the loss of much of their property, maintained the property along with a vegetable garden they shared with their neighbors. Laura joined a flood zone group to organize neighborhood efforts against flooding. But instead of negotiating under the circumstances, the family received an eviction notice and the accusation that the family was trying to take advantage of the Cogsville Group.
Laura and her family are asking that the eviction be dropped, and that the Cogsville Group offer Laura a new lease with an option to buy.
Help us stop Laura’s eviction -- and sent a message to Wall Street that they can no longer exploit our human needs for their short term profits!
Sign this petition to demand that Laura and her family are allowed in their home.
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