Monday, January 16, 2006

Foreclosures Drag Out For Years In Ohio

The Plain Dealer reports on a foreclosure issue in Ohio. " A North Collinwood woman's complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court may prompt Cuyahoga County to quit hiding thousands of drawn-out foreclosure cases from the glare of critics.

Foreclosures vanish from judges' case lists while they are in the hands of magistrates and don't return until the magistrates send them to the judges for final rulings. The practice, said to have started during the Depression, conceals the protracted handling of cases, the numbers of which have surged in recent years."

"As of last week, almost 40 percent of Cuyahoga County's 12,755 backlogged foreclosures had dragged out beyond the Ohio Supreme Court's 12-month standard. But reports filed with the high court show only the cases at the judges' fingertips. A report for 2004, the most recent year available, counts only 12 Cuyahoga County cases more than 12 months old."

"Shelley Freed Smith of Lakefront Walk complained about the discrepancies in Cuyahoga County's reporting in a letter sent this month to Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. The empty house next to Smith's home has been in foreclosure for eight years. She wants all foreclosure cases, no matter how old, to show up on the dockets of elected judges. 'It's their job,' she said. 'There are so many homeowners in Cuyahoga County who are affected by this.'"


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