On the JNS blog, Jeff Skrenes a.k.a. the Hawthorne Hawkman made it a point to highlight the applause that was given in response to the principal owners of TJ Waconia being in prison (even though the story is well past yesterday's news).
So the Mis-Adventures of Johnny Northside is reaching out to Jeff personally to answer the following (or at least offer an opinion).
The city council did such an amazing job of taking a stand against fraud as it has been reported in the case of TJ Waconia. The city filed a civil suit that was announced by Mayor Rybak and a few No-Mi neighborhoods joined that lawsuit as well (Hawthorne was not among them).
1) Can you comment on why the Hawthorne neighborhood did not join in that suit?
2) Can you offer an opinion on how the buyout the city agreed to with SunTrust Mortgage has had an impact on No-Mi?
Note: As part of the settlement between the city and SunTrust, the city bought a slew of properties from SunTrust's REO department that were previously owned by TJ Waconia for a mere 10 to 12% discount. The suit was dismissed soon after. TJ Waconia was not the focus of the suit soon after it was filed because, SunTrust Mortgage was not notified of the law suit prior to it being filed and announced. The significance of that was that SunTrust was actually the legal owners of most of the properties included in the suit as TJ Waconia had already lost them to foreclosure. SunTrust countered the law suit and the city ended up buying many of the houses from SunTrust because of it. It is undetermined how much money the city wasted by pursuing the civil suit and having to buy houses when a simple title search would have disclosed that SunTrust owned the houses and did not need to be put under city control as was reported.
Here is the link to the dismissed case. http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/CaseDetail.aspx?CaseID=1611672898 And here is the link to the related case that was also dismissed: http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/CaseDetail.aspx?CaseID=1611685450
It would be interesting to hear the housing director's take on this as he can see first hand at what impact the neighborhoods have had as a result of the city controlling so many houses (as a result of having to over pay for them, costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more).
I hope Jeff will respond as this blog does not pick and choose which comments to allow. His comments are not only allowed but, welcomed.
The Hawthorne Hawkman said... @ anon 1:34 - I read that post now, thanks. I will not respond on that particular site because it is entirely dedicated to smearing the name of a good friend and neighborhood advocate. The article posed two questions to me: why wasn't Hawthorne involved in the TJ Waconia suit, and then a second, very technical question.
Hawthorne was not involved in the TJ Waconia lawsuit because there were only a small handful of TJ Waconia properties in the Hawthorne neighborhood. That doesn't mean we weren't affected at all by Helgason's and Balko's fraud; only that the staff and volunteer resources that would have been used up if we'd been a plaintiff would not have brought the neighborhood a large enough return on that investment of time and energy. Plus, as demonstrated by the convictions, the city and the neighborhoods primarily affected clearly didn't need our help on this one.
As for the second question, since I was not involved directly, I will not venture into that territory. Mr. Watkins can ask any of the plaintiffs about that directly if he so chooses, or someone can post an answer here or on another blog.
January 25, 2010 8:57 AM
(Anti-Johnny's follow up)
Jeff: First, let me thank you for answering (even though it was not directly on here.
Second, I would be thrilled to ask the 2nd question I posted directly to some of the Plaintiffs as you suggested (I have asked a handful already but, there has been no reply). Which site or forum would be the most appropriate place to ask the question? On a side note, I am wanting to know the answer to that question as it does go way beyond TJ Waconia and the mis-handling of that case. The fact that you did give a response to the question leads me to believe that you agree (at least somewhat) that the events that took place in that case, could very well have a significant effect with the neighborhoods and residents of No-Mi.