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True Gifts From the Creator

By Wanda Carter, Station Chief & Publisher

My journey with real estate has been quite debilitating over the last 18 years. I bought a property
that had been foreclosed on and sold to me for twice the foreclosed amount. I didn’t engage an
attorney, I didn’t have the property surveyed before I purchased it because a friend of my husband
identified the property as a building we could get, live in, and rent for extra income. It would
help the lady (someone he also knew), he said and my husband and I would own property in the
ever-evolving Englewood community. Big mistake, never take shortcuts when purchasing a home, or
you’ll end up like me, financially unstable. A widow entrapped in a real estate purchase that the
mortgage company decided they no longer wanted to finance, after they asked me to move out, with
the promise of doing a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Don’t believe the hype!

In 2021, I was introduced to Andrea Raila through a friend Anthony Travis, the Tax Doctor, who
works on amending the Illinois property tax laws. I explained my situation to Ms. Raila who
immediately began researching my real estate fiasco. Her investigation uncovered the sorted
transformations I had endured with the property located at 6548 South Morgan. Ms. Raila, a
long-time advocate for property tax and fair housing reform, engaged two of her associates, Arthur
Siegle, a Tax Analyst, and Madeline An, a Technical Writer and Researcher to cover my plight. They
created a timeline of events that clearly showed how the mortgage companies had abandoned
the deal they made with me and not recorded the deed in lieu of foreclosure. Thus, I was still the
owner of record and in 2013, the City of Chicago began fining me for yard debris, structural
maintenance,(porches and stairs were unsafe), and the lack of fencing around the property, etc.

Ms.Raila contacted the Sun-Times newspaper and Mark Brown met me at the court, attended the hearing with me, then wrote the article called “ Zombie Foreclosures” on October 15, 2021. He also
referred me to Attorney Mario Reed, who he said had been working with people who had also been
traumatized by the ever-prevailing zombie foreclosures occurring across the state. I called
Attorney Reed, left him a message, and later began working with him to resolve my ever-evolving
zombie foreclosure.

Attorney Reed took my case pro bono. He saw how the mortgage companies had abandoned the property and left me to pay the ongoing accumulations of fines related to the property I had been asked to move out of in 2008. Attorney Reed has been a blessing to me. He reported the situation to channel 7 Jason Knowles who interviewed me on the property where my house used to be located before it was torn down in 2021. It’s really frightening to see how many people are struggling through similar situations with zombie foreclosures. Something has to change, the City of Chicago has to invest
more of its resources into helping homeowners sustain their properties instead of penalizing them for the mortgage company’s failure to record the deed.

Attorney Mario Reed

I recently appeared in court again and Attorney Reed and Andrea Raila, along with two of her
employees, Arthur Siegle and Madeleine An met me there. I was elated because I knew I now had an
attorney to represent me. Attorney Reed took the helm, completed the paperwork to let the court
know that we were there, and stood in my stead when the judge called the case. I sat by proudly as the Attorney worked his magic. He is a dynamite presenter and a knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney in South Holland. His firm has taken on the noble challenges associated with zombie foreclosures. And I have been one of the hurdles Attorney Reed has taken on to help the City realize the need to change the way they go after abandoned properties. Kudos to both Attorney Reed and Andrea Raila.

Finally, I got to visit Raila & Associates, P.C. A law firm assisting residential and commercial
property owners to achieve property tax relief. It was exciting to see the office and to meet some
of the staff that fights to bring equality to the property tax here in Illinois. While there, I was given a beautiful plant that now sits in my living room with all of its splendor. Thanks, Andrea, you have been a true blessing to me.

Andrea Raila, a long-time advocate for property tax and fair housing reform, Madeline An, a Technical Writer/ Researcher &
Arthur Siegle, a Tax Analyst
Wanda Carter’s home plant gallery, thanks Andrea for the beautiful tree-like plant.

Be sure to tune into the CCNM On Point Remote Broadcast on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022 at 6:00 pm to meet both Arthur Siegle, a Tax Analyst, and Madeline An, a Technical Writer and Researcher, Associates from Raila & Associates, P.C. Check on this link to join the broadcast:

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To GOD be the glory…

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