Pangea raised $180m to buy up low-rent Chicago properties "to help poor people," and then created the most brutally efficient eviction mill in Chicago history

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/18/roach-motels.html

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ds9-quark-shocked

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One of the frustrating things, as an onlooker from another continent, is that generally speaking you can have a solid cash flow and make a nice and tidy profit as a landlord without being a penny-pinching, abusive douchebag. But nope, these people want to squeeze those couple of extra percentage points, and in the process become greedy monsters ruining lives.

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How, exactly, does one hit this company in the nuts so hard that it is not merely castrated but also vomits blood? Asking for a friend.

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A hint that things were not going to go well.

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Laws and enforcement to make evictions hard for landlords are the only form of rent control that I support. If you can’t pay the rent you do have to go eventually, but slowing that process down keeps the landlords from using it as a cudgel to take advantage of the fact that moving is hard even if you do have money, and near impossible if you don’t.

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What’s happened here they they looked at the laws and do everything they can within them…

Again, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

We can call this a greedy landlord, AND it is, but it’s driven by lawyers for hire. with out that, this isn’t possible.

The bard said it SO well… “First we kill all the lawyers”

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Nitpick, but the guy saying that in Henry VI is called “Dick the Butcher” and not because he sells meat. It’s not an indictment of lawyers being bad for the society, it’s a vicious criminal dreaming of a lawless society.

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Sadly not in that context. They are about to stage a coup and want to get rid of anyone who could rightly use the law against them.

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NERDS!!! (W/@TobinL)

Sincerely,
the Mad Prince of Denmark

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Chicago attorney here. You make a few statements that are sorta true or untrue. Not here to defend Pangea or its methods. I am not an eviction attorney so don’t yell at me about that.

  1. You say evictions were once “unheard-of” or “a rarity” in Chicago before Pangea. Not true at all. Evictions have always been fairly commonplace.

  2. No civil courts in Cook County have court reporters, so no civil courts in Cook County have records for appeal. You have to hire your own court reporter or there are other ways to make your record for appeal, like a bystander’s statement. This is not unique to eviction court.

  3. All courts in Cook County keep records. Records have only gotten better with mandatory e-filing. Yeah, Cook could be doing a way better job with record keeping but a “shambles” is a bit much.

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Yeah, later in the same passage the eviction courts are described as an incredibly slumlord-friendly establishment, which makes me think eviction is already a pretty common practice in Chicago.

None of that takes away from the thrust of the article, though. Somehow the American perspective on business is that the goal is to screw anyone and anything in pursuit of profit. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible, and not even that difficult, to run a compassionate, ethical, profitable business.

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They’re described that way, but I’d have to see that with my own 2 eyes. If anything, Chicago civil courts are incredibly friendly to individual defendants, especially elderly and poor ones. There are a number of courtrooms I’ve practiced in where poor and elderly defendants often end up because the cases heard there are usually under $10,000. I’ve never had a judge do anything but bend over backwards to make sure defendants are treated fairly.

The issue you have is with the obligation itself, not the enforcement of the obligation by the courts. People end up owing debts to entities like Pangea because of the structural realities of poverty, not the courts.

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Where’s Chicago outgoing/incoming Mayors on this matter? This was a known issue before the election.

What does the State Attorney Kim Foxx have say?
How about all those Chicago aldermen?
Where’s Cook County President Tony Preckwinkle?
What does the Cook County Board have to say?

Failure of government on every level and real people getting hurt.

It’s incidents like this that contribute to Chicago’s population decline.

although i have been having some issues with recent trends at harper’s magazine this article from the new issue is an excellent framing of a lot of the issues brought up by the story above–

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Velcome Comerade! Thanks for the insightful and informed comments.

And don’t make too much if the “comerade” jest. It’s our way of deflecting accusations of being a communist echo chamber. Seriously, Velcome!

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Outstanding, thanks for posting.
This is why I think magazines and newspapers are so important. And why I have subscriptions to both kinds.

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If you’re trying to sound Soviet. it should be noted that Russian has no V sound. So they pronounce Volga & vodka as ‘Wolga’ & ‘wodka’.

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Capitalist dog!

/s just in case

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Come on everyone, let’s thank the job creators.

Most especially Al, who fortunately when he came here as a refugee (not from a shithole country) didn’t have predatory landlords that persecuted his family and chucked them out on the street and jacked their belongings. I wonder how little Al Goldstein would have faired then, out on the streets, with his destiny chosen for him by a greedy fucking capitalist asshole.

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