Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 10/15/2007 - 16:25.

Bill Callahan, a private concerned citizen (where’s the County in this expose?), has taken a keen, focused interest in minding the "sub-prime" statistics.  

I encourage you to read Mr. Callahan’s Diary (a click will honor those on "in memoriam" way too slightly) and his prescient comment on Realneo here which is copied out of context below:


Laura vs. Jim

Submitted by Bill Callahan on October 6, 2007 - 6:30pm.

Let me start by saying that I live four blocks from Laura, and have lived here since 1991. Before that I lived for eleven years on West 54th between Clark and Storer.  Homeowner at both addresses. Raised three kids to adulthood at these addresses (the oldest of them was six months old when we moved to West 54th).

I know Laura. She's a good neighbor and friend. I also know Jim Rokakis.  I consider him one of the very few people in local public office who's been willing to put his ass completely on the line to publicize and grapple with the absolute worst disaster to hit Cleveland neighborhoods (and some suburbs) in fifty years.  I'm sorry he and his wife decided to move out of the neighborhood, but so frigging what?

Predatory lenders and their agents now hold title to thousands and thousands of houses in Cleveland, with the number swelling on a weekly basis.  Many of these houses are beyond saving; the only way to make them habitable would be to rebuild (not renovate) them in place.  Brooklyn Centre has not borne the real brunt of this yet -- though we're well on our way -- but Slavic Village, Union Miles, Mt. Pleasant, Hough are in desperate straits.  Go take a look at the little streets between Broadway and East 49th: Barkwill, Frazee, Anson, Dolloff.  Tell me you don't think some demolitions -- as well as some rehabs -- are needed to keep those streets viable for the people who still live there.  Knock on some doors, ask the neighbors.

Or if you want to know how Marie Kittredge at Slavic Village Development feels about it, don't wonder... call her and ask.

Laura writes: "Don't ask for more federal money to 'solve' the problem, by bulldozing the city and blacklisting certain neighborhoods.  Hold the banks accountable for the condition of the buildings and fine them, to restore the buildings." 

Oh yes, so simple.  After the Federal Reserve and the Congress have unleashed hundreds of unregulated mortgage banks and their LLCs from all over the country to collaborate with thousands of crooked brokers, appraisers and "investors" to strip the value from thousands of Cleveland homes, not mention the homes of their neighbors (i.e. you and me), don't look to the Feds for help in cleaning up the damage.  Local authorities should just hold all those banks (and non-banks) in California, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, Germany, etc. accountable and fine them to restore  the value they've destroyed.   That will work.  Just ask Judge Pianka.

Laura, those banks you're talking about own the houses.  If pushed, they can just tear them down themselves.  Or abandon them without clear title.  Or sell them off to the next round of flippers.  All of which they're doing right now.  The point about demanding some Federal reparations for local communities is to increase our ability to buy some control over these outcomes... mostly by demolishing what has been abandoned and is already beyond rehabilitation, which will cost many millions of dollars in itself.  (In Cleveland, a $7,500 demolition of a negative-worth house creates a $100 vacant lot.) 

We also need Federal re-regulation of mortgage lending, resources and legal mandates to substitute workouts for millions of future foreclosures, criminal prosecution of criminal behavior,  point-of-sale inspections on sheriff's sales, and lots of additional pressures of all kinds on lenders, packagers, securitizers, servicers, etc. to take their own losses and clean up their own damage.  And lots of consumer education.  All of which you'd find that Rokakis has been advocating, if you looked harder or just asked him.

Laura, there absolutely are some people in power in Cleveland who see this human and neighborhood disaster as an opportunity for "slum" clearance.  Some of them live in the suburbs (though not all, I promise you).  Rokakis is not one of them.  You're hanging this label on one of the few public figures who actually understands the dimensions of the foreclosure crisis, has played a big role in getting others see it, and has gotten his personal hands dirty for years trying to stave it off -- apparently just because you don't like his home address.

We have too many real enemies and too few real friends.  Please stop shooting at the friends.



One bank screwing me and my neighborhood

Disrupt IT


I spoke with Norm about his comment below (today) and here’s what he told me: 

There are numerous vacant houses near his house.  The houses are being raided for brass water meters and aluminum siding and cast iron sewer drain pipes. 

The scrapping invasion creates a pretty high strung atmosphere amoung the neighbors who are still using their toilet plumbing – no one's  certain  if  their own plumbing will remain in place through the night.

Norm explained that with today’s security technology each of the vacant houses could be monitored 24/7 and, with police response (which took place today at one of Norm’s vacant neighbor’s houses) the metal gleaning would stop or at least be reduced.

Norm is of the mind that the bank which has taken back the  house behind him is responsible for creating a public nuisance which has increased the risk at Norm’s house and which has diminished Norm’s right to tranquilly enjoy his property – rather Norm must strategize and worry about the next scrapper/home breaker who is coveting his plumbing.

Who’s going to bring this first instance lawsuit against a bank? 

Jim Rokakis, will it be the County Treasurer?

You’ve got the dough.  Our dough.






The realtors know that certain neighborhoods have been written off.  Norm's neighborhood, my neighborhood, Slavic Village.   These aren't the annointed neighborhoods (Ohio City, Tremont, Detroit-Shoreway, St-Clair Superior--how many demolitions are going on in these neighborhoods?!)
You don't see my neighborhood advertised on the Positively Cleveland site (not even as "emerging"neighborhoods) or even promoted at the county's housing listing  Why?


Neighborhood Infomation

When choosing a neighborhood, it is important to select a place that matches your daily needs. Think about access to day care, transportation and schools. Also, look at amenities such as grocery stores, health care facilities, parks or other recreational facilities. Try to be open to living in many places… you may be surprised to find affordable housing in many Cleveland neighborhoods and its surrounding suburbs.

"Try to be open to living in many places," how tepid  an endorsement is that?  Why don't we just be honest and state the obvious.  "Try to be open to living next to someone who may not have your skin color, may not speak your language, may not have your bank roll..."

And, lets take on the scrap dealers. 
Cuyahoga County should just shut them down.  Now.  Instead, they have put in place a pathetic ID system.  The State and the County should have done something to prevent the banks from destroying people's lives.  This is greed, pure and simple.  And now, libraries have to help these people find a place to live?  Ask me how many people come in to look for affordable housing.  Look at the rents.  Why should someone pay $700.00+ to rent an apartment or a house, when they should be able to pay that amount of money as a mortgage? 

It would be great if we had a state bottle bill and can recycling program, but the beverage industry won't have it...and so on, and so on.  The City of Cleveland has implemented a pilot recycling program, which is probably doomed to fail, because we collectively don't care. As long as someone makes a buck.

Is the County moving to correct some of these issues.  Yes.  But it is too little, too late. 

No one wants real regulation to protect the common good, which is the role of good government. 

Jeff points out the POINT-OF-SALE loophole.  Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials were intentionally not watching the hen house and now the fox is killing us.  We have seen how this scam works for a house on West 34th St.  I got into a protracted round-about with the realty company, the CDC and Brian Cummins office on this one.  End result--the realtor representing the sale of the house did not realize the "owner" no longer owned the house--it was owned by the bank.  Now, a grand Victorian house sits boarded up.

What does Bill Callahan say today?

Hello Bill,

The dispute about Then/now Ex County Treasurer Mr. Rokakis has been going on since 2007.   

Mr. Callahan,  how do you see it now? 

Did the Country Treasurer take actions which exascerbated the problem? Did the treasurer know what Frank Russo was up to?  Did the Treasurer work for or against the outside scum property purchasers?   Did the Treasure ever suggest "point of inspection" legislation such as Shaker Heights has - to make the banks responsible for building code violations being resolved before any title could transfer?

Just Curious how your thoughts have evolved....



Laura vs Jim Unleashed LLC crooked investors

Laura knows.


How could the Dirty Dozen become so dirty under the watch of Jim Rokakis?


Callahan writes about the unleashed crooked LLC investors, "After the Federal Reserve and the Congress have unleashed hundreds of unregulated mortgage banks and their LLCs from all over the country to collaborate with thousands of crooked brokers, appraisers and "investors" to strip the value from thousands of Cleveland homes,,".

What does Callahan think about Jim Rokakis' right hand man, Gus Frangos , playing the LLC card?

The same Gus Frangos that is PRESIDENT of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.

And the same Gus Frangos hiding property under the guise of numerous LLC's and not paying property taxes - while managing all of Cuyahoga County tax payer property.