An African American couple came to the Legal Aid Society with a $5,100 judgment against them. They stated that they had never received notice of the case. Attorney Colleen A. Foley launched an investigation. She found out that the lender, an inner-city landlord, had obtained more than $600,000 in small claims judgments against hundreds of tenants and borrowers—all of them by default. Further investigation revealed that none had been served with notice of his claims. The landlord had filed false affidavits in each of these cases fraudulently claiming to have served his legal notices.
As a result of Attorney Foley’s conscientious investigation, the Milwaukee County Circuit Court vacated $600,000 in judgments obtained by the slumlord. The court also vacated the $5,100 judgment against the African American couple and dismissed the complaint against them on the merits. After the case’s conclusion, the District Attorney’s Office began a criminal investigation into the activities of the slumlord.