The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has put out a warning about fake eviction notices sent by email.
The landlord gave our client notice that her lease would not be renewed at the end of the year. Normally, a landlord can do this, but Legal Aid determined the woman’s apartment was a “Section 42” apartment financed by IRS tax credits. Section 42 housing required a good cause for refusing to renew a lease.
The landlord said the cause for kicking her out was that she let someone live with her off-lease. That was true, but it was her 85 year old mother who stayed with her for 1 or 2 months while undergoing chemotherapy and waiting to get into a senior housing complex. The client has never missed a payment or breached the lease in the 8 years she lived in the same apartment.
Furthermore, the woman suffers from epilepsy and has grand mal seizures nearly every day. The apartment she lives in allows her to walk to her pharmacy and to get food. This is important to her, as she cannot drive with her condition.
Legal Aid went to court on behalf of this woman and convinced the landlord to settle the case. Our client was allowed to stay in her apartment and should be able to stay for as long as she wants.
A 31-year-old cognitively-impaired homeless man showed up at the Legal Aid Society one day. He also suffered from a major spinal deformity. The Social Security Administration had recently sent him a letter cutting off his benefits and health insurance, declaring him no longer disabled, and ordering him to repay $21,000 in past benefits.
The case was assigned to Attorney Paula Lorant, an experienced public benefits lawyer. Attorney Lorant obtained the man’s medical records and had him evaluated by a psychologist and vocational expert. Her skillful marshaling of the evidence forced the Administrative Law Judge to reverse his previous decision, restore past and current benefits, and vacate the order to repay past amounts. Her client now has stable housing and, with appropriate support, is living semi-independently.
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.
An elderly woman owned a modest home on Milwaukee’s South Side. One day a stranger knocked on her door and told her she needed new siding and a new roof. He told her she could use the equity she had patiently built up over many years to finance the repairs. The high-interest loan payments consumed 70% of the woman’s monthly income. When she was unable to make the unconscionably high payments for work that was both shoddy and incomplete, the contractor began foreclosure proceedings against the home. The woman did not know any attorneys, so her daughter brought her to the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee where Attorney Catherine M. Doyle went to work on the case.
In short order, Attorney Doyle got the case dismissed and the loan paid off in its entirety. The elderly woman was so thrilled with Attorney Doyle’s work that she played and sang a hymn for her in gratitude.