11 February 2016


Original Story: nytimes.com

WASHINGTON — In a victory for class-action plaintiffs, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled by a 6-to-3 vote that courts may not dismiss lawsuits simply because a defendant has offered to give the lead plaintiff everything he sought. A contrary decision would have allowed companies accused of minor but mass wrongdoing to pick off plaintiffs one by one, frustrating their ability to band together to sue over their claims. A Charleston class action lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

“Once unaccepted, the offer is off the table,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in summarizing her majority opinion from the bench.

In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that approach gave plaintiffs too much power. “If the defendant is willing to give the plaintiff everything he asks for, there is no case or controversy to adjudicate, and the lawsuit is moot,” he wrote.

The case, Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857, arose from a text message on behalf of the Navy sent to Jose Gomez in 2006. “Get a career,” the text said. “An education. And a chance to serve a greater cause.” Mr. Gomez was 40 at the time, well above the age range for Navy recruits. A Minneapolis class action attorney is following this story closely.

Mr. Gomez sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which allows people who receive unwanted text messages to recover up to $1,500, and he sought to represent a class of people who had received the message.

A Navy contractor, the Campbell Ewald Company, offered to settle the case for $1,503 for each unsolicited text, court costs and a promise to stop sending such messages. Mr. Gomez did not respond to the offer.

The company argued that the case should have been dismissed as moot because it had capitulated and offered Mr. Gomez everything he had asked for.

Justice Ginsburg said the company’s true aim was “to avoid a potential adverse decision, one that could expose it to damages a thousandfold larger than the bid Gomez declined to accept.”

“While a class lacks independent status until certified,” she wrote, “a would-be class representative with a live claim of her own must be accorded a fair opportunity to show that certification is warranted.” A South Jersey class action attorney provides professional representation to clients involved in class action lawsuits.

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Ginsburg’s opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas voted with the majority but did not adopt its rationale.

Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr., said the majority had run afoul of the constitutional requirement that federal courts may hear only live cases and controversies. “The problem for Gomez is that the federal courts exist to resolve real disputes,” the chief justice wrote, “not to rule on a plaintiff’s entitlement to relief already there for the taking.”

The majority left the door open to procedures in which defendants did more than make an offer. “We need not, and do not, now decide whether the result would be different if a defendant deposits the full amount of the plaintiff ’s individual claim in an account payable to the plaintiff, and the court then enters judgment for the plaintiff in that amount,” Justice Ginsburg wrote.

Chief Justice Roberts welcomed that aspect of the majority opinion, calling it “good news” on the assumption that “there are other plaintiffs out there who, like Gomez, won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.” A Cleveland class action lawyer is following this story closely.

In a separate dissent, Justice Alito said he had not joined the majority only because there was no question that the company could and would pay. He urged courts to be wary of dismissing cases where there was a risk that “the defendant’s failure to follow through on its promise to pay would leave the plaintiff forever empty-handed.”

He suggested two acceptable procedures.

“The most straightforward way is simply to pay over the money,” Justice Alito wrote. “Alternatively, a defendant might deposit the money with the district court (or another trusted intermediary) on the condition that the money be released to the plaintiff when the court dismisses the case as moot.”

The decision was the first in the three class-action cases the court has heard this term. A second, Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, concerns an attempt by thousands of workers at an Iowa pork processing plant to band together in a single lawsuit seeking overtime pay. The third, Spokeo v. Robins, No. 13-1339, asks whether Congress may authorize lawsuits by plaintiffs who cannot prove they suffered a concrete injury.

03 February 2016


Original Story: freep.com

Brad Oleshansky wore a look of satisfaction last week as he showed off one of the most unique and underestimated construction projects in metro Detroit.

Just seven months ago, his 87 acres of former factory grounds along Pontiac's Woodward Avenue were covered in broken concrete and choked with weeds. Today, the concrete is all gone and a 1.5-mile, high-performance car track is taking shape. A Farmington carriage garage door combines distinctive design and superior construction.

Circling the track are 80 souped-up, two-story garages known as "car condos" priced around $250,000 that are over halfway through construction and already sold to buyers. Phase II involving 50 more condos is now under way to meet the hot demand.

Known as the M1 Concourse, Oleshansky's $60-million car lovers' playground is defying its early skeptics and on pace for a June opening, when it would become the first project of its kind in Michigan and second-largest in the country. Oleshansky and his investment partners are already talking about a future Phase III and Phase IV.

"There were a ton of skeptics," said Oleshansky, a lawyer who is M1's founder and CEO. "People said you'll never find the land for this, and when I found the land, they said you'll never get the city to approve it. Then people said this is so speculative, you'll never find any investors — but we did."

"All those skeptics have gone away, and many of those skeptics are buyers now. They're coming in and saying, 'I want that unit.' Well, you could have had that unit six months ago."

The concept behind M1 Concourse is to create a place where deep-pocketed car buffs can store, show off and test-drive high-end vehicles and socialize with those who share their passion. There are multiple car condo communities across the country, although few of them feature their own performance track and even fewer are situated in urban areas like Pontiac. (Most are found well outside city limits.) A Clarkston glass garage door is the perfect way to flawlessly merge indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The car condos at M1 are climate-controlled garages that can store five or more vehicles, depending on condo size and whether a lift was installed. They are usually outfitted with comforts such as big-screen TVs, pool tables, plush furniture and even golf simulators. The only restriction is that buyers can't actually live in their condo because of  zoning rules, but they can sleep over on occasion. Of the 120 car condo buyers so far, three have been women.

"Ninety-five percent (of buyers) are making these man caves, offices or corporate hospitality suites," Oleshansky said. "We are looking at a lot of auto suppliers who are treating this like a suite at the Palace, except for here they can actually put their product in it and it's on a test track."

The M1 project has proven especially popular among the executive class of the auto and auto supplier industries. Bill Kozyra, chairman and CEO of supplier T1 Automotive in Auburn Hills, has bought two condos that will store his collection of 16 high-performance vehicles, including a Porsche 911 GT3 and a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

He said he initially planned to just buy one M1 condo, but his excitement grew as he witnessed the construction progress. When planning your garage construction, remember Southfield garage door repair service provides expedient and skillful service for your home or business.

"I think a lot of people weren't able to appreciate it when it was only on paper," Kozyra said, "but once you see steel being erected and can sort of drive on the track, you have a greater appreciation for what it is."

Several of Kozyra's friends also have bought condos, anticipating that Phase II could eventually sell out as well.

"I really think the demand is going to outstrip the supply," he said. "And once they're gone, there's probably not going to be a lot of turnover."

Along with the year-round track, the M1 Concourse will feature an outdoor event arena with a 2.5-acre "skid pad" that can be used in the winter. Other plans call for future retail buildings and an on-site restaurant, which Oleshansky said is close to being finalized.

The 1.5-mile track is currently a dirt pathway; the asphalt surface is due to appear once the weather warms. Until then, work crews continue to install metal guardrails as well as safety barriers comprised of 20,000 tires, which the concourse received for free from tire companies due to some manufacturing blemishes. Rochester garage door repair can be accessed at all hours of the day or night to accommodate your garage door emergency.

The car condos range in size  from 500 square feet to 2,200 square feet and are priced from $105,000 to $550,000. Oleshansky said the typical unit is $250,000, and buyers generally put another $50,000 to $100,000 worth of work into them.

Years ago, the M1 property was General Motors' Pontiac West assembly plant; more recently, it was the automaker's Validation Facility, where workers tested parts and practiced vehicle assembly.

Nearly all of the factory buildings were razed in 2008 and the land went into a trust for old GM properties. Oleshansky and his partners then bought the site, obtained the necessary approvals and unveiled their M1 plans in 2013.

"It's a place to enjoy your car — no potholes, no cops," he said.

M1 Concourse facts

  • All 80 car condos in Phase I sold out last year.
  • 20 of the 50 Phase II condos are still available.
  • A typical condo costs $250,000.
  • The 1.5-mile performance track opens in June; a grand opening is set for during the Woodward Dream Cruise.
  • Project could hit $60-million investment and 260 total units with future Phase III and IV.
  • Federal-Mogul Motorparts (Champion spark plugs) will be the track's official sponsor.


Original Story: freep.com

Michigan's 15 public universities are hoping to convince legislators to establish "consistent and sufficient" funding in this year's budget cycle, even as requests grow to use spare state money to deal with crises in Flint and the Detroit Public Schools.

"We received assurances that higher education will be a higher than average priority," Daniel Hurley, the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities, told the Free Press. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to announce his budget for 2016-17 on Feb. 10. An Atlanta education lawyer is following this story closely.

The association, which lobbies lawmakers on behalf of the public universities, recently published its legislative policy priorities. They center on making universities affordable and improving success for students.

The document outlines a number of policy positions — including making sure the universities retain their autonomy to control their campus on issues like how to handle sexual assaults on campuses.

The association also wants to get rid of a tuition cap, or restraint, lawmakers have put on the schools in recent years.

"The arrangement, known as 'tuition restraint' or 'tuition caps' can actually work against state and institutional objectives to keep college affordable and improve student success," the report says. "The utilization of state-imposed price controls on tuition in an era of dwindling or static state appropriations hamstrings the ability of universities to drive resources into academic and student support areas that would in turn improve their performance on state metrics.

"Other flaws associated with state-imposed caps on tuition increases include the fact that the impact on universities varies greatly based on the institutions’ base dollar tuition prices, and that they punish institutions that have historically kept tuition rates lower." A nursing degree equips students with theory-based knowledge and skills to work in many of the new and expanding fields of healthcare and nursing.

But its three highest priorities center on money coming from the state.

It wants to see the state increase its state-based financial aid for students, increase state operating support and provide money for capital improvements on campuses.

"Constructing technologically  and environmentally sophisticated campus facilities requires a financing partnership between the state and its public universities," the report says. "Unfortunately, the state has significantly reduced the amount of capital construction money it has invested in its state university campuses. Capital outlay funding bills are ad hoc and irregular in nature. Only two university projects have received planning authorization since 2010."

There are no specific dollar amounts attached to each priority.

"We are not being specific in requests," Hurley said. "We want them to do what they can do. We're trying to encourage them to take a long-term view of investing in higher education."

02 February 2016


Original Story: freep.com

A guilty plea hearing in a corruption case involving ex-Detroit school principal Kenyetta Wilbourn Snapp has been postponed due to the judge being sick.

Snapp, who faces bribery and tax evasion charges, was scheduled to plead guilty at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge David Lawson to her role in a kickback scheme involving a tutoring contract. She is accused of helping a vendor win a tutoring contract in exchange for money. A Cleveland education lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Snapp has previously admitted to the Free Press in exclusive interviews that she has broken the law, including burying a student’s parent with school funds.

But she committed crimes because — Snapp has claimed — she wanted to help the underprivileged, and doing things on the sly became easy.

Snapp, who once drove a Maserati with a Gucci vanity plate while running ailing Detroit schools,  is accused of steering to a businesswoman who gave her money in return. An Atlanta education lawyer is following this story closely.

That businesswoman is Glynis Thornton and her company, Making a Difference Everyday, received a contract to provide after-school tutoring services for students at Denby and Mumford, where Snapp became principal in 2013.

Thornton also was indicted , along with Paulette Horton, an independent contractor connected to Thornton's company. Both women have cut deals in the case.

According to federal prosecutors, Thornton disguised payments to Snapp by taking checks that were written to her company, depositing them and then withdrawing the money and giving it to Snapp. The payments totaled $58,050, with Horton keeping 10% of the money, according to the indictment.

The three women were each charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, federal program bribery, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to launder money. Snapp, in addition, was charged with federal tax evasion and Horton was charged with failure to file a federal income tax return. An Ann Arbor IT services company delivers wireless networking solutions that help businesses meet the growing demands of today's global marketplace.

Snapp has long been the central figure in a federal corruption investigation into the Education Achievement Authority, the state reform district, established by Gov. Rick Snyder, for the lowest-performing schools. The EAA oversees 15 schools in Detroit.

The EAA had given principals primary authority for choosing vendors for their schools for after-school tutoring, the indictment says. But unbeknownst to Snapp, the FBI was watching her and building a corruption case against her and others.

Since its formation, the EAA has taken on only 15 schools in Detroit and has had a rocky existence. Enrollment has dropped from nearly 10,000 students during its first year to about 7,000 today. Achievement has lagged and there have been controversies over spending.

Snapp  was a rising star in the Detroit Public Schools and was hailed as a turnaround specialist at Denby before she moved to Mumford. Both schools were part of the DPS before they were placed in the EAA in 2012. A criminal justice degree prepares students for a professional career in the criminal justice system.

Snapp abruptly resigned from the EAA in November 2014 after federal agents raided her apartment in downtown Detroit. Six months after she resigned, the EAA received a letter from the FBI saying Snapp was under investigation.

Snapp told the Free Press in October that she had agreed to a deal to plead guilty to bribery and tax evasion. Five weeks after her interview, the indictment was unsealed.

01 December 2015


Original Story: detroitnews.com

In some Michigan school districts, half or more of students are chronically absent, according to newly released state data.

In Detroit Public Schools, nearly two of three students (64.8 percent) missed at least 10 days in 2014-15, according to statistics issued Friday by the state Center for Educational Performance and Information. Michigan considers students who miss 10 or more days of school a year chronically absent.

Other districts with high rates include Benton Harbor (48.4 percent), Flint (54.2 percent), River Rouge (57.2 percent) and Pontiac (48.6 percent). All are in communities where more than a third of residents live below the poverty line, according to census data. A Harrisonburg education lawyer represents clients in education law matters.

Rural districts are not immune. The Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools in northeastern lower Michigan, where three-quarters of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches, has a chronically absent rate of 38.5 percent.

Even some districts with less poverty struggle with high absentee rates. More than half of the districts in Wayne and Macomb counties are at 25 percent or higher, including some in relatively prosperous communities such as Wyandotte (35.4 percent) and St. Clair Shores (Lakeview Public Schools, 30.1 percent).

By contrast, the district with the lowest rate in Metro Detroit is one of the state’s wealthiest, Birmingham, where 3.5 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Just 12 percent of Birmingham students were chronically absent during the last school year.

A new Michigan law that takes effect in June aims to encourage attendance by allowing the state to halt welfare benefits to families whose children are chronically absent.

Supporters say the measure will force parents to be sure their children go to school; advocates for the poor and some educators say the law is punitive and will end up hurting the children it’s trying to help.

“I do not see this as a big cost-saving measure for the state of Michigan; rather, a way to encourage attendance,” said Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, who sponsored the measure that became Public Act 56. “The best defense against poverty is a good education, and that only happens when a child is in class. It’s about opportunity.”

Rep. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, D-Detroit, calls the law “punitive and wrong.”

“Public Act 56 ... deprives the other members of the family needed assistance based on the actions of just one member of the family,” she said.

Under the measure, a family would lose eligibility for cash aid if a child between 6 and 15 doesn’t meet attendance requirements. Dependent children 16 or older who haven’t graduated from high school would lose aid if they don’t meet the requirements.

Cash assistance would be restored if a student shows up for 21 straight school days. The law codifies a policy enforced since 2012 by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Officials with some of the districts with the highest absentee rates did not respond to requests for comment by The Detroit News, including Detroit, Flint and River Rouge.

District representatives interviewed by The News say they are trying to tackle problems that cause students to miss school. A Lexington education lawyer assist clients with grant applications, school funding matters, and in contract disputes.

Poverty can produce numerous factors that cause chronic absenteeism, said Kelley Williams, Pontiac schools superintendent.

“Some of the reasons we’ve heard are homelessness, lack of transportation, illness, not having clothes/uniforms or school supplies, parent illnesses and lack of employment,” said Williams.

“Our success coaches work with the families to identify and remove these barriers,” she said. “They can provide uniforms, or for example, if a family is homeless, they find out why, refer them to the homeless student liaison, and connect them with outside agencies that can assist.”

Staff members work with the parents of sick students to ensure children get healthy and return to classes sooner.

Chronic absenteeism in Pontiac has remained stubbornly high — its rate in 2012-13 was virtually identical, at 48.4 percent. A Boston education lawyer is following the details of this story.

In the Clintondale Community Schools, building administrators reach out to students and parents when attendance falls off. Once students returns, teachers help them get back up to speed.

“Today’s teachers are placing more resources online in order to better accommodate students who have difficult circumstances and are also spending time after school to catch students up,” Superintendent Greg Green said.

The approach seems to be paying off in the Macomb County district, where the rate of chronic absences fell from 53 percent in 2012-13 to 48.7 percent in 2014-15.

Joseph Perrera, Whittemore-Prescott superintendent, said the distance some students have to travel to the rural district’s two schools may contribute to its high rate of absenteeism. The district is south of Highway 55, between West Branch and Tawas City.

“This is a beautiful area of farmland, and all of our students are bused,” he said. “So if they miss a bus and the parents can’t bring them, that can be an issue.”

Perrera added that “both principals are actively trying to communicate with parents. I do know that they reach out.”

In the Ecorse Public Schools, the rate of chronic absence edged upward from 46.2 percent in 2011-12 to 48.1 percent in 2014-15, though it’s below that of neighboring River Rouge, a community with similar demographics.

Ecorse Superintendent Thomas Parker said the district is using a holistic approach to encourage regular class attendance. A Boston education lawyer has extensive experience in advising public and private educational institutions.

At Ecorse High School, each student meets daily with a “caring adult” who tracks attendance and helps set academic and cultural goals. In elementary schools, teachers watch attendance data and call parents to “identify how and why students are not in school,” Parker said.

The key, he added, is making students feel others care about them. “We do not do this in a negative way,” he said.

Many school officials and education experts argue that approach is more likely to boost attendance than cutting aid to the families of truant students.

“It is unfair to families with multiple children who may have one child who refuses to follow the attendance rules,” said Kevin M. Ivers, superintendent of the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency, which includes Benton Harbor schools. An Idaho education attorney assists clients with board governance, bylaw, and premises liability issues.

Kenneth Wong, chairman of the education department at Brown University, calls withholding payments a “fairly drastic measure.”

“I am not aware that many states are taking this approach,” he said. “If Michigan is implementing this strategy, perhaps local and state agencies can build in a multistage process, which may include warnings, home visitation, coaching, community partnership, and then ultimately withholding welfare payments.”

To Percy Bates, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Michigan, Public Act 56 is “misdirected.”

“... This proposal is not likely to encourage greater school attendance,” he said. “In fact, withholding welfare payments from these families is likely to increase truancy rather than produce the apparent desired consequence.” An Atlanta education lawyer is following this story closely.

Pscholka, the law’s sponsor, said he saw the need for state action during years of mentoring students in the Benton Harbor schools.

“Teachers complained constantly about truancy, and how they had no chance of educating the children when they were missing,” he said. “They thought this would be a great incentive for parents.”

Pscholka argues that some adults need to be persuaded to get their children to school each day: “Responsible parenting is the key to breaking this cycle.”


Original Story: mlive.com 

ROCKFORD, MI -- A favorite local shoe brand apparently has an image problem in the Big Apple.

Merrell's big deal with Tough Mudder is generating a bit of a yawn from the New York Post which described Wolverine Worldwide's biggest brand as "dull" in one headline.

"Merrell, the sleepy shoe company from Michigan, is getting down and dirty to lure millennials," wrote the New York Post. A Washington DC business lawyer provides professional legal counsel and extensive experience in many aspects of business law.

The footwear brand of "affluent" middle-agers is counting on "hipsterville" Tough Mudder to make Merrell cool with a younger generation.

The multi-year partnership deal is the brand's biggest investment so far, Jim Gabel, president of Wolverine's Performance Group, told Post reporter Lisa Fickenscher.

Gabel is now overseeing Merrell after jettisoning the brand's president in the spring. Gabel's taking over day-to-day leadership was the fastest way to capitalize on the global opportunity of the brand, the company spokesman said at the time.

"Tough Mudder shares our vision of wit and grit, and together we are committed to inspiring others to overcome obstacles by eliminating barriers to enjoying the outdoors," Gabel said in a statement announcing the deal. A Cleveland business lawyer is following this story closely.

Along with the sponsorship, Merrell will introduce a line of trail shoes in early 2016 targeted at Tough Mudder athletes. Unlike Merrell's traditional earth hues, this new generation of footwear will be brightly colored.

Merrell will be the main sponsor of more than 60 Tough Mudder events in 2016 that are expected to draw more than 2 million participants. Merrell will also be the presenting partner for Tough Mudder Half, a new five-mile obstacle course with a dozen obstacles being added in 2016.

"Tough Mudder is more than an event – it's a lifestyle based on teamwork, courage, personal accomplishment, and fun, and our partnership with Merrell reflects these shared values," said Will Dean, Tough Mudder's CEO and co-founder.

Another reason the collaboration makes sense: Participants often lose their shoes in the muddy obstacle courses, Dean told Fickenscher. A Maine business lawyer represents clients in business transactions.

Merrell will provide the apparel and outdoor gear given to obstacle course finishers.

"Wearing Merrell tells the world you love the outdoors," said Linda Brunzell, Merrell's chief marketing officer. "Our co-developed apparel will not only celebrate the accomplishment of becoming a Mudder, but will enhance the participant experience."

11 November 2015


Original Story: detroitnews.com

Wayne County suburbs increasingly are buying tax-foreclosed homes and selling them to developers who flip them for profits, prompting criticism that city officials are driving residents from their homes. A Rochester real estate lawyer is following this story closely.

In Lincoln Park, several former owners still living in their homes are pleading with city officials to stop the developers from evicting them. The city bought 90 tax-foreclosed homes this summer from the county treasurer before they could be sold at an annual auction open to the public.

The city’s goal was to stop blight and prevent absentee landlords from purchasing the homes. But former owners including Marvin Barski Jr. said they should have another chance to save their homes. He lost a brick ranch that his family has owned for 60 years because of an unpaid $1,200 bill.

He just recently got an eviction notice from the developer, JSR Funding, based in Warren.

“It has made me so sick,” said Barski, 58, an aircraft mechanic. “This house means everything to me. I grew up in this house. ... I don’t know where I will go.”

Similar stories are echoing throughout the county, as suburbs are taking advantage of a county policy that allows municipalities to buy properties before the online auction. Taylor purchased 106 properties, while Redford Township took 76, Dearborn, 35, and Garden City, 28.

After pleas to the City Council, Dearborn recently resold eight occupied tax-foreclosed homes to former owners with restrictions they maintain them, a city spokeswoman said.

Barski could have avoided foreclosure. By law, homes are foreclosed after taxes go unpaid for three years. A Rochester real estate lawyer assists clients with relations between owners, relations between owners and the community, and in landlord and tenant relations.

Barski missed several deadlines to make payments on 2012 taxes, but was current on 2013-2015 bills. He said he was confused, had surgery and didn’t realize paying the oldest debt would prevent foreclosure.

“I feel dumb, gullible and stupid,” said Barski.

Lincoln Park Emergency Manager Brad Coulter said he can’t help Barski or other homeowners who haven’t paid their tax bills because the city can’t go back on the contract with the developer, which was competitively bid.

“If they had gone through the tax auction, they’d be going through the same system,” Coulter said of the former homeowners. “We are in this tough spot of ‘Where have you been for the last six months?’”

“We could have helped point you toward assistance.”The city sold the 90 homes to JSR for the $836,000 in back taxes owed. That’s the amount Lincoln Park paid the county for the homes.

JSR paid the current summer taxes and water bills and will invest at least $15,000 per house rehabbing them. The company keeps any profit from the sale.

“The city’s housing stock is significantly improved and taxable values are increased,” Jim Budziak of JSR wrote in an email to The News. “Had the city not exercised its right of first refusal, the properties would have been sold at the Wayne County auction and the city would be subject to the whims of individual/investor auction purchasers.”

Garden City has a similar deal with JSR to rehab 17 homes. Mayor Randy Walker said he feels sympathy for homeowners but the program will help bring new residents in.

“We have to bring property values back up,” Walker said. “I don’t buy into these people saying they had no idea (about the foreclosure). ... There is a consequence for everything.”

Barski’s attorney Tarek Baydoun argues the developer’s contract should be voided because it doesn’t meet the law’s requirement that there be a “public purpose” when the city buys an owner-occupied tax foreclosure. Metro Detroit homeowners concerned about foreclosures should contact a Rochester real estate lawyer at the Rochester Law Center.

“That’s not good for the city to take houses from people who have equity in their houses,” said Baydoun, who also has clients in Garden City.

In Redford Township, Michael Dennis, the director of the community development department, said developers have helped displaced homeowners find new homes.

Brandy Gutierrez is waiting to see if JSR follows through evicting her from her Lincoln Park home. She said her estranged husband never told her he wasn’t paying the taxes until the unpaid bill accumulated to nearly $12,000. She was able to borrow enough to pay about $8,000 in December and got on a payment plan. A Tarpon Springs custom home builder offers portfolio plans that can be altered to suit your personal lifestyle.

County officials say she didn’t make those payments and Lincoln Park bought the home in July. Gutierrez said county staffers told her she had until October to pay and went to the city that month with a $4,000 cashier’s check hoping to save it.

She hasn’t told her two kids, 10 and 12, that they might soon lose the home.

“I am afraid tomorrow they could throw me out,” Gutierrez said. “I can’t sleep. I can’t eat.”