Dirty Deeds and Toxic Title

As the mortgage meltdown continues a Business Week cover story focuses on the crisis here in Buffalo, NY and what might be done when the bank walks away.
Buffalo City Court Prosecutor Cindy Cooper
On Dec. 17 in a windowless Buffalo courtroom, Cindy T. Cooper, a prosecutor for the city, buzzes among a dozen men in suits, cutting deals. "You've got to unboard [the house], go in, and clean it out," she tells one. "If all the repairs are done quickly, I wouldn't ask for any fines." To another, she says, "the gutters weren't done right," and asks to see receipts for the work. It's "Bank Day" in Judge Henry J. Nowak's housing courtroom, more typically a venue where landlords and tenants duke it out read the rest...
Here's a podcast between Business Week executive editor John Byrne and senior writer Michael Orey. Sound track courtesy of Radio Head - House of Cards - here via YouTube.

A couple related posts - Scourage of a Beaten Down Buffalo from a September 2007 New York Times article, where we learn that Buffalo has the second highest per capita rate of vacancy in the country. Housing Court in Cleveland from September 2006 where local activist Michele Johnson and Housing Court Judge Henry Nowak visit with Cleveland's Housing Court Judge Pianka. Last year Judge Nowak presented at the National Vacant Properties Campaign first annual conference in Pittsburgh - Reclaiming Vacant Properies.
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STEEL said...

One thing that story got wrong is that they talked about the houses in Buffalo being a problem resulting from THE housing mortgage melt down crisis when in reality the Buffalo inner city abandonment and neglect has nothing to do with THE mortgage melt down. The Buffalo area actually has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country.

Also isn't the city its self the largest delinquent owner in the city.

Anonymous said...

Did Cindy Cooper take Diane Devlin's position?

Probably more foreclosures on new-builds than existing homes in Buffalo. Steel is right- lazy writing in that story.

Anonymous said...

Steel - Do you have statistics to back up your claim that Buffalo has one of the lowest foreclosure rates in the country?

The subprime mortgage crisis plays a role in Buffalo's housing problem as well as many other factors.

I don't understand where this thought comes from that Buffalo somehow lucked out of the mortgage crisis. It's affecting all communities.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about 'one of the lowest' but Buffalo does enjoy a relatively low foreclosure rate:


STEEL said...


Buffalo comes in at # 83 out of 100 metros surveyed.

STEEL said...

Buffalo did not have the extreme price real estate price pressure that many areas of the country have had. Buffalo had no bubble so there was no bubble to burst. Most real estate in Buffalo is affordable to most people.

The foreclosures on the east side are not driven by the mortgage melt down issue. It is driven by unscrupulous dealings often called flipping.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how the media seems to focus on cities like Buffalo and Cleveland in regard to the mortgage meltdown when Florida, Nevada and California have the highest foreclosure problems. I guess the MSM has been given its orders not to sully the Sun Belt myth/hype.