you have the power to solve this problem
Did you know that every day in Ohio courtrooms, some of the most vulnerable members of our society - single mothers, the elderly, victims of domestic violence - face being fined in excess of $10,000.00, arrested, and jailed simply because they do not have the money to maintain their properties? Take the case of 78-year old James Mader. Mr. Mader purchased two properties in Cleveland with the idea that rental income would provide some much-needed income for himself and his family. Things didn't go as planned (Mr. Mader's son was the one who did most of the work on the properties and he passed away unexpectedly) and Mr. Mader was summoned to housing court. Even after he conceded the properties were more than he could handle and sold them, he was still sentenced to 45 days in jail. Real jail. While serving out his sentence, Mr. Mader, who had to walk into jail on a cane, suffered a heart attack.
So, right off the bat, let's be clear and honest with one another. If you are looking to make friends at city hall or find an organization to work with that is well-liked by the powers that be, the Project is not the place for your skills. Our founder has carried and funded litigation against multiple cities; against the Ohio Attorney General's Office; against many of the largest banks on Wall Street. We are about being disruptive. Why? Because the abandoned homes problem was not started by homeowners (yet homeowners are the only ones going to jail). It was launched by greedy bankers and dishonest Wall Street fat-cats targeting urban cities and uneducated borrowers with garbage, subprime loans. Thereafter, the abandoned homes problem has increased as many cities have worked against those who presented any solution to the problem that was not willing to be controlled by government bureaucrats and funnel properties to county landbanks. Landbanks do not work. Have you ever asked yourself: Why is there no city landbank in Beverly Hills?
We're looking for a few good lawyers who realize that but for the grace of God, it could have been your grandfather sitting in a Cleveland workhouse for 45 days. From lobbying state lawmakers to our petitions on Change.org to our daily representation of families facing housing court prosecution, one thing is for certain: we've made a lot of work for ourselves.
We could use a hand.
The abandoned homes problem encompasses far more than just violation notices and housing court prosecution. Under current Ohio law, there is no "one and done" application applied to housing court defendants. Cities spend their resources jailing and fining defendants who lack the resources to solve the root cause of their hardship: family issues, healthcare costs for seniors, issues with citizenship status, incarcerated spouses, domestic violence, etc. That is why we need your help. In order to solve the abandoned homes problem, the Project must have the ability to litigate in multiple areas of the law including, but not limited to, our own ability to carry civil rights litigation in the federal court system and be efficient and effective at the appellate level. This table illustrates many of the root causes of abandoned homes:
Needs for Highly-Specialized Skillsets
Needs for Highly-Specialized Skillsets
We also seek volunteers with more specialized areas of expertise to meet the growing needs of our clients.
Counsel on large-scale litigation matters
Provide independent counsel for long-term litigation and appeals at the state and federal levels
Provide advanced expertise and mentorship to newly licensed attorneys (for senior, experienced attorneys only)
Lead legal research and writing projects: varying in scope from issue briefs and white papers to large-scale collaborative research and writing projects
Develop our internal litigation processes