VICTORY FOR GWEN MINGO: JUDGE PENNIE MILLENDER HALTS EVICTION, RECOGNIZES HOME OWNERSHIP

Gwen Mingo (r) and niece Courtnee Seely after court victory March 14, 2017

Judge Millender stops eviction, finally acknowledges documents showing Mingo’s mortgage paid off in 2006, after 3rdCC refused to do so

Atty. for Madison Capital Funding, LLC threatens Mingo before hearing, but loses anyway

By Diane Bukowski 

March 16, 2018

36th DC Judge B. Pennie Millender

DETROIT – On the brink of eviction from her classic Brush Park home due to a fraudulent mortgage foreclosure, community leader Gwendolyn Mingo finally got a judge to acknowledge documents showing that her mortgage was paid off in 2006.

Thirty-Sixth District Court Judge Pennie Millender thereby stopped her eviction by Madison Capital Funding, LLC, a company with $9.1 billion in assets. The judge set the next hearing on the matter for April 5 at 10 a.m. A jury trial is still possible though not likely.

“Your honor, the mortgage was paid in 2006 when my husband passed,” Mingo told Judge Millender March 14. “We had what you call credit life insurance which paid the whole mortgage to Washington Mutual. I have documents that have never been seen by any judge or ruled upon. The U.S. Constitution provides that no citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.”

As head of the Brush Park Citizens District Council, Mingo led a decades-long battle to save the homes of the region’s Black majority residents from a white supremacist takeover.

During this hearing, she was up against Madison Capital Funding, LLC, a national finance company with $9.1 billion in assets, represented by Southfield-based attorney Eric K. Wein. Wein appears to have been an independent hired gun for Madison Capital, unassociated with any law firm. Prior to the hearing, Mingo said, Wein took her outside the courtroom and brutally threatened her.  She said the company has been harassing her daily with multiple phone calls.

In her answer to Madison Capital’s eviction complaint, Mingo noted among other issues:

 

AND

Judge Millender reviewed Mingo’s documents and read them into the record, actions which Third Judicial Circuit Court judges earlier refused to take. The documents  consisted of two simple letters from Washington Mutual and Chase Banks. Washington Mutual said in its letter, “You have paid off your mortgage and the mortgagee no longer has an interest in your home.” (See filing by Mingo at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Gwen-Mingo-documents.compressed.pdf .)

HQ of Madison Capital Funding, LLC is in Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Mingo explained that while her case was in circuit court, Judge Robert Ziolkowski was about to rule in her favor, but was suddenly removed from her case by then acting Chief Judge Patricia Fresard, who assigned the case to Judge Lita Popke. Mingo said then the key documents went missing from her file, and later the entire file disappeared.

Then the Michigan Supreme Court instituted a mandatory e-filing procedure for several Circuit Courts including the Third Circuit.

“Judge Fresard wouldn’t acknowledge the hard copies that I gave her; she said they had to be e-filed,” Mingo said. “I asked her could I read them into the record. She denied me the opportunity to read them into the record. All I’m saying your honor, if you have documents saying your mortgage was paid off the court should consider those documents. That is a denial of due process.”

Mingo said she tried to e-file the documents 27 times, but the system rejected them 27 times. She said later Chief Judge Robert Colombo ordered that the e-filing be waived, but her judge refused to comply.

“She would not recognize his order,” Mingo said. “She would not entertain these documents. She said she would lose her job if she even recognized that they exist.”

Gwen Mingo at her Brush Park home. She led a valiant campaign to stop the takeover of the storied Black neighborhood.

Wein sputtered that there had been a sheriff’s sale, he had the sheriff’s deed, and Madison Capital had bought the property at auction. They waited out the six-month redemption period during which Mingo would have had to pay for the house again, and then took eviction action.

But Judge Millender said, “It does seem there are documents that she paid the mortgage so I don’t think I have any jurisdiction over this matter. . . .you guys have to do a quiet title action. I am looking at two documents, one reads ‘the mortgage is paid off, the mortgagee no longer has an interest in your home,’ issued Jan. 29, 2008. There’s something in here from Chase that reads $0 is due on all charges.”

Millender added later, “I’ve had a couple of cases where the Wayne County Treasurer sold properties they didn’t even own.”

Millender adjourned the hearing until April 5 at 10 a.m. to give Mingo a chance to get a copy of her verification of mortgage, and give Wein the opportunity to double check the documents Mingo presented.

Black residents of Brush Park were driven out by arson and other means during the city’s corporate gentrification campaign.

Afterward, Wein approached Mingo and her niece Courtnee Seely again, complaining about the cost to his company of getting needed documents, and saying he needed her Social Security number.

After VOD threatened to tape the conversation, he went away.

Mingo told VOD thousands of Detroit residents continue to be summarily removed from their homes using similar illegal methods.

“For years I fought the illegal displacement of the residents of Brush Park,” Mingo said, referring to the time she was head of the Brush Park Citizens District Council. “It seemed to follow a pattern. The residents were all packed up, but they were really homeless with no money to move and no place to go. They were supposed to get $18,000 each in moving expenses from the city but they never did. There was supposed to be a relocation office set up in the neighborhood, but it never was. Most of the people forced out from Brush Park and the Brewster projects didn’t live long afterward.”

Mingo, who was a teacher, said she had worked all her life and was mortified to be victimized by the fraudulent eviction action taken by the banks and courts.

“Leaders across the nation have to come together to stop this,” she said. “There is no middle class anymore, just the super-rich. They are exterminating us, like they did in the concentration camps.”

RELATED STORIES: 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2018/02/27/black-history-month-forum-honors-civil-rights-champion-gwen-mingo-forced-out-of-her-home/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/02/15/duggans-decades-long-detroit-demolition-derby/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/05/14/duggan-gilbert-target-brush-park-after-murder-arson-evictions-drove-black-residents-out/  

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/06/25/brush-park-historic-area-can-we-trust-those-who-wrecked-it-to-restore-it/  

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Brush-Park-articles-1995-to-2004-Michigan-Citizen-Ron-Seigel-1.pdf


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