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tv   Jodie Adams Kirshner Broke  CSPAN  January 5, 2020 1:20am-2:31am EST

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justice system is, it has and continues to be, i still think there are behavioral differences among groups that lead to representatives in that system. >> to watch the rest of this interview and find more episodes of in-depth, this is our website, and click on the in-depth tab near the top of the page. >> good evening, everybody. that's a good response for c-span. [laughter] my name is peter, i'm a professor at the university law school. the key center, we take very serious the proposition in our generation civil rights challenge. see the stories we have here provide a personal narrative of what it means to be living in a city dominated with racism. i want to give a shout out to
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our agent program, the dealers were sponsor of this, supported by the foundation. we just ended our fourth which we are accelerating, we are announcing our fifth. it's a program that takes 25 or 30 individuals working in organizations dedicated to racial equity and takes a year long process in trying to develop skills, teach a lesson, build capacity and fellowship that enables better collaboration and equity. thus the deal with our partners. i will introduce you now from the bookstore. [applause] >> hello, everybody. thanks for coming. i owned pages bookshop in the rosedale area near where i am. we are so happy to be here
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tonight, jodi talked about the book. he's not read the book. it's an easy read. i think because it's so engaging with the characters in the book. jodi is a research professor and new york university previously in the law faculty, she also teaches bankruptcy law at columbia law. she selected member of the american law institute, past her member of the council relations enough technical advisor to the bank for international settlements. she's received a prestigious multiyear grant from the foundation to research her book. until 2014, she was a law professor at cambridge university where she also served as a deputy director of the cambridge program. the deputy director of the center of the corporate commercial flock. as a fellow of the college. she received her undergraduate
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degree from harvard university and graduate degrees in law and in journalism from columbia university. she lives in new york city currently. shelby joined today by stephen henderson whose our local pulitzer prize-winning journalist and the host of detroit today. we may have a couple other guests join up here on the panel discussion were profiled in the book and will escort them in when they arrive. with that, what we are going to do is have jodi start off, she'll talk about the book and there will be in conversation with steven and they open it up to questions and answers. so i will hand this microphone, you don't need them.
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>> thank you so much for being here. i'm excited and have some trepidation about this for you. this is your city, this is where he lived and i'm eager to hear your responses and hope we have as much time in conversation as possible. i'm going to keep my remarks to a minimum and what i would like to do is, this is a book that has seven people living in detroit during and after the city of bankruptcy. downtown, it's not about a book about midtown, it's about a neighborhood where the people live and i don't -- the time period of the book ends in 2018. there has been some changes since then. i would like to introduce you to the people in the book.
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i'm really glad to see you both. quickly radio a short page and go ahead and begin to talk about it. do you want to introduce yourselves? >> i'll do it. >> speak into the mic. >> you want to say anymore? correct me if you don't like the house is a lifelong detroit or. his family moved here, made it in the car industry, bought a
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house in morningside. charles has his block changed since then. sixteen houses are occupied and you've wondered whether you want to stay in detroit. >> i will stay in detroit. >> you will stay. i think in a way, you are a metaphor for detroit. you were a contractor you led to the financial crisis, you own a home you were proud to own in a neighborhood you felt was very stable with families who played outside and played on the porch.
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you had a hard time thinking use of your construction skills and then you have a house you bought for two years and it turns out standing property taxes, you knew about the later year end not the earlier year and has struggled to try to make it here. >> to come out of nowhere. every so often. within six months with investments, the house was in foreclosure. i was told nothing about it. >> you were both very heroic and i'm so grateful for spending all the time talking over the years in opening your lives to me. >> i needed the story to get
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out. thousands of other people wouldn't get a chance. you get everybody around and it doesn't seemed like it changes after two years. it's a different thing going on. it's different than is in the neighborhood. >> thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your time and thank you for being here tonight. it means a lot to me. >> i think about the bankruptcy, the municipality in the city of detroit and the municipality and left the people bankrupt. what can make a comeback at a
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time and prepping by the name of schneider, come in the city of detroit. you make a national statement coming in and buying the home after he would call jenna vacation. it's basically what happened here in the city of the great, it's been a plan for the longest time. it is downtown. basically it's the city of detroit. overall, we are going to tear that down and have a new plan. john lewis type of people in the city like detroit. overall in a situation like that, the next thing you know is
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i will be dying. we can't even work anymore. whatever happened here. who speaks for the middleman? ours was free. we got this big development on. it's private money, not private enough for the citizen to walk, they were allowed to walk all those years. >> let me tell you about the other people in the book, quickly. one is robin who has opportunities from the bankruptcy, he has been in the
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past a filmmaker in l.a. but look for opportunities in the real estate market and comes to detroit and investing in detroit right before the financial crisis hit. ultimately, he's the one who was trying to do good in the city of detroit, wants to do meaningful products and ultimately have a hard time back into productive use. he tells a story about being more than one might think. it's a very compelling story as most of you know many of the aspects of the economy here are not functioning as they do in other parts of the country including the mortgage market,
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he wanted to be a homeowner and adopted some children from a tive and really wants them to have a stable home to come to and he buys the house on the contract and he pays the contract, renovates the house and it turns out the woman who sold it to him has not been paying property taxes. he was is the house to the investment company and ultimately the house was burned down. all lifelong detroit or, he's lived in bright more is a 67 bryant and predominantly is a crucial moment in her life. her family didn't have the way to leave.
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she has been living there for her life. she was on the board of city organizations, ultimately you see her and her role in the breakdown because of everything in immigration. another person in the book, lola, she is unfortunately not working the night shift at the chrysler plant so isn't here to be here tonight. she's a single mother in her late 20s. she had a dream of starting business, she has a four year college degree but she's commuting 80 miles each way, she was commuting 80 miles each way. her job at the center, we have
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some talking. her minimum wage job and struggling to stay in her house but she does not feel very safe there and worrying about her daughter's education in the detroit school system. a system where students receive past the amount of funding a student in boston. finally, joe, a white man from new jersey who has come to detroit with a lot of ideas and talents and education and cash. he buys a commercial space and has ideas of starting a business in the he is a lack of and funding trouble finding money to renovate the space. his wife and his daughter find him. his daughter is quite successful here. working in restaurants and bars.
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he has a new baby and i think we see him encountering a lot of the problems that lifelong detroiters face even as someone who has come much more recently worried about the neighborhood and the baby going to school, trying to get by in an economy where there's a lot of disposable cash to pay for things like trees. i want to quickly read one passage from the book. it's from early on in the book but i think it illustrates how the people are ultimately the cities. this is early on.
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they came in person to collect the payment. she indicated the houses condition. they didn't know she bought it for $2100. he thanked her and called her and struggled. he got lucky and finally used it. they shorted bills and did without but he couldn't afford to replace the roof. across the country, speculators made purchases of properties and contracts like the one he signed for the properties from their
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years on unsophisticated buyers, often in minority communities. properties left vacant and in neighborhoods with prospects. its long-term investments and speculators contracts to liquidate their homes and avoid regulations that would have applied to those arrangements. speculators targeted contracts populations similar to those for the prime mortgages. in the case of the contract, home ownership would be consumer protection.
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that made it likely to make expenditures to leave them in the contracts. caught up in making it livable for the larger family, where he never confirmed that courtney taylor was paying the property taxes on the house. most states including michigan didn't require contracts to be recorded. few contracts needed to end and ownership. by february 2016, at least 300 properties about primary participant for contracts, a dallas-based management firm had entered detroit for not payment of property taxes. $8000 and then resold the
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properties on contracts. at that time, they making the house comfortable and he and his family had grown. brown carpet, lots of photographs, other selfless and radiators. after he paid courtney taylor in person, he suddenly directed him to find money orders. they wondered about the changes and decided not to ask questions. they didn't want to threaten the home ownership within his reach. i will pass it to your. [applause] >> i want to start with the big
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picture question. when you read your stories in your book and you get some of this story, it's impossible to think of a native detroit or not to think back to a time when things were different in the city, when there was more opportunity and when it seems as though possibilities were a lot more plentiful. i was born in the city in the 70s in a neighborhood but looks a lot like what they are describing about where they live and it's a fermented community in the story you're telling in the book. i can remember that neighborhood being much more safe than it is today. they were all african-american, they all had employment. there was value in those homes
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that should, according to the way invest them in the country should have produced an incredible amount of generational wealth or people like us who are still here. i wanted to talk a little about what terms and when it turned and i to take all that away. i do a lot of work in the neighborhood where i was born now and i can't help but think of a postscript to migration and the opportunity that they gave to people who took advantage of but. what did we do wrong? what did we do wrong with the kind of ways the americans were able to make in the cities in the 60s and 70s that now are virtually worthless? >> do you mean primarily the
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housing piece? in a way, this is an example of what bankruptcy can't do when you balance a budget, you don't return property value that was lost. you don't return the property tax revenue. they generated in any kind of direct way. if we look at the more recent piece and do not all picture because it's very complicated, the demographics, 80% african-americans, that is the population we know is targeted. in 2005, nearly 70% of mortgages in detroit that were written were sometimes the national percentage for that year was 24%. that means in real terms in personal wealth, most people
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their wealth is in the homes. that's especially true in this demographic. so you see sucking of wealth from detroit and cities like it in terms of tax revenues and personal wealth. we also note in detroit, houses were secured less wealth than they were in other places, there is a practice of zombie foreclosure where things didn't complete the foreclosure so they weren't on the hook for paying property taxes. then there's the story the they begin to talk about all of this ends up with this city that's in limbo right investors to come in to fund profits and housing in other parts of the country but into trite often found the
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houses were stopped, there wasn't enough rental demand, it wasn't going to be profitable to on the properties and began to offload them through instruments like land contracts which carried great risks, echoing that from decades ago. >> so when you think about the last decade, putting it in the larger context, between what we see here and what we see and other cities and always believed that the effect here more dramatic and widespread than in other places in chicago, baltimore, washington d.c., they've been able to recover from the effects of the things you're talking about. there are tremendous problems of their own in the demographics i meant all about, americans
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suffer more than other populations is also true but have opportunities that we don't hear. what's your sense of that? >> let me tell you some of what miles told me. i don't want to speak for you so please jump in as you want to but miles but the house when he was very young, amazingly. he had an understanding through real estate. ended up getting mortgage part. ended up getting a loan to make some repairs. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> the whole thing seemed like it was set up from the beginning. they start you off with something simple, catch up on some bills, p keep the property together and then the market goes up, your payment goes up. then it's time to go further and further and reach for your income. he was of week or something, then you foreclose. sixteen, 17 years. if you want to keep it, we help out on an extra two or 3000 and other stuff, here we go. you can finance it to go on to your mortgage and you'll be all
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right. then you find out it was like a class action suit they had, they were posting pupils payments 30 days late and they weren't even like cats. they were five days late, seven days late or whatever but they would say you had a late payment. then they changed all that. then they came up with something else. the neighbor loses his house, the whole block is losing the houses. >> before that happened, your plan was to be a landlord and you had bought another property -- [inaudible] >> that's when the problems started happening in keeping up with my income. the payments kept coming so started getting out of reach. then my credit wasn't good enough to keep the house.
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so i ended up letting it go because i couldn't afford it anymore. >> so the house you were arranging for the landlord situation ended up getting set on fire and burned down. you ultimately found a house that was being sold at a price you could afford that was a foreclosure option in roc about 100 houses in the auction that year. that's what they paid in the auction. [inaudible] >> the ones who didn't fail, they were put back on the market and they sell it to you six months before foreclosure products like when they brought the houses, they have stipulations on houses that they
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were to keep the houses up and pay the taxes but they didn't pay the taxes. they sell your house and tell you the taxes were paid. it only goes back so far. you either resurgence and say i can catch up with this but then you find out there was another year worth of taxes they didn't say anything about. now you are in foreclosure so you lose everything you put up. or you swallow the debt. try to keep it going because you have nowhere else to go. >> this is incredible. miles sold the house that was effectively already and foreclosure. having done everything right, checking the records, that the story you seem to hear of life in the city that has had to cut services, tax bills that had no relation to the value of house because it hadn't been appraised in a long time tax bills that were incorrect going to fake it
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off and that sort of thing. >> a lot of what you're pointing to in the book here is how the mortgage market is. it looked different than it does in other places. i wonder what you make of the possible solutions there. thanks still even after the bankruptcy and the investments in sudden neighborhoods, very reluctant to extend the mortgages to middle and lower income people in detroit on houses that are in middle class neighborhoods. cities like chicago or baltimore or boston, what's the solution to that? how do you fix the mortgage when
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it's been broken? >> since the financial crisis change and regulation on mortgage lenders has for better or worse, made it more expensive to write mortgages and they've been reluctant to write mortgages on properties, less than $50000 and you see the story of banks being unwilling to send appraisers into neighborhood warehouses are and also not having enough home sales taking place to come up with an appraisal. the city has various programs trying to feed mortgage market and all of the properties and ownership has flowed since the
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bankruptcy since the land bank. they own the last third of the property in the city. it has a variety of programs to many properties to handle individually so the programs starting properties into buckets with various ways as trying to restart this market houses that are pre-renovated with preapproved money for further renovations and joe's neighborhood which is a bad neighborhood, which is bordering some of the neighborhoods that remained stable throughout this history, neighborhoods like the university, you have started seeing some houses sell from the bank for lee substantially more than they have in the successes he was surprised some of the
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sales that were beginning to take place, it's very specific specific neighborhoods and many other programs has various qualifications that are difficult in the city with credit scores of the population in detroit which is the lowest scores of any city in the country. this is a problem and it's hard, to balance the budget. it's hard work. >> what you do about all the people who lost their equity in the all the money they got from the house? they lost because the on the person might have done that. >> that's very important. lost in a city that was a city
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of home ownership and now is a city of geordie renters and i know the statistics in the financial crisis are increasing from a factor of four to a factor of six. that's a generational consequence. you can use that to send them to college. you can send it for starting a business and if you lose your home and don't have access to that, that perpetuates itself. >> you all have bad credit from. from say ten years ago. the people who didn't leave detroit, everybody else left, when the banks didn't even want those houses. the people were still there, the
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speculators or prospectors can come through and choose all the good neighborhoods, the houses and facts when you hear about the auction and land bank when they saw the other houses. you get people from different states across the country. they can pay back taxes for two or three years. you've got guys going up on a couple hundred thousand dollars. you come out with two or $3000, or you want to do? who are derived from they will sell the house under contract. now they can give it to you and extend your life away because you didn't have anywhere else to go. they are felony in the never
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win. you can see on their face. you don't know where you are going or your next dollars coming from, you don't have anybody who has stability anymore because everybody lost the houses. >> detroit is in the top five profitable landlords among the stories that i heard during my time here, it gets me every time when you describe how when your parents move into the house, how your father planted in the backyard and how you dug up the rosebush when an investor who bought several houses there. it was time to leave the house. >> in my town, it was a
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bittersweet deal. we stayed in the home approximately 30 years. the property value went from 150,000 to 12,000 dollars. we have a mortgage for 91000. majority on the house was vacant and torn down. not that i was afraid but she didn't feel like it was yesterday 20 years ago. fifteen years ago. once that started to change, you have a different way of looking at it. you come home to the same house and neighbors no longer there up there. you see the ups, the downs and where the gas companies, it became dte. the gas company became the light company.
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they overcharge you as they please. they charge you more to ensure your house. you are unable to get car insurance into is not conspiracy, what is it? this is no accident. this is by design. to leave an individual, not my family, we are better off. to the individuals with no hope, there is a time when the people walked on the highway. now they walk in the street. where is the value or life here? it's more than just the house. it's their spirit.
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put them in a state of anxiety. see troy destroy their future. they show you how much they care. >> one of the things i want you to direct as well, onto dark a little about crafting this work. the process of writing the book. one of the ways we are lacking is investment. there's not enough capital neighborhoods in detroit to fix some of the problems we need. we talk about investment and property or investment in people but either way, it's about capital. at the same time, i think it's
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reasonable skepticism about outside capital coming into the city and into the neighborhoods investing and not doing on behalf of the people who live there but doing it to profit off of them. ...
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