Local officials add support for Ohio to get $200M from national foreclosure settlement


Ohio wants a $200 million piece of the $13 billion settlement JPMorgan Chase & Co. reached with the U.S. Department of Justice over the 2008 housing industry meltdown, and Lucas County officials added their voice to the campaign today.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D.,Toledo) and County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz made a public push today for Ohio to share in that settlement. 

They stood in front of a once-imposing North Toledo home on Bush Street that now has only broken windows and is awaiting demolition.

Ohio officials are proposing the “Ohio Plan" that would use $200 million for demolitions, foreclosure prevention, renovation of blighted homes, and “re-purposing” of land.

Miss Kaptur said the New York bank “owes” Ohio for its part in the financial crisis that prompted a national wave of foreclosures.

“We’re here calling on JPMorgan Chase to give recompense for the damage to Ohio that the company caused starting way before 2008 but culminating in the 2008 foreclosure crisis,” Miss Kaptur said. “JPMorgan Chase was a major player in that calamity.” She said 400,000 foreclosures have occurred in Ohio since 2008 which she blamed on Chase’s “fraudulent behavior.”

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement in November. As part of the agreement, JPMorgan admitted to overstating the value of mortgage-backed securities to investors, the federal government said.

Joining the news conference was Jim Rokakis, former Cuyahoga County treasurer known for pioneering the concept of land banking in Ohio and an author of the Ohio Plan, and Tom Kroma, director of the Department of Neighborhoods under Mayor D. Michael Collins. Of the $200 million, $144 million would be used for housing demolition, $16 million for foreclosure prevention, $35 million for renovating blighted homes, and $5 million to re-purpose vacant land.

The plan says Ohio's need is greater than most of the rest of the country, and the state has the capacity to put the money quickly to use.

Last week, Ohio’s U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D.) and Rob Portman (R.) wrote a letter to Chase requesting funding for the "Ohio Plan."