Foreclosure sales have been postponed for 50 days in Philadelphia amid a shakeup within the city’s Sheriff’s Office.
Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley, who is the would-be successor to Philadelphia Sheriff John Green, removed four “high-level staffers” and fired contractors who carried out title work amid fraud allegations.
Office finance director Tyrone Bynum, solicitor Edward Chew, and real estate supervisor Crystal Stewart were suspended, while husband Darrell Stewart was transferred from his position as director of real estate.
The four figures were in charge of the sale of foreclosed properties, but because of “rampant mismanagement and potential fraud” uncovered in an audit, foreclosures may soon be in the hands of Philadelphia court system.
However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would have to authorize the move.
The moratorium was put in place partially because of the uncertainty surrounding the “integrity of the process,” and also to account for delays in receiving federal money to fund a program that provides loans to homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
A handful of title companies, including RCS Searchers, Global Abstract, and City Line Abstract, which apparently operated without a contract with the Sheriff’s Office, have been barred from working with the city.
Back in 2008, foreclosures were postponed in the City of Brotherly Love so a program that required all owner-occupied properties scheduled for a sheriff’s sale be considered for a loan modification or similar action before they could be sold.