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Saving Fred Hampton’s boyhood home in Maywood an uphill battle, records show

Hampton The childhood home of Fred Hampton, former leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

The childhood home of Fred Hampton, former leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Black Panther Party icon Fred Hampton’s son is going to need more money than he previously thought to save his father’s childhood home in Maywood.

The Sun-Times reported earlier this week on efforts from Fred Hampton Jr. and his supporters to raise $70,000 to prevent the home from being auctioned off next week.

That figure came from the auction listing posted by The Judicial Sales Corporation, which included a judgement amount owed to U.S. Bank of $70,959.

But records obtained through the Cook County Recorder of Deeds reveal the Hampton house is possibly under water for a lot more.

Records show Fred Hampton Sr.’s parents, Iberia and Francis, took out a $265,000 loan on the house in 2007 with an adjustable rate up to 15.8 percent issued by First Franklin Financial Corp., a mortgage lender that specialized in subprime loans.

After several transfers and acquisitions, three banks own the loan today: LaSalle Bank, Bank of America and U.S. Bank, which appears to be the majority owner, county records show.

Ira Nevel, an attorney and debt collector based in Chicago, filed suit on behalf of U.S. Bank to foreclose on the home on March 20.

The house officially went into default on June 21 and a judgement of foreclosure was entered on July 9. The Hampton house is now scheduled to be auctioned on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

It is unclear how much money LaSalle Bank and Bank of America are owed.

Mario Reed, director of public information at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, said Thursday it’s highly unlikely $70,000 will be enough to fully pay off the home.

“Given the amount of the loan and the high interest rate tied to it, it’s hard for me to believe that $70,000 is what’s needed to save it,” he said in an interview.

The Cook County Assessor’s Office estimated the property was worth $141,920 in 2017.

U.S. Bank and Nevel did not respond to request for comments.

According to Reed, foreclosure proceedings in the county last around 12 months from start to finish.

But at issue with the Hampton house is that the Hampton Jr.’s grandmother, Iberia, is still listed on the deed. She passed away two years ago. U.S. Bank was not legally obligated to notify anyone about the foreclosure who’s not named on the deed. Hampton Jr. said he was unaware of the home’s financial problems until a few months ago.

Reed said Hampton Jr. could potentially delay the sale if he becomes the legal owner of the property. Even if the property is sold at auction, a judge still has to approve the sale at a hearing. If the deed was transferred to Hampton Jr., he could then petition for a stay of the sale.

“[U.S. Bank] would then be forced to talk with him and figure out a way forward,” Reed said. “Mr. Hampton Jr. can also then seek help from county, state, and federal entities to refinance the loan and receive grants to lessen the debt burden.”

Hampton Jr. said Thursday he was blindsided by the foreclosure; he was under the impression the family owned the home outright.

“I’m still learning about all of this and getting my hands around it,” he said. “I thought we owned the home.”

So far, Hampton Jr. and his supporters have raised around $10,000 to keep the home. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins have made pledges to the campaign to keep the home in the Hampton family.

A block party and fundraiser has been set for Sunday at Irving Middle School across the street from the Hampton house.

“We’re not putting our guard down, we’re still fighting,” Hampton Jr. said.

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.