The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Sheriff Dart Talks To Time

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Oct 14, 2008 5:05PM

2008_10_14_sheriff.jpgCook County Sheriff Tom Dart, he of "We won't surprise tenants with an eviction order intended for their landlord" fame, recently sat down with Time Magazine to discuss the housing crisis and why he came to the decision he did.

Tell me about your thoughts on the "cavalier" attitude at the root of this problem.

I don't consider myself an economic expert and I'm not going to pontificate about what put our economy in the crisis it's in now, but it does seem abundantly clear that lenders were giving subprime loans out, mortgages to people they had not done their due diligence on in the first place, and it's caused a lot of mortgages to go bad. I think we all agree to that. What we're seeing is the other end of that: now those same people who acted recklessly and carelessly on the front end are asking me to rather carelessly and recklessly go and throw out whoever happens to be living in that building. And that is the same type of mindset that got us off the track in the first place.

I'm supposed to make sure that justice is being done and people's rights are being looked after. When you are sitting there witnessing horribly unjust things occuring, I could just be the typical bureaucrat who falls back on, "Hey, I'm just following the law." But that's wrong, it's plain-old wrong, call it what you want. Last I checked our constitution, people are allowed due process rights before property is taken away from them. The people I'm talking about now have no idea they're even the subject of a lawsuit. And somehow, that is justice? Somehow that makes sense?

Read the rest of the interview here.