April 27, 2010
ATLANTA—Georgia State University College of Law Professor Jessica Gabel was quoted recently in stories in both The Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on bankruptcy issues.
On Tuesday, April 27, Gabel was quoted in a story by Wall Street Journal reporter Dawn Wotapka on Milton and Patricia Harper filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and averting forecosure on their 5,300-square-foot Atlanta home, which was built for the "Extreme Makeover" television show during the 2004-2005 season.
The couple had filed for their first Chapter 13 in early 2009, Wotapka wrote, as foreclosure loomed for their home. The bankruptcy halted the process. It’s possible that the family was unable to fulfill the payment plan set up under the bankruptcy and thus had to file again this year–a common occurrence says Gabel.
Mortgage troubles came after the family used the house as collateral for a $450,000 loan, which was modified by Chase in 2008. Meanwhile, the family still seems to be trying to raffle off the house, which Gabel says is unusual.
"That doesn't pass the smell test. They're going to have to demonstrate to the court why they should proceed" with the raffle. Plus, she added, any post-bankruptcy petition income might have to go to creditors.
On Friday, April 23, Gabel was quoted in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story by Péralte C. Paul on Mohawk Industries' recent $18 million settlement to end a lawsuit brought by current and former employees accusing it of hiring illegal workers, which, lawyers say, probably will result in similar filings across the country.
The lawsuit drew national headlines, Paul wrote, because attorneys for the plaintiffs went after the carpet and flooring giant using the federal and Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations acts. The key allegation was that company officials knowingly sought and hired illegal immigrants, resulting in depressed wages for workers who were here legally.
Using RICO "was an interesting strategy," Gabel said. "Because federal employment laws are limited to wrongful termination or bad practices, they were really trying to capture what they perceived to be this corrupt practice within Mohawk that we can get cheap labor by hiring illegal workers."