Emma’s Landing: Seditious Assaults on Liberty on the Home Front – The Unmarketable Real Estate Title

Memorial Day is about remembering the individuals who knew where the devil lived and their duty lay. They knew that a single individual’s effort was unlikely to be acknowleged. Richard Best sank the IJN’s premier carrier, Akagi, at Midway on June 4, 1942 with a single one thousand pound bomb dropped from his Scout Bomber Douglas 4 (SBD4) dive bomber (“Slow But Deadly” to its pilots). Best accomplished this with a little luck but primarily by following his Navy doctrine and training coupled with skill and courage. Many other anonymous bombs and bullets also hit their marks that day.

Over the weekend, I visited the final resting place of another WWII Navy Vet who went from Brisbane in ’42 to Tokyo Bay in ’45. He was a meticulous man who believed that details mattered. The Navy made him the ship’s bookkeeper aboard Haddo (SS-255, Gato class submarine). She and several other U.S. submarines were tied up to the Poseidon, a submarine tender, near Missouri when War II ended on 2 September 1945. The Pacific submarine crews suffered a higher mortality rate (20%) than did the 8th Army Air Corps (7.5%) over Europe. Jack made it home and got a job as a record-keeper at the Mark 15 torpedo factory on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park.

Today the assaults on our liberty that earlier generations created and preserved for us are often subtle, difficult to identify, and easier to ignore. An urban myth holds that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will instantly leap out. But if you put it in a pot filled with pleasantly tepid water and gradually heat it, the frog will remain in the water until it boils to death.

“Fraud” is any activity that relies on deception in order to achieve a gain. Fraud becomes a crime when it is a “knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment” (Black’s Law Dictionary). Frauds committed and then covered up by elected officials and their employees, whether out of personal avarice or for political gain, are acts of sedition and insurrection that destroy liberty.

Here is an example of a “knowing misrepresentation of fact:”

Above the self-proclaimed owner of the Emma’s Landing Planned Unit Development certifies that she is the owner of the PUD parcel and “caused same to be subdivided and platted…” But the City of Geneva owned the PUD parcel and caused (and then self-approved) the PUD to be platted.

Then consider that Joy Nelson was the owner of parcel 12-08-224-00 that abuts the Emma’s PUD and provided the access from Lewis Road for the Emma’s PUD that was actually owned by the City of Geneva on April 21, 2021. Also consider that Joy Nelson sold that abutting parcel to James Bergman on June 29, 2021 for $650,000. Mr. Bergman’s address on the deed is given as 2090 Larkin Ave, Suite 5A-1, Elgin. This happens to be the address of the Burton Foundation that is now listed on the tax bill as the owner of the former Joy Nelson property.

Geneva taxpayers sold the PUD to the Burton Foundation for less than $100,000 per acre while Joy Nelson received over $200,000 per acre, well above the City’s appraisal for Emma’s Landing. The City’s appraisal put the value of the Emma’s site at about $120,000/acre. No doubt Joy Nelson’s sale was contingent upon the approval of the Burton Foundation’s successful application for LIHTC funds which she improperly facilitated by a “knowing misrepresentation of fact.” Most Genevans were victims of that fraud, but some benefitted. Big losers were the 22 applicants for LIHTC funds whose applications were denied in favor of a fraudulent one.

But this could become much worse for Geneva property tax payers. Both buyer (Burton/Bergman) and seller (City of Geneva) knew that the required PUD Plat was fraudulent but the PUD Plat was also a required time-critical element for success in getting LIHTC funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s once-a-year cyle. So the parties winked and nodded simultaneously, as per the “Geneva Way.'” The IRS, IHDA, the Kane State’s Attorney, HUD, the Illinois Attorney General and the HUD IG may not deign to take notice of the “irregularities” in violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, unauthorized changes in contracts, and the blatant falsehood that is represented by the Emma’s Landing Planned Unit Development Special Use Zoning Plat.

Ominously, a violation of a city’s zoning ordinance can render the title to Emma’s property unmarketable. https://www.tourolaw.edu/Academics/uploads/pdfs/5_Marketable_WWW.pdf The lenders for the Emma’s Landing project and the underwriters for the LIHTC income tax credits will not go quietly into the good night should the project go into default. Real estate held as collateral that turns out to have an unmarketable, clouded title could make those third parties, including the title insurer, anxious to be made whole by the purveyor of the bad title. Ultimately, that seller’s liability falls upon the Geneva voters and taxpayers.

Geneva has a city government focused more on what it can get away with than on what the statutes and ordinances require. Not one elected, appointed, or employed official has attempted to explain why this fraud was perpetrated. We have descended into local vigilanteism, and likely worse. The devil often now dwells in the “minor” details, and so does the danger to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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