Squatters arrested in home
by BRIAN NADIG
A recent incident in which squatters were arrested inside a foreclosed Sauganash home appears related to a group that files documents with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office claiming its members have a divine right to a property in accordance with the group’s religious teachings.
The incident at 4200 W. Rosemont Ave., a brick house with four bedrooms and four bathrooms, is somewhat unusual because the group usually targets less wealthy neighborhoods where the squatting may not be as noticeable, recorder of deeds spokesman John Mirkovic said.
"This is the most audacious squatting I’ve seen," Mirkovic said. "It’s a beautiful home."
A man who reportedly has claimed ties to a Moorish religious organization has filed several notices with the recorder’s office that read like manifestos and make a false claim to a property, often citing an old U.S. treaty, Mirkovic said. The religious organization has denounced the use of its teachings for criminal activity, Mirkovic said.
A "notice of adverse possession" for the Rosemont property was filed with the county in September. That type of notice can be used for instances in which a parent who owned a home has died and a child who has lived there for a long period is attempting to get his or her name on the deed, Mirkovic said.
Several residents and the real estate agent for the Rosemont property contacted Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) about the squatters, and she asked city and county agencies to investigate the problem, Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said.
"While this is an isolated incident in the 39th Ward, white-collar property crime is on the increase countywide. It is incredibly easy for criminals to file false notices and claims against property," Laurino wrote in an Oct. 27 letter to residents.
On Oct. 29 a police special weapons and tactics team closed off a 4-block radius around the home and arrested the three occupants, a man and two minors, Galvan said. The occupants had changed the locks on the house and had posted a no trespassing sign, he said.
Galvan said that the recorder’s office has a free service by which home owners can be notified when a document regarding their property is filed. Information is available at www.cookcountypropertyfraudalert.com.