1 day 13 hours ago

Free Legal Advice, is Now Called the ‘Democratization of Knowledge’
Who knew that I was a leader in providing knowledge to others (now called “Democratizing Knowledge)!!

An article on Wired, Natalie Chyi, focuses a light on how COVID-19 has changed the prospective of on sharing information.  Titled The Coronavirus is Democratizing Knowledge.  The sub-title is: “Despite toxic misinformation, the pandemic has empowered us to become co-creators, co-producers, and co-distributors of what we know.”
free bankruptcy informationI have supported the “Democratization of Knowledge” since 1991 (I just called it “free” instead of some fancy title). The foundation of my law firm is to provide free legal advice about handling financial challenges and how bankruptcy might be one tool, among others, to help people find peace in their financial lives. As a law professor and community activist, I always believed that information about the law should not be a secret. We all have the right to understand our options and that basic information should be free. I hate what COVID is doing to the world, but am pleased that one result of COVID is to force others into an environment that encourages an open exchange of information. Everyone needs to participate in this discussion.
What can you do to help others?  As a parent, teacher, doctor, mechanic, plumber, landscaper, or any other profession – what knowledge so you have to share?  Companies are joining in (see article) and opening up their resources (of course that may be just long enough to get us hooked on their resources so we are willing to pay after COVID is knocked down).  But, I digress.  Join me and many others who believe knowledge should be free.  Of course, the implementation of that knowledge needs to be customized to a specific situation and done by a trained professional (you don’t want just anyone performing surgery, installing complicated electrical systems or filing legal documents that have serious consequences).
I challenge you to think about what you know and how you can share it to help others.
free information


free bankruptcy information
Most of us have more than what we need (I mean ‘really’ need) to sustain a happy and productive life.  What can we share with others – our time, our knowledge, our laughter, our lawnmower?  Your grandmother (or some wise person in your life) told you to be kind and help others.  Many remembered that lesson and lived by it, but others forgot it as they grew older.  Think about the last time you helped someone “just because you could”.  Didn’t that make you feel wonderful?  If you cannot remember that time, then give it a try because you will be better for it.

Now, I am not suggesting that you give so much that you hurt yourself and your family.  Instead, look at what you have to share and take a chance.  Don’t be upset if it does not work out the first time because not everyone is willing to accept help or advice (that is their choice).  Love life and share your joy.

How Can I Help You?
The post I am a Leader in Democratization of Knowledge about Bankruptcy appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

6 days 7 hours ago

Miriam Goott, a bankruptcy attorney at Walker & Patterson at her home in Houston, Friday, May 8, 2020.Photo: Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer
Houston attorney Miriam Goott, who represents small businesses in their bankruptcies, likes telling potential clients: “I hope to never see you again.” That’s because she’s worked out a deal with their creditors or helped them solve a problem that avoided bankruptcy altogether.

“Half the time, I play the role of a therapist,’’ she said. “What they perceive to be this huge problem generally isn’t. It’s typically one or maybe two creditors that are really the issue.”

Some attorneys predict a wave of bankruptcies in the months ahead, as the economic toll of the oil bust and the pandemic create long-term struggles for the area’s economy, according to a University of Houston Bauer College of Business forecast. Plus, the CARES Act made it even easier for small businesses to file for bankruptcy.

GROWTH OPPORTUNITY: Law firms with bankruptcy practices positioned to do well in downturn

Bankruptcy may provide much-needed relief for small businesses but it’s more of a last resort than a first resort. The good news is, for many borrowers struggling to make payments, a bankruptcy may not even be necessary.

Goott focuses her practice at Walker & Patterson on consumer and small business bankruptcy.

“I don’t feel comfortable filing a bankruptcy until we know we’ve exhausted all our options,’’ she said. Why? Bankruptcy can help beleaguered business owners sleep at night, but it also comes with risks.

Personal bankruptcy will have a significant impact on credit and borrowing costs in the future. Businesses have to open their books to public scrutiny and there are reputational risks as well.

“It’s different to hear your CPA filed bankruptcy than maybe your hairdresser,’’ Goott said. Plus, bankruptcy is expensive. Goott charges as little as $10,000 to $15,000 for a business Chapter 7, or liquidation, and fees can run as high as $300,000 for a complicated Chapter 11, or reorganization. Some law firms charge millions for complex, big-business reorganizations.

Taking stock
For a small business, the first step to avoid bankruptcy is to get a handle on its financial situation. That’s easier said than done, given the current uncertainty in the economy. But secured creditors are going to be running projections anyway, said Patrick Hughes, a bankruptcy attorney and partner at Haynes Boone in Houston.

Estimate operating costs and revenues for the next 12-week to 1-year periods, taking a look at the business’ capital structure and tax obligations, he said. “What does it take to survive in the near term?’’ Hughes said. “It’s a sobering exercise. It’s disheartening. Sometimes, you realize cuts have to be made.”

A big mistake small businesses make is failing to pay taxes. What starts as a business obligation quickly becomes a personal liability, as owners will be on the hook and even criminally responsible, bankruptcy lawyers said. Make sure some cash is set aside in case the business does need to file for bankruptcy.

A handle on debt
The details of loan terms matter. Go to creditors, focusing on secured creditors first.

“Your primary concern is the lifeblood assets of your business,” Hughes said. “If you’re a trucking company, you don’t want a lender to declare a default and exercise remedies against your trucks.”

Creditors may be hardheads and won’t want to work with you. But they are more likely to take aggressive steps if you’re not upfront and transparent about the state of your business, he said.

“If your lender doesn’t have confidence because the debtor has gone turtle and won’t give information, they’re going to be more aggressive in how they handle that,’’ Hughes said.

TOMLINSON’S TAKE: Reopen Texas economy cautiously, second COVID-19 wave would devastate

Your creditors may not be willing to negotiate. But lenders usually don’t want to foreclose on assets in a bad economy. If your business is viable and has a track record of making payments on time, generating revenue and attracting customers, that will work in your favor, Hughes said.

Goott frequently gets on the phone with creditors and negotiates a solution. Sometimes, she tells creditors that if they don’t negotiate, the debtor is going to file for bankruptcy. Sometimes, she just needs to tell creditors the reality of someone’s business and the chances of collecting on the debt.

One of Goott’s clients, for example, was personally liable for the debts of the business, and an ex-business partner was successful in obtaining a judgment in court. Goott was able to negotiate a payment plan over a 12-month period that lowered the interest rate on the debt.

Her one piece of advice: get the agreement in writing. When you’re relying on a verbal agreement, creditors can change their minds. Bank employees move on and you’re stuck with someone who doesn’t acknowledge the agreement. Or the employee might not have had the authority to offer a modification in the first place.

Litigation risk
Unsecured creditors are a different matter. They can sue you; they can get a judgment. In Texas, certain assets are exempt from most judgments, including the owner’s residence, car and retirement accounts. Creditors can garnish bank accounts, however. If that hasn’t happened yet, you may want to wait and see what happens, Goott said. An unsecured creditor may sell your debt to a collection agency. Or they may go out of business. You may never get sued.

Of course, efforts to avoid bankruptcy may be unsuccessful. If creditors simply won’t negotiate and start lawsuits and the process of acquiring assets of the company, or even personal assets, it’s possible to hand over the keys, or negotiate a transfer outside of bankruptcy. You might be able to get an injunction in court, although that’s rare, Hughes said.

A bankruptcy filing can be useful because it triggers a stay — basically, the courts block landlords and creditors from evictions or seizing assets while the case winds its way through the court system.

Congress passed the Small Business Reorganization Act last year, making it easier and less costly for small businesses to file. For example, business owners normally have to pay creditors in full under a Chapter 11 reorganization to retain ownership. But a small business Chapter 11 allows small businesses to pay less than 100 percent in exchange for shelling out three to five years of the business’ disposable income instead.

No creditors’ committees are allowed, which helps lower the cost of the bankruptcy.

The CARES Act, which passed in March, also raised the cap on total debt for a small business Chapter 11 from $2.7 million to $7.5 million, allowing many more businesses to qualify. “This creates a huge opportunity for small business to restructure their debt,’’ Hughes said.

Often, bankruptcy can be avoided altogether. Goott doesn’t make any money that way. But she builds trust with potential clients. “The best thing I do for (businesses) is to give them the ability to narrow in and focus on the problem,” she said.

6 days 16 hours ago

Gallery Sues Landlord, Claiming Covid-19 Shutdown Voids Lease
The lawsuit contends that since the Venus Over Manhattan gallery is closed by government orders during the pandemic, the lease should be terminated.

In early March, the Venus Over Manhattan gallery on the Upper East Side mounted an exhibition of paintings, drawings and wall reliefs by the artist Roy De Forest, the biggest presentation of his work in New York City since 1975.

But the show’s prospects may have been limited when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York banned most gatherings and ordered nonessential businesses to close by March 22 as part of an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Now the gallery is suing its landlord, arguing that the governor’s actions provide a basis to end its lease, which it says started in 2011 at $54,000 per month, and recover its deposit of $365,000.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo issued a number of executive orders, which by March 29, 2020, completely frustrated the very purpose of the lease,” a lawyer for the gallery wrote in a complaint filed last week in Federal District Court in Manhattan, adding that the gallery therefore “considers the lease terminated.”

The dispute is between companies run by two prominent art collectors, both with significant business experience and neither averse to attention.

The gallery’s owner, Adam Lindemann, who once ran an investment firm, briefly set an auction record for Jean-Michel Basquiat in 2016 when he sold a painting by the artist at Christie’s for $57.3 million.

The gallery’s Madison Avenue building is listed as a property of the real estate company run, with a partner, by Aby Rosen. He has displayed several Picassos in his Manhattan home and, in 2014, riled some neighbors by erecting on his Long Island estate a 33-foot, painted bronze sculpture of a naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus.

Mr. Margolin said by email that the lawsuit involved “a dispute between a commercial tenant and a landlord” about whether a lease default had taken place. A representative for Mr. Rosen’s company, RFR Holding LLC, declined to speak about the suit.

The complaint filed by the gallery says that it considers the lease to have been terminated as of April 1. On March 25, it added, the gallery informed the landlord that it was vacating the premises on or about July 1 and demanded the return of the $365,000 deposit.

On April 8, the complaint states, the landlord declared a default under the lease and on April 23 seized the deposit.

The gallery claims it is entitled to end the lease based on two arcane legal doctrines: “frustration of purpose,” described in the complaint as when an unforeseen event destroys the reason for a contract; and “impossibility of performance,” which the complaint says allows performance of a contract to be excused if governmental activities render that performance impossible.

Joshua Stein, a commercial real estate lawyer not involved in the lawsuit, said that frustration of purpose is one of several doctrines businesses have considered asserting during the pandemic as a basis to withhold rent or walk away from a lease.

1 week 2 days ago

Lead Express, Harvest Moon Financial, Gentle Breeze Online and Green Stream Lending, used Deceptive Marketing Practices
Lead Express, Harvest Moon Financial and others repeated drew interest-only charges, leaving consumers to pay more than promised
payday loanMay 22, 2020 – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged Lead Express, Harvest Moon Financial, Gentle Breeze Online, and Green Stream Lending with deceiving its customers by overcharging millions of dollars and repeatedly withdrawing money from customers bank accounts, without their permission.
Post from the FTC: According to the FTC, the 11 defendants, through Internet websites and telemarketing, and operating under the names Harvest Moon Financial, Gentle Breeze Online, and Green Stream Lending, used deceptive marketing tactics to convince consumers that their loans would be repaid in a fixed number of payments. In fact, in many instances, the FTC alleges, consumers found that long after the promised number of payments had been made, the defendants had applied their funds to finance charges only and were continuing to make regular finance-charge only withdrawals from their checking accounts.
In addition, the FTC charges that the defendants failed to make required loan disclosures, made recurring withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts without proper authorization, and illegally used remotely created checks.
“Harvest Moon bled consumers dry, by promising a single payment payday loan, but then automatically debiting consumers’ bank accounts for finance charges every two weeks, in perpetuity,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC charges the defendants with violating the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E. The defendants named in the case are: Lead Express, Inc.; Camel Coins, Inc.; Sea Mirror, Inc,; Naito Corp.; Kotobuki Marketing, Inc.; Ebisu Marketing, Inc.; Hotei Marketing, Inc.; Daikoku Marketing, Inc.; La Posta Tribal Lending Enterprise; Takehisa Naito; and Keishi Ikeda.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada entered the temporary restraining order on May 19, 2020.
The FTC has information for consumers about payday loans, including alternative options and information for military consumers.
payday loan

payday loanThose having financial challenges are easy targets for creeps, like payday lenders.  These lenders will open businesses, create loans and take innocent peoples hard-earned money.  When they get in trouble (like Harvest Moon) then they close that door, only to open another door the next day.  Avoiding using payday loan companies, it is the beginning of the end.  Look for other options – does your bank offer a short-term loan, can you take another temporary job, can you adjust why you are spending more than you are earning?  I know the solution is not simple, but please ask for help from someone who is interested in your best interests.  Never borrow money from your retirement accounts, unless you talk to someone (like me) who can explain the consequences.

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The post Lead Express, Harvest Mood Financial Sued by FTC appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Arizona Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.

1 week 4 days ago

A Wave of Small Business Closures Is on the Way. Can Washington Stop It?
Bipartisan proposals address weaknesses of a hastily passed aid program.

One of the great threats to the post-pandemic economy is becoming clear: Vast numbers of small and midsize businesses will close permanently during the crisis, causing millions of jobs to be lost.

The federal government moved with uncharacteristic speed to help those businesses — enacting the Paycheck Protection Program, with $669 billion allocated so far.

But there is a problem. The structure of the program is not particularly well suited to the type of crisis that millions of businesses face. The program may have bought businesses some time, but in its current shape it will not enable many of them to remain solvent long enough to emerge from the other side of the pandemic in some viable form.

Rather, it is more tailored to what the crisis looked liked when shutdowns first took place in the olden times of March 2020, when it seemed that business closures would be a short-term blip and everyone might be able to get back to normal by summer.

It was intended to cover eight weeks’ worth of expenses, of which 75 percent must apply to payroll, for firms with under 500 employees. Now it is looking likely that many businesses will face revenue shortfalls for many months.

For loans made under the program to be fully forgiven, an employer must maintain pre-crisis employment levels. Now it’s clear many businesses will permanently shift to smaller staffing levels to remain viable, such as restaurants operating at partial capacity.

The program is technically available to companies that make a good-faith assertion that they need help to support operations. But it doesn’t distinguish between firms with mild and temporary disruptions and those facing threat of permanent closure.

Moreover, the structure of the program, which provides a recipient with a Small Business Administration-backed loan that is then forgiven if certain conditions are met, could make some business owners reluctant to take advantage. They might fear that if they run afoul of the government’s rules, they will have even more debt heaped on top of a failing enterprise.

“The risk is that they’ve spent more money on this program than anyone has ever spent on a small-business program in world history, but haven’t changed the trajectory of permanent small-business closures,” said John Lettieri, president of the Economic Innovation Group, a think tank that advocates business dynamism. “If the patient has a gaping chest wound and you give him a bandage, it’s better than nothing but probably isn’t going to keep the patient alive.”

When Congress enacted the Paycheck Protection Program as part of a $2 trillion aid package in March, it still seemed plausible that the disruption to the economy would be temporary. And the P.P.P. was devised to ensure that employers kept as many people on their payrolls as possible. But that has often acted at cross-purposes with the goal of having businesses ultimately emerge as viable enterprises.

“The P.P.P. makes sense in that incentivizing employers to keep people on payroll and compensating them for doing that is valuable, especially given the overwhelming of the unemployment insurance system that was happening,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist of Upwork, a website for freelancers. “Conceptually that makes sense, but the issue is trying to do that and at the same time address the issue of massive small business insolvency that we are increasingly facing.”

Mr. Ozimek is dealing with the tension firsthand. In addition to his job as an economist studying labor markets, he is co-owner of Decades, a bowling alley, restaurant and bar in Lancaster, Pa. Before the pandemic, it employed the equivalent of 35 full-time employees, but it now needs fewer workers while takeout food is its only business. It has taken a P.P.P. loan.

Leading economists have identified the mass closure of service-oriented businesses as a particular risk for the medium-term future of the economy. One survey of 5,800 small businesses conducted in late March found that only 47 percent expected to still be in business at the end of the year if the crisis lasted four months.

“The loss of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses across the country would destroy the life’s work and family legacy of many business and community leaders and limit the strength of the recovery when it comes,” Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said in a speech last week. “These businesses are a principal source of job creation — something we will sorely need as people seek to return to work.”

There’s not much the government can do if a health crisis renders some types of businesses, especially those where large groups of people gather, nonviable indefinitely. But there are several ideas circulating on Capitol Hill to try to address the potential of mass small business closures.

Senator Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, plan to introduce a bill text Thursday on what they call the “Restart Act.” Businesses would receive loans to finance six months’ worth of fixed operating costs and payroll, offered at a low interest rate — no payments due for 12 months — and with a seven-year term.

In their bill, the government would forgive the share of the loan devoted to payroll, rent and other fixed expenses based on the company’s revenue decline. So it would act as a loan for companies that are able to weather the downturn, and act as a grant for those more severely affected.

Another group of senators, including the Republican Mitt Romney of Utah and the Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have proposed legislation that would build on the Paycheck Protection Program, in part by expanding the period for loan forgiveness from eight to 16 weeks.

In the House, Representatives Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, and Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, have offered legislation that would, among other steps, extend the duration of P.P.P. loans.

The bipartisan nature of the bills shows this issue doesn’t cleave along the usual ideological divides. A key question is whether whatever comes next will enable businesses that are in a deep hole now — but have a viable future once the public health crisis recedes — to get from Point A to Point B.

And it would particularly help if any new or revised P.P.P. program would have clearer rules of the game and greater predictability about who is truly eligible and under what terms.

“To be kind to both Republicans and Democrats who came up with this plan on the fly, the magnitude of the shock is so much larger than what anybody thought it was at the time,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, an accounting firm that serves midsize companies. “It makes sense to revisit the program.

“Right now what we’re hearing from our clients is that they are frustrated and confused.”

2 weeks 7 hours ago

From: Time By: Melissa ChanMay 15, 2020

Every cent matters to Kim Jaemin, a cab driver in virus-ravaged New York City, whose diet has been reduced to instant noodles despite working 14-hour shifts, seven days a week.

Since the coronavirus pandemic emptied the streets of passengers, the 58-year-old from South Korea has been living on about $65 a day. He buys near-expired, discounted food that he rations to last the week. Two meals of the day consist of the cheapest brand of ramen noodles he can find. “Forget about nutrition,” he says.

On May 2, of the seven total passengers he picked up, five did not tip. The other two tipped him less than $3 each. While most of his fellow cab drivers have quit—either because they fear getting sick with COVID-19, which has killed dozens of their colleagues, or because they feel it’s useless to scour a deserted city for riders—Kim says he has no choice but to work more. “I have to make every possible penny, nickel and dime,” says Kim, who lives alone in Queens and scribbles every fare and tip he gets into a notepad.

“The only way I could survive,” he adds, “I have to work every day.”

That’s the reality for hundreds of New York City’s taxicab drivers who remain on the road, searching for scarce fares as ridership hits record lows. The number of cab rides in the city fell from about 506,000 during the first week of March to roughly 28,500 during the week of May 4, according to the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBOT), the city’s largest taxi group, which represents more than 5,500 yellow cab owners. The city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) did not disclose its data, but the MTBOT, which represents about half of the entire taxi industry, says fares across its fleets have dropped about 94%.

“It’s a staggering number that we’ve never experienced before,” MTBOT spokesman Michael Woloz says. “Theaters are dark. Restaurants are closed. All of the traditional fares have disappeared.”

Outside of Grand Central Terminal at 9 a.m. on a recent Monday, cabs are lined up, but most are waiting in vain. The world-famous transportation hub is near-vacant, and silence has replaced the usual clamor of rush-hour traffic. “It’s like a movie right now,” Mohamed Eleissawy, a 63-year-old taxi driver, says of the abandoned metropolis.

Amid a drop in fares, thousands of drivers have stopped working. In the first week of March, about 3,660 taxi drivers were still on the road, according to the MTBOT’s tally. Now, the group has counted fewer than 600. Thousands have signed up to deliver meals to sick or elderly residents for $53 per route as part of a new citywide program meant to help vulnerable populations and earn drivers more cash. By repurposing their jobs, the TLC said these drivers are “helping us to ensure that no one goes hungry.” But like Jaemin, many of the city’s cab drivers are inching closer to severe hunger themselves.

A new survey by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), which represents about 23,000 taxi and rideshare-app drivers, found more than 82% of drivers have run out of money to buy food or say they will soon reach that point. Out of 919 drivers surveyed, more than 700 said they were unable to pay their rent or mortgage in March and April. The Independent Drivers Guild, which represents more than 80,000 for-hire drivers in the city, said 45% of its members in late April had asked for help securing food. Nearly 70% of the guild’s drivers said they were unable to make rent or mortgage in April, with more saying they won’t be able to pay in May.

The TLC said it’s still tracking fatality figures, but Bhairavi Desai, NYTWA’s executive director, says at least 50 drivers have died from COVID-19 so far. “It’s heartbreaking,” Desai says.

Desai fears the pandemic will be a “breaking point” for many drivers already suffering financial hardships due to competition with ride-sharing apps and crushing loans they took out to buy medallions, which are permits the city requires to own a yellow cab. In 2018, at least eight professional drivers in the city died by suicide, which advocates blamed on crippling debt. The industry had been showing signs of improvement, especially after the spate of suicides grabbed the attention of local lawmakers, according to Desai and Woloz. Then the pandemic hit.

“The yellow cab is the quintessential symbol of New York City,” Desai says. “But these are men and women, who for every time we think the bottom has finally settled in, it falls out all over again.”

Now, the futures of cab drivers are more uncertain than ever. As new COVID-19 cases slowly drop in New York City, advocates are hopeful the century-old taxi industry will rebound as it did after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and after Superstorm Sandy in 2015. “New York City is the biggest and best,” TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg says, “and we expect the future to be bright again in time.”

Desai and Woloz say yellow cabs could even become a vital part of the city’s recovery, transporting both people and goods as some commuters avoid crowded subways. “They know how to navigate through a crisis,” Desai says. “Through every city disaster, drivers have kept working.”

But predictions among some in the workforce are grim. “The coronavirus is the last nail in the yellow cab coffin,” says 36-year-old driver Khurshid Ahmed, who owes $370,000 on his medallion loan. “I am tied to this job until my last breath,” he adds. “I am not seeing any future.”

Jacob Smith, 49, from Ghana, agrees. Standing on 5th Ave., which was devoid of pedestrians at what used to be rush hour, the yellow cab driver and father of two has little hope. “When the doors open, I’m not sure people will come back,” he says. Smith is set on changing careers as soon as someone, anywhere, will hire him. “New York is famous for the cab,” he says, “but corona will be the end.”

Almontasir Ahmed Mohamed, 33, is also weighing a career switch after driving a green cab for six years. He’s studying engineering science at a Kingsborough community college part-time and wonders when he will see his family again in his home country of Sudan. “I stopped thinking about my future,” he says. “The virus has made me confused about my plans.”

For Kim, though, the U.S. has been his home for almost 40 years, so going back to South Korea is not an option. Neither is giving up his cab, because driving is all he has known. “This is my job until I die,” he says. “There is no other job I could do.”

But as he jeopardizes his own health by getting behind the wheel, Kim says at least one passenger a day will make a racist remark, telling him to go back to his country or speak better English. “I don’t think the city respects us like doctors and nurses, the police, the subway workers,” he says. “We are essential workers, too.”

“Without the yellow cabs,” he adds, “the city cannot move.”

1 week 6 days ago

Man at DeskOne of the objectives of the Bankruptcy Code is to ensure that each class of creditors is treated equally. And one of the ways that is accomplished is to allow the debtor’s estate to claw back certain pre-petition payments made to creditors. Accordingly, creditors of a debtor who files for bankruptcy are often unpleasantly surprised to learn that they may be forced to relinquish “preferential” payments they received before the bankruptcy filing. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

2 weeks 3 days ago

From: Asian JournalMay 13, 2020By: Atty. Raymond Bulaon A LOT of people who are burdened with credit card debt often don’t know where to turn for help. They see all the ads on TV, internet, etc. by so-called “debt consolidation” or “debt settlement” companies hoping that this will get them out of debt without filing for bankruptcy. More often than not, however, they end up either getting scammed or disappointed when those companies cannot deliver the big promises made. Buyer beware: Hiring a debt settlement company can actually make your debt problems worse and keep you in debt forever. I am sure this is not what you want, is it?

What a lot of people don’t realize is that when they hire a debt settlement company, it doesn’t mean that they are now legally protected from their creditors as long as they are making their monthly payments to the debt settlement company. The debt settlement company, after deducting their fees, simply saves the money in a trust account and will only be able to settle with creditors one by one as money accumulates. So, if they put you on a 3-5 year plan, that means there will be a very long wait for creditors to get their money if they even do.

Most of your creditors will not wait that long to get paid. So, what happens? They will sue you! And if they do, the debt settlement company is not going to be able to represent you because they are not lawyers. In the meantime, your debts are still growing because of the added interest, penalties and other collection costs. This is NOT the best way to consolidate your bills. While you are on their program, the creditors will also continue to report damaging information on your credit report until the debt is paid. This is not what you want, is it? Of course, the debt settlement companies will not tell you that.

In my opinion, if you wish to consolidate your bills, there is nothing better than doing it through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Here are the advantages: (1) You pay 0% interest on credit cards and other unsecured debts. This means all your payments go towards principal. (2) You can be totally debt-free in 3-5 years, (3) In most cases, you only pay based on what you can afford, not based on how much you owe, (4) Your monthly debt payments can be slashed by at least half in most cases, allowing you to have extra money for other expenses, and (5) All kinds of debts can be included in Chapter 13, not just credit cards. So if you have unpaid taxes, medical bills, payday loans, personal loans, student loans, late mortgage payments, etc., all of these can be included in one affordable monthly payment.

So if you are struggling every single month even just making minimum payments, you’re probably feeling frustrated because you realize that there is just no way that you can pay all your debts anytime soon. Some people get stressed out once they realized that they owe so much that it is simply not possible to ever become debt-free with the amount of debt they have accumulated given their monthly income.

Well, Chapter 13 can be a game changer for you. If you have not explored this legal option, perhaps you should.

Finally, the greatest advantage of filing Chapter 13 vs. hiring a debt settlement company is that in Chapter 13, you are 100% protected from all creditor lawsuits, judgments, liens, garnishments, etc. Once your creditors are notified of the filing, they also cannot report you as being late to the credit bureaus anymore. Your credit report will show that your debts are being paid through Chapter 13. Seven years after filing a 13, the bankruptcy will be deleted from your credit report. If you need to purchase a home or a car while in Chapter 13, this is also possible provided that you obtain court approval for the purchase. This is quite common.