Now Oklahoma lawmakers want to send squatters to jail…
3:56 PM EDT on April 6, 2016
The guy pictured above who looks like a cross between Biff from "Back to the Future," Sloth from "The Goonies," and that guy in high school who spent too much time in shop class is State Senator Dan Newberry, or as I think we should call him from here on out, Nan Dewberry.
Nan Dewberry is from the Tulsa area. According to his bio, he's a mortgage banker. Apparently he's not a very good one, because he closed his mortgage business and filed bankruptcy in 2010.
New federal regulations on the mortgage industry contributed to a Tulsa Republican’s decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month, the senator said...
Newberry announced the closing of his mortgage business, Homeland Federal Mortgage in February saying, "no one is immune to the current economic crises afflicting our nation.”
Newberry, who has worked in the mortgage industry for 13 years, said the debts he cannot pay are business debts he and his wife personally guaranteed.
"The only thing that we’ve been able to keep out of this whole mess is our personal home,” he said.
Newberry, 34, lists debts at $1.3 million and assets at $1.19 million. Since Newberry and his wife filed for Chapter 7 debt protection in February, many of those assets have been sold to pay creditors. His home is valued about $525,000.
Through Homeland Federal Mortgage, Newberry and his wife owned 10 properties. Many of them were homes taken back after payments could not be made on the loans, he said.
"These are properties with debt against them that we took back with the idea that we would turn around and sell those properties at some point when the market improved,” Newberry said.
Property loans account for $1,127,444.78 of Newberry’s debts, that includes money owed on the family home. There are also eight business credit cards with balances that total more than $95,000, according to the filing.
Yeah, I have no clue why Oklahoma is facing a serious budget crisis. It's not like we elect people who can't manage their own business or finances to public office.
Dewberry is the senate sponsor of SB 1071. It hasn't received a bunch of media attention this legislative session, but if passed and signed into law, it will essentially allow the state to fine or imprison squatters. Sadly, we're not talking about those annoying in-shape people at the gym. That would be awesome. We're talking about the other squatters – those people who are so bad off they can't afford housing, and as opposed to living on the streets, squat on someone else's property for free.
Here's a summary of the bill from the Senate website:
That's great. With the Oklahoma County Jail already being a debtor prison, I guess we might as well throw the squatters in there, too. On a positive note, it will put a roof over their head. Plus, I'm sure they'll easily find a new job and be able to afford housing after spending 30-days in the slammer.
Like most proposed Oklahoma laws that punish the poor, SB 1071 sailed through the Senate with a 45 - 0 vote. That makes sense, because you know, fining and imprisoning people who can't afford to pay for a shelter is something you do in an advanced, civilized society. It's totally what Jesus preached in the Bible. I think he called it The Oklahoma Standard.
Anyway, I know I'm not a small business owner who piled up over one million dollars in debt and then walked away from it all after filing bankruptcy, but instead of hitting squatters with fines they can't afford or 30-day jail sentences, maybe we should find a more compassionate solution. For example, perhaps we should figure out a way to provide short-term housing or shelter to squatters. This would help them work their way out of the poverty trap and hopefully get the point where they can afford their own housing. I know it's a logical, compassionate, Christ-like idea, but it may just work. Therefore, it will probably never happen.
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