Orders woman to repay $168,639.50
By Chinta Strausberg
After nearly six-years, former Alderman Wallace Davis, Jr. (27th) Tuesday won his battle to recoup $168,000 that was allegedly stolen from him by a broker and the closer who worked for the Old American Financial Services, Inc.
Tuesday, Judge Susan Zwick ruled in favor of Davis and against the defendant, Shirley Johnson-MacFarland, and ordered her to repay Davis $168,639.50.
For years, Davis has been trying to recoup his money. He sued Old American Financial Services, Inc, Wallace Williams and Shirley Johnson (Shirley MacFarland) for negligence and conversion in the handling of his mortgage.
Davis, who owns Wallace Catfish Corner and a number of other businesses on the West Side, took out the loan in 2005 to help get former Chicago Policeman Howard Morgan out of jail. Morgan was shot 25 times on February 21, 2005 by Chicago police at 19th and Lawndale but survived. He is a retired Burlington Railroad police officer. Chicago police claimed Morgan had a gun which he denied. Morgan contended he was a victim of police brutality.
According to court records, Davis secured a mortgage for $186,550.00 on 2755 West Warren Blvd. in Chicago. Old American, through Wallace Williams, was engage to act as Davisâ€™ broker. Court records state that Johnson-MacFarland, a personal friend of Davis, who was also the closer on this deal, generated the documents needed to secure the loan. She was also a business associate of Wallace Williams and a former employee of Old American Financial Services as a loan originator.
According to court records, Johnson-McFarland ended her employment at Old American in 2002 and developed her own business as a loan closer and at the time of Davisâ€™ loan was working for her own company.
Davisâ€™ mortgage was approved in December of 2005 and the check was made available on December 15, 2005. It was issued by Title Company of America, Inc. â€œAlthough not a usual practice, the check was given to Wallace Williams at Old American, to give toâ€ Davis.
However, before Mr. Williams delivered the check to Davis, Johnson-MacFarland presented him with a Letter of Direction that was dated December 9, 2005, which advised Williams to release the check to her. â€œBased on his previous dealings with Ms. Johnson-MacFarland, and her role in procuring the mortgage, he released the check.â€
Court records state that on December 19, 2005, Johnson-MacFarland deposited this check in her personal account at the Evergreen Bank. The check was endorsed with Davisâ€™ signature, although the nature and circumstance of the endorsement remain in dispute.
â€œShe stole a stamp signature of mine and wrote under it that the check was to be paid to her and deposited it into an ATM machine at the Evergreen Bank. Judge Pincham was my attorney at the time. This was last case Pincham was going to take. I know today he is smiling in his grave because he told me this case is going to come back and haunt a lot of people,â€ Davis said.
In January of 2006, Davis contacted Williams at Old American to see about his mortgage check. Davis told Williams he never saw or received the check and did not know that Johnson-MacFarland had received it. Eventually, the check was traced to the Evergreen Bank account.
Davis accused Johnson-MacFarland of depositing his check into her own account and converting his funds into hers.
Davis said it has been extremely difficult for him to continue paying $1600-a-month for this mortgage loan and to keep his businesses and homes out of foreclosure. â€œIâ€™ve been paying $1600-a-month for a loan I never received,â€ he said.
Court records state that Johnson-MacFarland admitted she deposited the check into her Evergreen Bank account but claimed it was with Davisâ€™ knowledge and permissionâ€”a charge Davis hotly denies. She claimed the funds â€œrepresent a portion of moneys due and owing to her byâ€ Davis.
Davis hired Attorney Lester Barclay who proved she was not telling the truth. â€œShe stole my stamp in 2003 and Attorney Barclay proved this,â€ said Davis.
The judge ruled in Davisâ€™ favor and against Shirley Johnson-MacFarland in the amount of $168,639.50 which must be paid on or before August 30, 2011.
Davis said the loss of this money has caused him to get behind in his child support payments, which the state claims is now more than $160,000. Davis said no one from the state helped him get his money back from Johnson-MacFarland yet called him a â€œdead beat dadâ€ on the child support issue. He is very angry about that. â€œI have been paying child support,â€ he said. Davis has hired Attorney Lewis Myers to represent him on this case.
Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-29th)Â was also pleased with the judgeâ€™s decision saying, â€œI think that is very good. Itâ€™s been going on for a long time. Itâ€™s an indication and a vindication that there is some accuracy to what he has been saying. I hope he will come out OK.â€
Rev. Paul Jakes, pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, said, â€œIt is a joy to see Wallace Davis victorious. He has been a victim of different situations like a fatal shooting and people thought he was dead but ultimately someone saw him wiggle his toe at the morgue and he lived. They revived him.
â€œThen his business burned down and he was out-of-business and down and out. Heâ€™s back in business again. Wallace was down with this case for many years, which had him financially strapped. It is a delight and a joy to see Wallace back on his feet again. He is a modern day Job.â€
Efforts to reach Johnson-MacFarland failed.
For interviews, call former Alderman Wallace Davis, Jr. at: 773-220-0103, or 773-265-9488.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.