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Archive for April 6th, 2013

Nursing assistant charged with stealing over $300,000 from an elderly man

Posted by Newsroom On April - 6 - 2013 Comments Off on Nursing assistant charged with stealing over $300,000 from an elderly man

A certified nursing assistant has been charged with allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a 94-year-old Chicago man diagnosed with dementia, after fraudulently gaining access to his money and using the victim’s money to remodel her home, give money to her family and purchase a new Mercedes Benz vehicle, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Carmelita Pasamba, 62 is charged with Financial Exploitation of a Senior Citizen (Class 1 Felony).  If convicted she faces up to 15 years in prison.  Pasamba’s husband, Edgardo Pasamba, 63, has also been charged with Financial Exploitation of a Senior Citizen (Class 3 Felony) and her sister, Jocelyn Varga Baker, 47 is charged with Theft (Class 2 Felony) for their role in bilking the victim out of over $300,000.

According to court records, Carmelita Pasamba is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who worked at St. Joseph Hospital from February 1996 to September 2011.   Carmelita Pasamba came to the United States on a Visitor/Working Visa from the Philippines in 1977.  She is not a United States citizen and has never received an extension for her Visa.  She resides in Chicago with her husband, Edgardo Pasamba.

The victim in this case is a 94-year-old retired civil engineer who worked for the City of Chicago.  The victim owned a condominium in Chicago and had investments consisting of stocks, bonds, money markets and annuities.   In March 2007, he was diagnosed with dementia by his personal physician. From that point forward, the victim lacked the capacity to sign any legal documents or participate in any financial transactions. 

According to prosecutors, in January 2008, the victim was hospitalized at St. Joseph Hospital. Carmelita Pasamba worked on the floor where the victim was and she cared for the victim during his hospitalization.  After his discharge from St. Joseph Hospital, the victim required in-home assistance and Carmelita Pasamba offered to work for him.  On January 28, 2008, she became the victim’s in-home caregiver.  Subsequently, she hired her daughter as well as her sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, to assist her in providing 24 hour care for the victim.

In April 2008, just three months after meeting the victim, Carmelita Pasamba asked an attorney affiliated with the Filipino community to draft a Power of Attorney and to change the victim’s estate planning documents which the victim had executed 13 years earlier.

On April 24, 2008, a Power of Attorney for Property (POA), a pour-over will, and a trust document were executed at the attorney’s office. The Power of Attorney gave Carmelita Pasamba complete control over the victim’s assets.  The new will named Edgardo Pasamba as Executor.  The new trust named Carmelita Pasamba as successor trustee upon the victim’s death; and named Carmelita Pasamba, her family and charities affiliated with the attorney in the Filipino Community, as the main beneficiaries of the trust upon the victim’s death. 

According to court records, prosecutors allege that between January 2008 and July 2011, Carmelita Pasamba spent more than a quarter million dollars of the victim’s money for herself and her family, giving loans to herself and family members which were never paid back, purchasing new furniture, rehabbing her home, buying new electronics and a new Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle.

On May 8, 2008, just two weeks after she became the victim’s POA, Carmelita Pasamba wrote a check to herself for $30,000 from the victim’s bank account.  A month later, on June 16, 2008, she gave herself another $25,000.  She called these transactions “loans” and used the money to remodel her kitchen and basement.  Carmelita Pasamba never paid the “loans” back.

On October 10, 2008, Carmelita Pasamba acted as POA for the sale of the victim’s condominium, located in Chicago, in which the victim was to receive $189,010.70.  Defendant paid herself $50,000 cash out of the proceeds, which she called a “bonus.” During the period of September 1, 2008 to July 6, 2011, Carmelita Pasamba paid herself a salary of $5,500.00 per month for her duties as POA, for a total of $170,000. 

According to prosecutors, between May 2008 and October 2009, Carmelita Pasamba, used the victim’s money,  and “loaned” and gave cash advances and “gifts” totaling $51,000 to her sister, Jocelyn Vargas Baker, which Jocelyn Vargas Baker never paid back.  Jocelyn Vargas Baker was also the victim’s caretaker during this period of time.

Carmelita Pasamba also hired her husband, Edgardo Pasamba, to be the victim’s driver.  In April 2009, while Edgardo Pasamba was the victim’s driver as well as his Executor under the victim’s will, the victim purportedly sold his 2000 Buick motor vehicle to Edgardo Pasamba for $2000.  Edgardo Pasamba never paid the victim for the motor vehicle. 

In total, Carmelita Pasamba spent approximately $350,000 of the victim’s money for her and her family’s benefit during the three and a half years she was the victim’s Power of Attorney.

On April 4, 2013, a Cook County Judge set cash bails for Carmelita Pasamba at $350,000; Jocelyn Vargas Baker at $200,000 and Edgardo Pasamba at $50,000.  Each defendant must pay the entire amount before being released from the Cook County Jail.  The next court date for this case is April 25, 2013 at the George Leighton Criminal Courts Building in Chicago at 11:00 a.m.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

HUD Fair Housing Month Celebration highlights the value of helping low-income families relocate to thriving communities

Posted by Newsroom On April - 6 - 2013 Comments Off on HUD Fair Housing Month Celebration highlights the value of helping low-income families relocate to thriving communities

Washington, DC – In a kickoff celebration of “Fair Housing Month,” the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week honored some of the plaintiffs in the historic settlement of a 17-year-old Baltimore housing desegregation case, an agreement that empowered public housing tenants from high poverty neighborhoods to relocate to “opportunity” neighborhoods in the city or suburbs.

 

At a ceremony on Wednesday, several families who had moved as a result of the Thompson et al. v. HUD case were in the spotlight along with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  In the lawsuit, filed in the 1990s, Federal Judge Marvin J. Garbis agreed that thousands of African American families had been locked into areas of concentrated poverty in Baltimore.  When the Obama Administration arrived, settlement talks began, and the case was finally settled last year.

 

Philip Tegeler, president of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, said the plaintiff’s stories underscore the importance of assisting poor and disadvantaged families in moving to thriving communities away from the violence and dangers often found in public housing projects that government policies historically haven’t allowed them to escape from.

 

“Some of the stories we have heard are incredible,” said Tegeler. “This type of program isn’t for everyone, but being able to move to better neighborhoods has given many families and children hope for the future.  Their lives have changed, their children are flourishing. This demonstrates why advocating for fair housing policies and ending segregated housing patterns needs to be a national priority so that more poor families can have this kind of choice.”

 

The settlement of the Thompson case included several significant provisions that advance fair housing. An online housing locator will list public and affordable housing options; incentives are being provided for housing developers; and 2,400 families in high poverty areas will be able to move over the next six years.  In addition, a Housing Mobility Program, which was started in 2003, will continue.  The Thompson case was originally filed by the Maryland ACLU, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund joined the case in 2005.

 

Nicole Smith moved from a segregated neighborhood in Baltimore to Howard County, a wealthy, diverse community outside the city.  She had lived in lived three different public housing projects as a child – Cherry Hill, Murphy Homes and Westport. She and her mother later purchased a house in a struggling neighborhood, but even though they both had fulltime jobs, they lost the house in a foreclosure.

 

“My name finally came to the top of the public housing waiting list in 2007,” Smith said. 

“I knew what to expect in public housing: drugs, violence, crime and poor housing. The Thompson voucher, on the other hand, would give me an opportunity to move to neighborhoods that I would not otherwise have access to…it provided a way out for my 11 year-old son and me.”

 

She said counselling helped her credit improve and she was able to find a home in Columbia, Maryland. “I truly feel like a part of the community,” Smith said.  “After moving through the program, I was able to get a job working for Howard County schools in their Before and After Care program and was just promoted to Assistant Director. I also enrolled in Howard County Community College and I am studying early childhood education. I hope to be able to go on to receive a bachelor’s degree in order to become an elementary school teacher.”

 

She said the move to Columbia made this possible.

 

“In the city, I did not want my son to play outside, he didn’t have many friends and he struggled in school,” Smith said. “Here, he is doing very well in school and our neighbors are welcoming — often picking him up after school while I’m working and arranging play dates and carpools. On his birthday, for the first time in his life, I was able to give him a birthday party at a local park. So many kids and parents came from the neighborhood and from his school to show their support for him. It was very moving to see how many friends he had of all different colors and cultures. The feeling of love and support from a diverse community is what fair housing is all about. I hope all people will be able to experience it one day.”

 

Sabrina Oliver now lives in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. She said the Thompson v. HUD settlement dramatically changed her life, and the lives of her two children. “For me, fair housing is about the hope of a better future,” she said.

 

Before receiving a voucher that allowed her to move, Oliver’s 9 year-old daughter suffered from a severe form of asthma that prevented her from doing most types of physical activity. When they lived in Edmondson Village in West Baltimore, her daughter was hospitalized as doctors tried to get her asthma under control. Oliver acknowledged that she also had struggles with debilitating depression and received disability benefits.

 

“I wanted to get out because of the killings,” she said. “I wanted a better life for my children and myself. I signed up for the (mobility) program as soon as I learned about it, and what struck me was how well I was treated. The counselors were wonderful and helpful and I knew that they were available to answer questions if I had any. The process was pretty straightforward; I went to the workshops, saved for the security deposit, and set out to start a new life. I first moved to Parkville in Baltimore County, then to Orchard Beach in Anne Arundel County.”

 

She said that during the three years in Parkville, her daughter’s health steadily improved and she hasn’t had any symptoms since the left Edmondson Village. She said her son, 16, had always struggled in school. “When we lived in Edmondson Village, I tried everything, but nothing helped,” she said. “The schools were failing him. I chose Anne Arundel County because I heard that they have excellent schools. Now, my son is doing wonderfully and just made the honor roll for the first time in his life.”

 

She said that her depression “feels like it’s gone” and she is no longer on disability.

 

“My new environment has motivated me to want something better for my kids and myself,” Oliver said.  “I was able to find work as a patient home care technician and I’ve gone back to school, at Anne Arundel Community College, to become a drug and alcohol counselor. I chose this profession because I think that it is important to give back to communities that are less fortunate. This is what motivated me to join the board of the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, the organization that is responsible for the Thompson voucher mobility program.

 

“My hope is that other families will have the same opportunities that I have been given to reach for a better life. I would like to say thank you to Secretary Donovan and everyone at HUD who worked to make the Thompson program possible.”

 

Michelle Green lives in Baltimore County. She said the Thompson settlement “may have saved my sons’ lives.” She has four boys.  She lived with her oldest son in public housing in Lexington Terrace and many of her family members lived in the same neighborhood.

 

“My sister and I often worried about our sons,” she said. “We understood how difficult it is for decent boys who are trying to do the right thing to avoid violence in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, our fears were realized in the worst way when my nephew was killed while walking home from our local convenience store. The robbers thought that he had money.  He never got to finish high school; he never had a chance. I wanted to give my son a chance to live and a chance to graduate from high school, which was very rare in my neighborhood.”

 

Green said the voucher she received from the case gave her family a chance. She said it gave her the opportunity to move to a neighborhood that was safe.

 

“As soon as I got my voucher, I moved to a wonderful neighborhood in Columbia,” she said. “My boys received a warm welcome and felt really safe there. Thankfully, my two oldest sons attended middle school and high school in Columbia [MD]. They were both very active in school sports, and the coaches, the teachers and the students loved them. The day that my oldest son graduated from high school was the proudest moment of my life. He is doing well and is getting licensed to be a forklift operator.”

 

Green said her second son also graduated from high school and is planning to apply to colleges.

 

“They have made it past the most difficult age and are productive members of society,” she said. “And they are safe. Recently, I moved from Columbia to Baltimore County to be closer to the city to care for my grandmother. But I would never move back to Lexington Terrace. My two youngest sons are doing well in our new neighborhood in Catonsville. They get good grades, participate in sports, and are both determined to go to college. The neighbors love them, and they even earn extra money by mowing the neighbors’ lawns. I don’t worry about my kids’ safety anymore. I am less stressed and am able to go to work and even went back to school. I support the Thompson settlement because I believe that it can save lives.”

 

About PRRAC  The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) is a civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups in 1989-90. PRRAC’s primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues. PRRAC sponsors social science research, provides technical assistance, and convenes advocates and researchers around particular race and poverty issues.  Visit PRRAC online at www.prrac.org.  To join  PRRAC’s biweekly email list go to

State Rep. Ford and Chicago High school seniors return to Chicago from Talladega College, Alabama

Posted by Newsroom On April - 6 - 2013 Comments Off on State Rep. Ford and Chicago High school seniors return to Chicago from Talladega College, Alabama
 
100 students accepted to college

 

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) returns by bus at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon April 6 with 100 Chicago high school seniors who travelled to Talladega College in Alabama to visit the college and apply for admission. Leaving Chicago Thursday evening and then leaving Alabama Friday evening to return to Chicago, Rep. Ford joined Community Recovery Network to accompany the students to visit the college.

Headed by Executive Director Hedy Ellison, the Community Recovery Network is a community organization focused on connecting disadvantaged families and youth with opportunities to excel and a voice to make a difference. This year’s tour is their 2nd annual tour. “Our goal is to overshadow the negativity and violence that is plaguing our communities with the love and grace of a Higher Power, and uniting communities to empower and inspire our future leaders,” said Ellison.

“It is an honor to join Community Recovery Network and over 100 Chicago Public School seniors to tour Alabama’s oldest HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities),” said Ford. “With the record number of school closures and huge disparities in the numbers of African Americans being accepted to 4 year colleges when compared to other ethnic and racial groups, it was great to be part of having students see what options are open to them. It was great to meet with President Dr. Billy Hawkins of Talladega College, and it was exciting to hear the president’s commitment to meet the needs of the families in Illinois and increase college enrollment to help reduce the college enrollment disparities we see for African Americans in Chicago. We are excited that over 100 Chicago students from the West and South Sides of Chicago celebrated the end of the tour with a letter of acceptance to Talladega College, and 9 students received the Presidential Scholarship for a full ride,” said Ford.

Ford hopes that the media and the community will greet and encourage the students when they arrive back in Chicago at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 at Fellowship Baptist Church, 4543 S. Princeton Ave, Chicago, 60609.

Contact Rep. Ford at 773-416-4663 with questions.

Tips to deal with the after effects of flooding and water damage

Posted by Newsroom On April - 6 - 2013 Comments Off on Tips to deal with the after effects of flooding and water damage

 

CHICAGO, IL – Although May has beautiful flowers, one must first weather the stormy showers of April. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) advises both renters and homeowners to prepare for April showers so they are not caught off guard if they have to deal with water damage or flooding.

 

If your home is damaged by water, the BBB recommends three things to successfully hire a contractor to fix this damage:

  • Request bids from two or three different companies.
  • Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.
  • Base all bids on the same criteria.

“Shop around to get estimates from different companies, and do not just choose the lowest estimate,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “It is important to trust the company and make sure that they are ethical and have good reviews from past customers.”

 

Typically, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until the job is completed and you have inspected the work.

 

Before signing a home improvement contract consider the following tips from the BBB:

  • Research details and free information on contractors you can trust at www.bbb.org and consider using the BBB’s FREE online service, eQuote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
  • Get all estimates in writing.
  • Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand.
  • Homeowners should check with local and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections are required.
  • Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance.

 

The BBB also makes these recommendations to property owners and renters looking to obtain flood insurance: 

  • Call your insurance agent or company to inquire about the availability of flood insurance in the area. Keep in mind that flood insurance becomes effective 30 days after it is purchased.
  • Standard flood coverage does not typically cover damage resulting from sewer backups or sump pump issues. Ask your insurance agent or company if such additional coverage is appropriate to add to your policy.
  • Homeowners or renters should take an inventory of their personal property and make photocopies of their insurance policies, keeping important papers in a secure location away from home. Taking pictures of various rooms and their contents is also a great way to document the contents.

For more information on contractors and finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

Goodman Theatre Youth Arts Council partners with Illinois Safe Schools Alliance to raise awareness of LGBTQ harassment in schools

Posted by Newsroom On April - 6 - 2013 Comments Off on Goodman Theatre Youth Arts Council partners with Illinois Safe Schools Alliance to raise awareness of LGBTQ harassment in schools

 

GYAC members lead a workshop on the Theater-of-the-Oppressed during April 6 LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit

 

CHICAGO, IL –  For the first time, Goodman Theatre’s Youth Arts Council (GYAC) partners with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (ISSA) for its April 6 LGBTQ Youth Leadership Summit focusing on Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) support, technical assistance and preparation for the annual Day of Silence/Night of Noise (observed this year on April 19, 2013). The Day of Silence is a student-led, nationwide initiative meant to bring attention to LGBTQ harassment in schools in which students take a vow of silence for one day to illustrate the silencing effect of harassment and bullying. The Night of Noise follows as a space for discussion, reflection and celebration by participants and supporters. The GYAC members were led to this partnership with ISSA in conjunction with the production of Teddy Ferrara at the Goodman (closed March 3), about the complexities of LGBTQ issues on a college campus. The Summit is an opportunity for youth and GSA advisors to come together to organize, network, learn and develop leadership on LGBTQ safe schools issues.

“Once ISSA and GYAC realized the larger potential for their partnership, they knew they could make a significant impact with the April 6 Summit,” said Willa Taylor, the Goodman’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. “Using the momentum from Teddy Ferrara, the two groups aim to bring the questions raised by the play into the schools of Chicago, to create awareness for LGBTQ issues on the local level.”

GYAC members will create a promotional video for ISSA as well as present a live, original performance piece on April 6, and lead a workshop rooted in the theater-of-the-oppressed technique. The workshop aims to provide other students, teachers and administrators with the tools to create safe discussion spaces around LGBTQ issues in their high schools.

About Illinois Safe Schools Alliance

ISSA promotes safety, support and healthy development for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools and communities through advocacy, education, youth organizing and research. ISSA is comprised of students who work with Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) in Illinois high schools, as well as schools’ administration and staff, to ensure schools abide by district policies regarding the treatment of LGBTQ students and LGBTQ topics in curricula. 

About Goodman Theatre’s Youth Arts Council

Each year, exemplary students who complete the General Theater Studies or Cindy Bandle Young Critics programs are nominated to be members of the council by their teachers and peers. This leadership development initiative allows past participants in Goodman Theatre programs to stay involved. Members act as ambassadors in their communities and schools by collaborating with youth councils at other theaters and leading theater-based workshops for their peers and younger children.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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