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Lovejoy resident pushing for foreclosure summit, registry

Danny James (from left) Timothy Vondell Jefferson, Verlincia Cuyler and Fred Young are working to get a foreclosure summit and registry set up to address the issues of foreclosures in Clayton County. Jefferson is leading the group.

Danny James (from left) Timothy Vondell Jefferson, Verlincia Cuyler and Fred Young are working to get a foreclosure summit and registry set up to address the issues of foreclosures in Clayton County. Jefferson is leading the group.

— Timothy Vondell Jefferson is tired of seeing Clayton County sitting near the top of lists of counties with the highest rates of home foreclosures in Georgia.

Jefferson, who lives in Lovejoy and once worked in construction and property management, said something needs to be done to stem the tide of foreclosures in Clayton County. He and a small group of grant-writers and multi-unit property owners are working to establish a foreclosure registry and summit to address the issue and reduce the number of foreclosures in the county.

There are 1,682 home foreclosures listed on Realtytrac.com, a web site that keeps track of foreclosures.

“If there is no action taken, we’re going to look like Detroit and Cleveland,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said he has gotten some support from Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeff Turner, Vice-Chairman Michael Edmondson and Commissioner Shana Rooks for a foreclosure summit and registry in the county. Several state legislators from the county, as well as Lovejoy leaders, have also pledged their support, he said.

The issue, he said, is getting everyone to the table and getting someone to sponsor the summit.

The foreclosure situation is one that has perplexed municipal and county officials for years, particularly when they go to cite the owner of a foreclosed property for code violations but can’t easily track down who owns the land.

The city of Jonesboro has been contemplating creating a city-wide foreclosure registry off and on since February 2011.

“What this does is it gives us a way to contact people that own these vacant houses to make sure they’re kept up, and if not, we’ve got an address we can contact a person and we can get something done about it,” then-Mayor Luther Maddox said when the registry was first discussed.

In some cases, officials have to fight with banks to get foreclosed properties torn down or brought up to code.

Bank of America was held in contempt of Riverdale’s Municipal Court in 2011 for not complying with a judge’s order to cut the property’s grass or to tear down a dilapidated structure on the property. The bank denied owning the property, but ultimately agreed to pay for demolition costs while avoiding contempt fines.