The Life and Times of William P. Wilen

Occupation: Lawyer with the Poverty Law Project and the Legal Assistance Foundation.

Born: May 29, 1946, Sioux City, Iowa.

Family: Wife Judy; two children, Jason, 27, Erica, 21.

Education: Bachelor’s in political science, University of Iowa, 1968; law degree, Northwestern University, 1973.

Military service: U.S. Army, 1969-1971, Criminal Investigations Division, Washington, D.C.

Hobby: Owns nearly all the 1,032 Mickey Mantle baseball cards in circulation.

Other notable cases:

–¢ Ferrell vs. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: This nationwide class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 2 million low- and moderate-income people, demanded HUD assistance for families facing foreclosure on their Federal Housing Administration mortgages when residents ran into financial trouble. A 1976 consent decree created a program that allowed FHA mortgage holders to make reduced payments for up to 36 months.

HUD terminated the program in 1996 after Congress passed legislation affecting HUD’s ability to take additional assignments. In March 1998, U.S. District Judge David H. Coar ruled that HUD did so without court approval. He ordered HUD to temporarily reinstate the program pending court review.

–¢ Rembert, et al vs. Sheahan: This class-action lawsuit, filed in January 1992, charged that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office was unlawfully evicting tenants in mortgage foreclosure proceedings. The foreclosure documents delivered by sheriff’s deputies identified property owners by name but referred to tenants as “unknown occupants.” The suit charged that the sheriff evicted tenants without prior notice.

In July 1994 U.S. District Judge James F. Holderman dismissed the case. But Wilen took the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned that decision in August 1995.

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