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Collins protects, informs seniors seeking reverse mortgages

collins reversemrg mrSPRINGFIELD – In the wake of revelations that at least one con artist used a risky financial product called a reverse mortgage to scam dozens of senior citizens, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) was pleased to announce today that the governor has signed her legislation designed to protect consumers from losing their homes in reverse mortgage schemes.

“A reverse mortgage is a complicated financial product that can leave homeowners and their families vulnerable to scams and unable to pay when the loan comes due,” Collins said. “This legislation requires lenders to provide potential borrowers with accurate information about the product, a list of counselors they can contact if they need help and the opportunity to reconsider within three days of signing the paperwork.”

For almost 30 years, a lawsuit filed by the state alleges Chicago remodeler Mark Diamond tricked senior citizens into taking out reverse mortgages – which pay out cash advances based on a homeowner’s equity – and then use the loan proceeds to pay his company to make home improvements. Instead, Diamond took the money while the repairs remained unfinished or poorly done. Many of his victims and their families faced losing cherished homes they’d owned for decades when the homeowner died or moved into long-term care and the loan (the cash paid out, plus interest) came due. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a court to put Diamond, who kept his scheme going by conducting it under the auspices of different companies, out of business for good. Diamond’s practices are also under federal investigation.

Collins worked with Madigan, Housing Action Illinois and other advocates on Senate Bill 1281, which ensures potential borrowers are informed about the risks of reverse mortgages and also prohibits someone who facilitates a reverse mortgage from accepting any of the proceeds in exchange for services, as Diamond did. Finally, the legislation prevents conflicts of interest by banning lenders from receiving compensation in exchange for trying to sell borrowers on other financial products, such as life insurance policies and investments.

“The senior citizens I represent take great pride in their homes; many have worked hard their whole lives to pay off their mortgages,” Collins said. “Strong consumer protections can help them avoid unscrupulous schemes so they can live out their later years in peace and dignity and not worry about whether the family home will be there for their children and grandchildren.”

Sullivan responds to the passing of Dr. Russell Dohner

dohner 080715RUSHVILLE— Longtime Rushville physician Dr. Russell Dohner passed away Friday morning. Dohner had served the people of Rushville and Schuyler County from 1955 to 2013 when he retired at age 88.

“Dr. Dohner stood for everything you wanted to see in a doctor: He was hardworking, compassionate, thoughtful, humble and involved with the community. He touched the lives of generations and was a truly remarkable man. He will be deeply missed,” State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.

Dohner received national attention for his long career and for his practice of only charging $5 per visit regardless of his expense. He didn’t take appointments, saw patients on a first-come-first served basis and wouldn’t leave until every patient was seen.

Dohner was a World War II veteran and a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School. He was born in Vermont, Ill. in 1925 and passed away at age 90.

In 2013 Dohner served as the grand marshal of the Illinois State Fair parade and made the simple statement, “I'm a general practitioner: I do whatever I can to help people."

Sullivan: Veterans home resident protections become law

Sullivan: Veterans home resident protections become lawSPRINGFIELD - Legislation giving residents of Illinois Veterans Homes the right to appeal expulsion decisions was signed into law Friday.

State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) introduced the new law that grew out of a case earlier this year where a veteran, Eugene Zalazinski, would have been forced out of the Quincy Veterans Home without an independent appeal or hearing.

“Veterans rely on the medical care and assistance they earned by serving our country. We are maintaining their rights and dignity as well as keeping them in a safe, caring environment as an appeal goes through,” Sullivan said.

Tom Cullerton’s PANDAS initiative signed into law

Tom Cullerton's PANDAS initiative signed into lawSPRINGFIELD - Vital legislation to raise awareness on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) was signed into law today.

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

To raise awareness and educate medical professionals, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed a measure to create an advisory council to make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.

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