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Tim Brophy RE-revisited

READ IT HERE • WEB ONLY ARTICLE  Just when we thought something having to do with Tim Brophy’s unhappy affairs would be concluded in a just and honorable way, the story continues to defy closure. (Or should we say Tim Brophy continues to defy closure?) For those of you who are unfamiliar with the saga, here is some history. Let’s go back to March of 2006 when Jessica Wineberg initiated the lawsuit against landlord Brophy after the city, due to outstanding building code violations, ousted her from the apartment she’d rented from him only days earlier. Brophy didn’t return her security deposit within the time allotted. So she sued him. In January of 2007 the case was found to be appropriate for a Class action and opened to anyone who’d rented from Brophy between March 30, 2000 and May 15, 2007, provided there were uncorrected housing and building code violations that Brophy failed to disclose, or they were not returned their security deposits or given an explanation as to why within the required 21 days. There are presently over 100 plaintiffs who fit these standards. On July 30, 2007 the Honorable David A. Hansher approved a settlement of $300,000 to be awarded to the Class members. That was paltry in comparison to the $6.2 million in total damages sought by the group’s attorneys. Still it could be counted as a success, and as Todd Weiler of the Department of Neighborhood Services told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “All of this is breaking new ground. This is the first time (in 21 years) I’ve seen a class action lawsuit of this type for a Milwaukee landlord.” Shortly afterward, Brophy handed over the money. It was placed into an interest-bearing account, a Common Fund, from which the disbursements would be paid. So, why haven’t any of the Class members seen a penny of this Common Fund yet? That’s because in the next month Tim Brophy filed for bankruptcy. And until the bankruptcy proceedings are concluded, no one may touch the fund. Earlier this year there was a motion filed by the court to dismiss the bankruptcy. In a recent hearing the attorney Brophy was retaining to fight the dismissal was disqualified by the court. Brophy is slated to be back in court in August, apparently with a new lawyer. Word is that the judge, who could dismiss the bankruptcy, is considering changing the status from a Chapter 11 to a Chapter 7. According to the assistant of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, that move would result in even greater complications regarding the Fund. Will it ever end? Will the Class members ever receive their money? Will Tim Brophy ever actually pay anything? Stay tuned.