Philly Sheriff issues 50-day moratorium on foreclosure sales
Philadelphia acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley on Friday issued an immediate moratorium on all sheriff sales in the city for 50 days. Sheriff sales are extremely similar to normal foreclosure auctions; certain states around the country, however, require that a sheriff preside over the sale. The latest moratorium comes as the embattled Sheriff's office faces an ongoing investigation of alleged financial mismanagement. According to a press release from her office, Deeley placed Director of Finance and Compliance Tyrone Bynum, Solicitor Edward Chew, and Real Estate Supervisor Crystal Stewart on immediate leave with pay until Feb 7. After that, they're out, her office said. She also reassigned the director of real estate, Daryl Stewart, outside of the Real Estate Division. That change is effective immediately. Deeley also terminated all agreements and business relationships with Reach Communications, RCS Searchers and all the title companies currently doing business with her office. The shake-up comes on the back of a recent audit of the Sheriff's office. The foreclosure moratorium is meant to give time for personnel to adjust before taking on more work. "My actions today have been taken in full consultation with President Judge Pamela Dembe," said Deeley. "These steps have been taken in full cognizance of the important work done by City Controller Alan Butkovitz in auditing the Sheriff’s Office. The findings in his report are, in large part, the impetus for the actions I have taken today." Deeley appointed Joe Vignola to the newly-created position of chief deputy for finance and accountability, after dismissing the other individuals. His first task will be to review all agreements and contracts signed by the Real Estate Division of the Sheriff's Office. Vignola was formerly the city comptroller. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.