Justice Geoffrey Slaughter asked, “What are the terms of the second contract, is it even in the record?”Mulvaney replied it was not included, to which Chief Justice Loretta Rush noted few of Rainbow’s clients were successfully completing the terms of the 24-months and getting to the second contract.“Well, the fact that they get there or don’t get there really isn’t important,” Mulvaney said.Jon Laramore, executive director of Indiana Legal Services, told the court the rent-to-buy contract was structured to avoid the consumer protections offered in the state’s Landlord-Tenant Act, Indiana Code section 32-31-3-7. Although the contract is structured to mimic or look on paper like a sale, he said, the provisions make the agreement a lease.“This is really set up to avoid the habitability protections that the Legislature has decided should apply in situations like this,” Laramore said. “The Legislature says you have to provide habitable housing and that right cannot be waived.”Slaughter quarried Laramore as to the court’s role in the dispute. “Why shouldn’t we conclude that this transaction was carefully structured in such a way, with clever lawyers to avoid the application of the statute,” Slaughter asked. “They found a loophole. The responsibility for closing that loophole belongs with the Legislature and not with us. What is wrong with that approach?”Laramore replied, “I would suggest that’s not consistent with the Legislature’s intent in this statute. The Legislature passed a very broad law. The definition of ‘rental agreement’ is very extremely broad. It covers many things and the exceptions are very narrow.”Video of the oral arguments is available here. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail Marilyn Odendahl for www.theindianalawyer.comA dispute that could have a far-reaching impact on the sizable rent-to-own housing market in the Hoosier state was presented to the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday morning with attorneys arguing over the nature of the rent-to-own contract.The case, Rainbow Realty Group, Inc. and/or Cress Trust v. Katrina Carter and Quentin Lintner, 19S-CC-00038, has zigzagged its way through the state court system. After Center Township Small Claims Court in Marion County granted Rainbow’s petition for possession and damages of the home that had been occupied by Katrina Carter and Quentin Lintner, the Marion Superior Court granted summary judgment to the couple. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, finding Rainbow was selling, not renting, the property to the couple.Along the way, the case has attracted attention. The Indiana Attorney General and the city of Indianapolis each filed amicus curiae briefs in support of Carter and Lintner as did the Indiana Association of Community Economic Development, the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, the Economic Justice Project of Notre Dame Clinical Law Center and National Consumer Law Center, and the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.Carter and Lintner signed a rent-to-own contract with Rainbow in 2013 for a home on the east side of Indianapolis. The couple was responsible making the $549 monthly payments, at in interest rate of 16.3 percent, along with all repairs to the residence, which had no electricity, plumbing or locks on the doors. When Carter and Lintner fell behind in their payments, Rainbow eventually started eviction proceedings.Representing the couple, Indiana Legal Services contended the contract Carter and Lintner signed was a rental agreement and Rainbow violated the state’s landlord-tenant act by not providing a habitable residence. For the first 24 months, the couple were to make monthly payments but would not build equity in the property and would be subject to eviction, not foreclosure, if they failed to meet their financial obligations.Rainbow countered the agreement was a contract of sale with the first two years of payments serving as the down payment on the home. Then the agreement would convert to a land sales contract.During oral arguments, Rainbow counsel, Karl Mulvaney, partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, reiterated the contract was a purchase agreement and, therefore, not covered by the landlord-tenant act.Justice Mark Massa seemed skeptical, asking Mulvaney, “If you’re going to do it that way, why not sturcutre it as a land contract? I mean, this is chock full of terms (like) rent, landlord, eviction, proceedings. I mean, how is this not a rental agreement when it’s full of terms like that?”Mulvaney responded the seller was very clear at the beginning that the payment would be applied to the overall sales contract. The first 24 months of payments were part of the financing arrangement because the couple did not have to provide a down payment.The justices then pressed the attorney on what comes next with the second contract. Mulvaney argued the second contract was part of the “overall integrated transaction.”
By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia citizens like to see fertile farmland and crops near urban areas and are willing to pay to preserve them, according to a University of Georgia survey.“The loss of farmland to urban and related development is an issue of considerable interest in Georgia, especially in rapidly urbanizing counties,” says John Bergstrom, an economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Bergstrom is collecting and analyzing Georgia data from a survey that asked citizens what farmland they value and how much they’d pay to help preserve it through the purchase of agricultural conservation (or PACE) programs. The survey was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Similar surveys were conducted in Ohio and Maine.PACEPACE programs are used to secure farm conservation easements. These easements are agreements between landowners and government agencies or private land trusts to place legal restrictions on the development of agricultural land in return for money to the landowner.Most Georgians in the survey believe the protection of farmland is consistent and compatible to environmental protection and that the family farm should be preserved in Georgia. But they prefer to protect farmland near urban areas. And they want that farmland to look fertile and be used to grow livestock and crops for human consumption.Protection moneyAnd they’d be willing to pay a one-time tax, possibly as a checkoff on state tax returns, to protect this land. According to the survey, Georgians would be willing to contribute $62 per household to preserve 100,000 acres or $81 to preserve as much as 2 million acres.Most survey participants also believe farmers aren’t wealthy.The survey was mailed to 1,000 randomly selected households in Georgia. The response rate was just over 25 percent. Bergstrom said this was a lower response rate than he had anticipated, but high enough to justify the findings.PACE programs can be financed by public and private money. But funds, he said, can be limited. He said this survey can help those administering such programs gauge what farmland citizens want to preserve.Bergstrom is completing a paper about the survey.In 2003, Georgia had about 10.8 million acres of farmland and about 49,000 farms, according to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service. In 1954, Georgia had about 24 million acres of farmland and about 165,000 farms.How much a landowner is given per acre to preserve land varies, Bergstrom said. But last month the Athens Land Trust, a private organization, secured $500,000 to buy a conservation easement for 63 acres of farmland in Oconee County, Ga. The funds came from the USDA and the Georgia Greenspace Program. This was the first time Greenspace funds were used to buy such an easement in Georgia.
Press Association Joseph O’Brien produced Dutch Masterpiece with a withering late run to claim the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh. Gary Moore’s 4-1 shot was one of a host of British challengers in the Group Three event, with Kevin Ryan’s Hamza the 5-2 favourite, and the latter was always in the firing line. Dutch Masterpiece was ridden with a little more restraint by the champion jockey before being asked to go about his business inside the final furlong, and he responded admirably, showing thrilling acceleration to get up and beat Hamza by half a length. Russian Soul led the home brigade in third place, a further neck away. Dutch Masterpiece was completing a hat-trick following June triumphs at Chester and Newmarket. O’Brien said: “He jumped and he travelled well. The ground is quick, safe ground. It took a bit of time to get comfortable in the race. He got a nice split through and he went to the line well. “It looked a decent enough race on paper. Mr Moore was very happy with him and he thought he had a massive chance if the ground was safe enough.” Another sprint prize was marked for export when Corporal Maddox (10-1) flashed home late to take the Dublin Bay Cruises Handicap under Chris Hayes. It was a terrific performance by the Ron Harris-trained six-year-old, who had plenty in front of him entering the closing stages and had to pulled wide for his effort before getting up close home to beat the always prominent Sassaway by three-quarters of a length, with Heuston third and top-weight Nero Emperor coming from another parish to snatch fourth.
With an off-weekend for most of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, it has been an enjoyable past few days for head coach Mark Johnson and his players. While the team is still working hard, practice pace is a little slower, more jokes fly around, players flash smiles on the ice and a general easiness surrounds LaBahn Arena.However, almost 2,000 miles away, select Badgers are playing their absolute hardest for their respective countries as the 2014 Four Nations Cup gets underway. Wednesday night, the United States took on Canada, with five players representing University of Wisconsin. Among the Badgers taking part in the tournament are senior captain Blayre Turnbull and freshman Emily Clark, playing for Canada, along with freshman forward Annie Pankowski, playing for the United States.These players find themselves teammates for most of the year, but will face off against each other in a border battle that always breeds fierce competition. The United States-Canada rivalry has grown extremely fierce in recent years on both the men’s and women’s sides. Canada has bested the United States in the past two Olympic women’s hockey finals, and many American players feel the need to finally win on the international stage. Former Badgers Hilary Knight, Alex Rigsby and Brianna Decker will lead the United States in the tournament.Despite the intensity this rivalry brings, Johnson is not worried that the competition will cause any divide amongst Badgers of Canadian and American heritage.“[The Canadian and American players] have been in camps together, or on the same team, whether they were growing up or at respective colleges like here,” Johnson said. “Once the puck drops and Canada is playing the United States, Clark and Pankowski are going to do things to help their respective teams and if they bump into each other, that’s just part of hockey. When the game is over and they’re flying back they’re teammates again, friends again.”Johnson touched on the strong bond his players have, which he believes a national team game can’t break. Instead of worrying about possible tensions that could arise from such a fierce rivalry, Johnson created a program in which no such rivalry can break the camaraderie. He has no reason to worry, and instead commends his players for their hard work and skills.“That’s the fun part of competing at this level,” Johnson said. “You have the chance to play for your country and, uniquely, you get a chance to play against one of your teammates, and it is quite an experience.”Regardless of whichever nation finds victory, the Badgers can only benefit from sending players to compete at the international level. Which could be just the spark the team needs after a slightly disappointing series this past weekend at North Dakota.The Badgers tied 3-3 against UND last Friday and squeaked out a 3-2 win Saturday to finish the series. Leading goal-scorer Brittany Ammerman tallied her fifth and sixth goals of the season and Sarah Nurse scored twice. While many offensive leaders are playing well, one statistic stands out among the rest.The Badgers outshot UND 40-21 Friday and 31-17 Saturday, prompting one to question why each game ended so closely when the Badgers heavily outshot their opponents. As Johnson pointed out, there is a very rational conclusion. With Pankowski, Clark and Turnbull all missing due to the Four Nations Cup, the Badgers were missing some major points and morale leaders on the ice, showing just how invaluable they are to the team.Another point to be taken away, as Johnson explained, is the added depth the Badgers have this year.“Under the circumstances, I thought we played very well,” Johnson said. “We were missing three of our top forwards on Friday, four on Saturday, so we had a gutty effort and came away with a tie and a win. I was very pleased.”The Badgers depth was on display against No. 1o North Dakota, which could mean big things for Wisconsin as the season progresses. When Turnbull, Pankowski and Clark return to Madison with their invaluable experience, Wisconsin’s depth will only increase. The offensive production should follow closely behind.
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has been described as a ‘true statesman’ following the commissioning of a Water Pump House Project in Wenchi sponsored by his foundation.The water facility is one of many other social intervention programs undertaken by the Asamoah Gyan Foundation in Ghana.The project estimated to cost over $50,000 was commissioned on Saturday by the Municipal Chief Executive of Wenchi Alhaji Hakibu Dauda and the Queen Mother Nana Ntoa Semendua.Wenchi township to enjoy regular flow of waterThe new water house pump project is meant to eliminate the current water-rationing system in Wenchi and its environs. The facility, originally constructed in the Busia era as one of two main water pumps serving the people of Wenchi had collapsed for over a decade.The Asamoah Gyan Foundation on the express request of President Asamoah Gyan took over the complete reconstruction of the facility which was commissioned on Saturday.MCE of Wenchi Alhaji Hakibu DaudaThe Black Stars captain came in for massive praise as he was described as a ‘true statesman’ for his direct strategic social interventions to alleviate the plight of several deprived communities. “Asamoah Gyan has shown true statesmanship through the construction of this water project to serve the people of Wenchi, even more so that it is one of many other projects being undertaken by the foundation,” MCE of Wenchi Alhaji Hakibu Dauda said at the ceremony to commission the project.“He is a good example of who a true citizen of the land should be and we must all come together and support his worthy venture.”Asamoah Gyan Foundation funded the Water Pump House Project The full view of the Water Pump House ProjectThe MCE joined by the Wenchi Queen Mother and officials of the Municipality cut the sod to signal the commissioning of the water project amidst a huge cheer of its indigenes accompanied by a 10-minute downpour – widely interpreted as ‘showers of blessings’.Wenchi Queen Mother Nana Ntoa Semendua also chipped in her praise for the Al Ain ace for giving life to her people with the construction of the water facility.“I am very proud of Asamoah Gyan and his team for this vital intervention for our community,” she said.“It is a life saver because we all know that water is life. The Asamoah Gyan Foundation convoy making its way into the Wenchi townshipBaffour Gyan led officials of the Asamoah Gyan Foundation to the durbar“Water has been a major problem for this area – a burden which will be mightily eased with the commissioning of this project. “Asamoah Gyan has always been a trail blazer throughout his life and career as a footballer and has set a new standard with the construction of this project.“I can only ask for God’s blessings for him and urge others to emulate this example.”Arrival of dignitaries to the durbarAsamoah Gyan’s father, George Gyan Baffour revealed at the durbar to commission the project the inspiration behind the construction of the Pump House facility. “My son Asamoah Gyan was here over ten years ago when he saw people – especially women and children trekking a long distance carrying buckets and gallons in search of water,” he recalled.“He [Asamoah Gyan] asked me the reason why and I told him the community had problems with its water pumps and thus not all areas have water flowing through their taps despite the vast water resource here.Presentation made to the people of Wenchi“He then told me that one day he will get this town a water pump and over ten years on we see this facility as the fulfillment to his pledge.”Chief Executive Officer of the Asamoah Gyan Foundation, Samuel Anim Addo urged the committee to take good care of the new facility so it last long enough for them to reap maximum dividends.“This is your property and therefore take very good care of it so that its benefit will reach generations upon generations,” he said.Pleasantries exchanged after the commissioning“Water is one of the thematic areas of our foundation and we are happy to be doing this for the people of Wenchi.”“Asamoah Gyan is blessed and he wants to ensure that his blessings are extended to as many people as possible.”The People of Wenchi in a joyous moodCEO of the Gyan FoundationThe people getting ready for the opening of the pump house