Distressed homeowners are not finding anything funny about the current real estate market. In my town, a San Diego short sale agent nonetheless brought to my attention a humorous story about President Obama’s Chicago home that became an urban legend by conspiracy theorists. The gist of the story is that the President came to Chicago for a fundraiser, only to find his home foreclosed.
The story goes like this: President Obama had a shocking homecoming when he found out that his residence in Hyde Park had been foreclosed some time last year. Obama was visiting Chicago for fundraising events and decided to visit the old homestead, only to find new locks and new owners. The house was in disrepair. The story goes on to say that the Obamas had neglected to make any house payments since the inauguration and the house had become “an eyesore” – a weed-strewn lawn, stray cats crawling through the property, neighbors keeping the kids away for fear of rabies, etc. The rundown condition of the house brought down the property values throughout the neighborhood. Loud, Spanish-channel TV streamed from the house 24-hours a day. Then, in May 2011, a spinal surgeon bought the house at foreclosure auction. Was he surprised when he caught President Obama trying to jimmy the lock! When the President was told what had happened, he apologized and left. The next day at the White House, he downplayed the significance of the event, saying “Whatever. It’s cool”.
The real story stems from a January trip to the windy city, when one fundraising event bought the president back to his old neighborhood where he joked that he wanted to make sure that neighbors weren’t “bringing down property values” in the neighborhood. He was surveying a crowd of 140 supporters at a neighbor’s house and he was pointing out old friends in the crowd. It was a convivial event in which Mrs. Obama reminisced with people “who watched are kids grow up”. The President at one point asked “Is somebody mowing the grass in front of my house?”. He had the whole crowd laughing.
This was great material for the satirists at the SuperTuesdayNews website, which published the fictitious piece of humor on January 12, 2012. Right wing websites then picked up the story, apparently believe it was true (and apparently believing that the Secret Service would allow the president to go rummaging about his Chicago house by himself in the middle of the night). Even now, some wingnuts are using the story as proof why the president is unfit to lead our great nation. These are no doubt the same ones who think the moon landing was faked!