Bankruptcy at 'unprecedented' level

Miller wants mortgage relief
RALIEGH Miller announced the initiative with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin at news conference in Washington, D.C. Miller said the nation is not going to stabilize the economy until officials stop the collapse of home values.

The news comes as a Wake County official told Eyewitness News that bankruptcies - both personal and commercial - are at unprecedented levels.

Marcus Kinrade, Wake County's Revenue Director, says the number of filings piles higher every day.

"Some people could look at it as just a piece of paper, but it's a human story behind every one of these," he offered.

Ten were filed Tuesday morning alone.

"People are hurting. Unemployment's going up. People are losing their jobs, and they can't pay their bills," said Kinrade. "It's people who can't pay their bills or may not be able to buy groceries or gas."

Lisa Sumner is a bankruptcy lawyer in Raleigh.

"I think a lot of people have been hanging on individually, both on their personal residences and on the debt that they've had. And now that we're saying more layoffs, individuals are being impacted between that and their mortgage rates increasing," she told Eyewitness News.

Businesses, of course, are being hit as well. For now, it's mostly those related to the slowing housing market.

"Builders, contractors, grading companies - anyone who's involved in building homes or preparing lots for construction, right now, they're hurting," said Kinrade.

Sumner warns other businesses are likely to fall - and file - next year. She predicts more retail bankruptcies after the holidays, and then others.

"Probably in the restaurant business as well and maybe even in the automotive sector," she said. "It looks like this is just the beginning and we're going to see a whole lot more in 2009."

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