Brad Tabke

Brad Tabke in 2017.

Minnesota House District 55A Rep. Brad Tabke was in pre-foreclosure on his Harvest Lane home in Shakopee earlier this year but soon caught up with his mortgage, according to documents filed in Scott County District Court.

The Shakopee Democrat received a notice of pendency for the foreclosure April 24 from the law firm Usset, Weingarden and Leibo. The proceedings were cancelled May 10 when he caught up with payments to Ditech Financial. The firm didn’t disclose how far behind Tabke fell on the mortgage for his 1,000-square-foot home.

Cutting ties with clients

Tabke’s consulting company, Grepoli LLC, works with nonprofits and developers on real estate projects. When he decided to run for office in 2018, Tabke said he cut ties with many of his clients to avoid conflicts of interest that could have emerged during the election and throughout his tenure as a legislator.He said he also didn’t take on more clients while he was running, “not knowing my status for being able to serve them if elected to the Minnesota House.”

“These choices were the right thing to do but put significant financial strain on our family,” said Tabke, who is married with two kids.

Throughout the late winter and spring of this year, Tabke said he saved money to pay the balance in full, which was required, but received a notice that his family’s home was in danger of foreclosure before he could do so.

“It is unfortunate we got to that point, but I am proud we were able to catch back up and move forward,” Tabke said. “Now that the 2019 session is over, I am learning how to balance client work with being an active legislator doing great work for the residents and businesses of our district.”

Tabke was Shakopee’s mayor 2011-2016 and was elected to the Minnesota House District 55A seat in November. District 55A has a population of about 43,500 and includes Shakopee and smaller townships.

How foreclosures work

Foreclosure processes are different in every state, Karen Pederson from the Minnesota Home Ownership Center said.

In Minnesota, just a month after a homeowner misses his or her mortgage payment, a default notice is mailed to the owner to remind them of the dues owed. If payments are still not met, a notice of pendency is sent to the owner, from an attorney, as a pre-foreclosure warning. These warnings are unique to Minnesota, Pederson said. At that time, if no payments have been made, the attorney must publish a pre-foreclosure notice for six full weeks before the attorney can schedule the house’s sheriff sale date. In this case, Tabke’s home published on Zillow as a pre-foreclosure sale. After six weeks, if there are still no payments, the county notifies occupants of an intent to sell the house, or a sheriff’s sale.

Occupants are then offered a six-month redemption period, when they maintain the right to stay in their home and can still recover the property, should they pay off the sheriff’s sale amount.

In 2018 there were 3,495 foreclosures in Minnesota, according to the county sheriff’s sale data. Compared to 2017, the state saw a 17% decline in foreclosures. The metro saw an even starker decrease, at 26%

According to the 2018 Consumer Services Report from the MNHOC, 37,205 households in pre-foreclosure have avoided foreclosure since 2008.

Financial history brought up in

2018 election

Tabke’s financial history was under the spotlight in the 2018 election, when court documents showed he had a personal account that was unpaid in the amount of $20,888 as of October 2012. It was filed in district court in May 2013. According to court documents, the matter was settled in December 2016.

Another judgment was filed against Tabke and his former business, Quercus Landscapes, in May 2013 regarding a business account with a similar issue. Tabke said in a 2018 interview he has been paying it off incrementally.

Tabke said both credit card debts stemmed from trouble during the Great Recession. When it hit, Quercus’s biggest client stopped making payments and eventually owed the company more than six figures, “a lot for a really small company,” Tabke said.

State representatives this year will earn a salary of $46,500, according to the Legislative Salary Council. That’s up from $45,000 in 2018.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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