Saturday, November 14, 2009
It's been six months since they killed Mike, but it still feels like yesterday. I don't feel like I'm making much progress resolving my internal conflicts about this. The rapid pace in which problems appear and need to be resolved has been constant. The resentment I feel from the people taking advantage of the situation is intense and not helping. It is what it is Nora, what did you expect. Some asshole called yesterday to bitch about the price of the building and try to low ball me with the cosmetic problems at the property. I told him he was wasting his time,and I wouldn't even take the time to show him the inside if his bid wasn't much higher. He kept trying to convince me and I told him I would keep it or list it with a Realtor before we accepted 750,000. Today I'm showing the last apartment for rent, and meeting the electrician to rewire the safety lights the gang members riped out. Later we play a game of get the tenants in line so they pay their rent one time. Meeting with them all individually on a surprise visit sounds so sneaky but necessary. They avoid us as much as they can to not pay rent. I'm fairly ready to hand in all my paperwork at this point to get my life back. Part of me knows Marge needs my help and it's too much work for one person. The other part of me is not a quitter and will see this through until it's all sold. Got to get busy with my appointments.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
what a hell week.the guy thats supposed to buy the store is balking.I don't know what to do.i'm so upset,I feel like crying.too angry to call,so i'll let Marge handle it.Will have to wait a week to see if John buys the building until next week.I feel so sick and tired.I have a cold and want this to come to a conclusion.My stress level is so high I just want to crawl in a hole and never come out.also feeling the stress of not being an adequate for what i'm being asked to do.which in all truth i'm not ,i'm just trying to help save the most money for Brittany.my intentions are good, but m short falls are all too real.Making the pain of failure add to the pain of loss.How do I get myself into these things.It started as a helper to collect the rents.I was the only volunteer.Then it spread to move all mikes and Brittany's stuff into the garage.Then to, clear out the store and finally to sell the store and building. Meanwhile I'm filling out victim of violent crime act forms and lottery resolution forms with a helping of SSI forms.Between paying bills ,contracting helpers,and writing leases,and finding renters I don't believe I've had a moments rest.I wish this would all work out and come to a close.It's been almost 6 months since they killed Mike and the work never seems to end.GOD help me.I want to finish,but don't know if I can.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
As I make my first expense sheet for the property I`m trying to sell for my niece ,I take time to reflect on my progress.I am pleased. Even though this has been one of the most painful and emotional years of my life ,I see the person I`ve become ,and I like her.I went to a dangerous area in Chicago,collected rents,solved problems,rented apartments and commercial spaces,made leases,held an auction,sold my brothers store,and co-ordinated all the help we needed to fix what I could not.I found a psychic and developed my own abilities to solve the problems of this complex estate.My ability to sense evidence to turn into the police and find needed information with my senses instead of my eyes even freaked me out.I always knew I could read people and their behaviors more easily than others,but I never believed I had psychic abilities to the extent I have experienced.Mike was in my dream as I went to his store that first day to start to resolve these issues.The customers and neighbors that loved him came to us with their stories and turmoil.No one understood how this could happen on such a busy corner with so many friends around.No one understood how it could take the police 18 minutes to get there after the first 911 call.Some people came in the store and said Mike was not talking to them which was strange.All I could tell them that He wasn`t going to get anyone hurt.He probably thought he could hanle it like the other times.If the cops would have shown up sooner there would have been a hostage situation and not a murder.But they had 18 minutes and something went wrong.Now we can never go back,only forward.I`m a softer more sensitive person today because of my brother Mike and Brittany.Seems I cannot change back even if I wanted too.I will continue to challenge my gifts and senses to see were they take me.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Lets not forget the crazies I`ve met along the way.Jackie who claimed to be a paralegal and a friend of my brothers was so insane she would lie from sentence to sentence.Biggest bullshitter you ever met but she sure did get those slacking porch contractors to finish. She was so convincing the she could have their contractors licence pulled that they finished the job.We actually subpoenaed them to a court date for a building violation they caused.So they finished before the court date because they didn`t know what would happen.After that she was useless though,got nothing done that she said she was doing.When I asked for the files she had to check her work she lost it.Talk about multiple personality disorder,she was a prime example.A learning experience I won`t soon forget.Very painful were her personal attacks to try and cover her tracks,and then she was trying to extort money from the estate of a minor after she embezzled 50 dollars from a tenant she was supposed to be evicting.We were not giving another dime.I can`t tell you how many people came to see the store to buy it.All wanted it for a liquor store but 1. He got it.Now If I could just sell that building so I could get the hell out of there before I lose it.
I took my son with me to the building today to collect rents.The bar guy who burned my brother for 10,000 was not in ,home with a headache.And so it goes 1/2 pay,1/2 hide until I find them. the last restaurant owner tried to blow the place up by leaving the gas on. They even changed residences so it would be harder to track them down for their past debt.Never paying rent on time,getting behind,and never even trying to catch up was the game.No wonder Mike couldn`t get out of there.I can`t get out of there.5 hours later only 1/2 the rents are collected on Nov. 1st.I`ll try again next week with some phone calls to try and get their bullshit explanations.Brittany was really in a bad spot today. Nothing anyone could do to help,you could see the pain she was in. It made it real all over again,like day 1.The confusion,helplessness,hopelessness and the internal battle that there are no answers for.The chaos of estate matters is never ending.It really doesn`t matter,no matter what we do,we can`t make it better or bring him back.I now dread the holidays because he won`t be there.My brother was a big part of my life.I had a vision yesterday.This life insurance company said Mike didn`t make his last payment, but I think he did. We looked for cancelled checks but none were found for the payment.I saw myself as Mike calling on the phone and paying with a credit card.It seemed so real i`ll have to have Marge check all his accounts during that time period.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
There`s a lot of other factors I`m just not seeing. Why am I doing this? Because I worked in that store,know those people and have street smarts.Why can`t I find a lawyer that`s willing to go after the police and 911 center? Because mayor Daley passed a law that you can no longer sue the police department.Why didn`t Mike have his gun when he was closing up. Because in Chicago store owners can no longer carry a gun.Why did he stay? because he was making a difference.In July I finally went into the assailants apartment because someone was trying to break into it. The steal door was pealed all the way back exposing the locks and bolt mechanisms. They didn`t get in. I found the keys and went in. they left so much stuff behind and were in jail. were there still drugs in there? I called the police and asked for a cop and if possible a drug dog. $ hours later no one came and no return call.They didn`t refuse,They just didn`t show.So it was getting dark and I needed to get out of there.We through everything out and put an alarm system in the unit and set it off. Now everyone knew we had an alarm.Still no cops.I`m doing this for Brittany and for Mike.He would have done it for me.One of the greatest memories of my brother is how understanding and non-judgmental he was.He was your friend no matter what.He loaned money to so many people and helped so many get sober that everyone seemed to love him.That community told me how much he meant to them. That`s why he didn`t leave. he was making a difference. Thank you God that you loaned Micheal J. Norton to us for 55 years. May the people that killed him rot in hell.
Con artists and bullshitters come out of the woodwork when your vonerable. I was prime bait.The last lus never had the rent on time. then she was going to move and then she wasn`t. Lost a months rent out of the deal.I was fearful of renting the 2 empty units because I didn`t want to move more drug dealers in.Mike lost his life standing up for what he believed in. So I left the units empty for a few months until I learned how to screen people. The store is empty and sold now to a new owner.I feel so empty like the store,everything given away or moved to storage.My emotions are raw and intensified. Two other men ,friends of my brothers,came and talked to me.they were there that day right before it happened.They both said Mike wouldn`t talk to them.He was just standing there silent.They didn`t understand his behavior so they left. They told me they now suspect the criminals were in the back room holding a gun on him.Mike was not one to let anyone else get hurt because of his problems. No matter what I do nothing will change the fact that Mike is dead. I try to remember the good times,the fishing trips,the comedy clubs and the birthday parties. I try my best to be grateful Mike was my brother and a great dad to Brittany. My heart is broken. When they shot Mike they shot all of us. Some day the pan is so bad I don`t want to get out of bed. The goal I have set for myself are high but not unattainable. I sold the store w/o a Realtor,I can sell that whole building w/o one. I`m still fighting the Illinois state lottery for the 11,900.00 they`re trying to take from Brittany for the stolen instant tickets.The chaos with the city and their violations is a whole other unfinished story.There`s so many problems that come up it`s overwhelming. No time to grieve Nora get busy.
Com ed will not turn the lights back on because the last tenant didn`t pay her bill.Now the new 1 month tenants,Mike`s killers,want the lights on.The building owner can be held responsible for tenant not paying lights.Mike wanted these gang squatters out he certainly was not going to pay the lights so they could stay. So they sat in the dark with their 4 children that also were not on the lease. the light bill was 1700.00 how did it get that high? They kept threatening Mike so he gave them their deposit and may rent back,He told them to leave go sell their drugs somewhere else. He told them he had 23 years years of sobriety and he could not allow them to sell drugs and guns out of his building. It seemed at that point the cops were on the side of the gangs,but there was no proof.So he got up went to work and when he was closing up they surprised him. Had him at gun point, beat him, tied him up with plastic wire an shot him in the back of the head. Why did it take the police 18 minutes to get there after the first 911 call? Why did it still take 10 minutes after the second?The police station is only 2 miles away. Isn`t armed robbery a priority call? Evidently not in Chicago.Now I`m here at the store tearing the family business apart to take home memorabilia and try to bring some closure to this mess.
Now for the apartments,1st joanne`s, only 550 a month for a 2 bedroom. was he crazy. she had been there 15 years. I remembered her from when I worked at the corner store with Mike and my dad. Always dated younger guys 20-30 years younger.Next Anitas apartment 575 for a two bedroom. still the cheapest in the area. She always had her rent also.Who wouldn`t at that price.One of the worst things about going down there was listening to the different scenarios of what happened to Mike. Part of me wanted to shut them up buy what if I found out some key evidence the police didn`t have.So I listened and the more I heard the more I didn`t want to know. Things like my brother calling the police several times to get help to get the drug dealing tenants out. All they did was threaten to fine him or take his building away. He wanted them arrested for threatening to kill him and the cops did nothing.The gang members shot a bullet through the front window of the store and all the police cameras caught nothing. Finally com ed cut off the lights for lack of payment and they blamed him.They and the police told Mike he could not evict them even though they were squatter friends of the last tenant.So he followed the law.gave them a 1 month lease to establish residency to help the eviction.
Next the domino club, an after hours social club that did not have to obey bar closing hours. Sebastain I have known since I was 18 years old.I used to drink there and play pool. Not his fault,I had a fake ID.He had his rent like always.Then the barber shop, Deon was now running it because the lady who rented it kept all the rent and mike couldn`t find her to get it.He pays 200 a week because he can`t save a whole months rent.he`s usually short but always catches up. Also the 1st bar guy bounces his checks and you have to chase him down to get it.Believe me I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My family required me to have a bodyguard of some sort with me down there at all times. I was an easy target with all those rents. It took several months to get the tenants to pay by check. I didn`t like walking around there with all that cash. Twice I called for a police escort because some female gang members were owning that corner. The more I inquired about it the more the cops cleared them out.
June 1st 2009,I`m at Mike`s building trying to collect the rents for Brittney. Part of me has a death wish just to be relieved of my pain and grief.I start at the tire shop. Jose telling me he don`t know how this happened and gives me the rent.I find out later it`s 80.00 short when I finally get a copy of the rent books held in evidence.Getting those copies was a whole other scenario of phone calls.Then the bar guy,Jose Pagan, another kind of liar.Owed my brother 10,000 we`ll never see.He actually faked a fall in the back of the building not once but twice to try and sue.Why pay your rent when you can slouch and try to sue.Then the restaurant, Lucus taco,no rent ran and hid for 3 weeks as if the gangs were after him. Couldn`t even get in to let Nicor reed the meters. I could not find keys.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This is the search words I always use to stay updated on my brothers case. May 14th 2009, the phone rang, it was my x. Then he said the words I never want to hear again. "Mike was robbed" he said. 'What happened" I asked. He said it was not good. I told him to get to the point. He claimed he did not make it. I did not want to believe him so I called the district 5 police. I told them that I was the youngest sister of micheal norton the store owner that was killed at north aveenue and cicero and was the body still at the scene. They extended their condolences and said "yes". I had to call my family before it hit the 9 or 10pm news. I could only get myself to call jimmy. A policeman for thirty years or more I knew jim would kwow what to do.