Rich Blacks And High Foreclosure: Can Rushern Baker Save The Day?

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By Jeneba Ghatt

While some race to Atlanta, Charlotte and other sprouting urban hubs in the South, there’s no getting away from it: Prince George County is still the crown jewel of African American affluence. It boasts the highest concentration of middle to upper-middle income Blacks in the nation. It gained national attention via Connie Briscoe’s best selling 2002 fictional novel PG County, which explored the exploits of prominent fictional Black characters.

How then did the county eventually become the poster child for having the highest rate of mortgage foreclosures in the state of Maryland? Foreclosure sales in the county have jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 51 percent by June 2011.

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Troubled by that, County Executive Rushern Baker has an idea. He says a few years back when all indicators pointed to the inevitable downfall of the realty industry, his county – then run by disgraced politician Jack Johnson – did nothing.

“What got us is our slow reaction,” Baker claims during an exclusive interview with Politic365 in his Upper Marlboro, Maryland office.

Several people have blamed the housing crash on people purchasing homes they couldn’t afford, but Baker says it was more complicated than that and certainly not as sinister.

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