Christopher Sawyer (R)
Need to Know
Sawyer has used property research as a tool to push problem properties in Kensington into sheriff sale, and he claims to have educated hundreds of his neighbors to use this tactic.
Publishes the blog Philadelinquency, focusing on the intersection of tax delinquency and blight.
Promises to end no-bid contracting in the sheriff’s office, and close the revolving door for sheriff’s office employees retiring into the title-search business.
Christopher Sawyer, 37, is a Kensington-based anti-blight activist who blogs about tax delinquency and other real-estate issues on Philadelinquency.com. A systems engineer by profession, Sawyer is a native of rural Southwest Texas and lived in San Antonio before moving to Philadelphia in 2003.
Jewell Williams (D)
Need to Know
Williams previously served as a state legislator in the General Assembly.
Williams has increased efforts to return money to property owners whose properties have been sold for more than the outstanding debts at sheriff’s sale.
FBI raided the sheriff’s office in 2013 and seized records related to investigation of the real estate division. Williams maintains the investigation is related to illegal activity uncovered during the previous administration, though reports confirm some of the problematic practices have continued under Williams.
Sheriff Jewell Williams, 58, was sworn in to lead the Office of the Sheriff City and County of Philadelphia in January 2012 after his election in November 2011. Before being elected sheriff, Williams served 11 years as state representative of the 197th Legislative District. He pushed for more affordable housing for the poor, as well as creation of the Susquehanna Neighborhood Advisory Council (SNAC) in response to increased violence in parts of his district. In his first year in office, Sheriff Williams orchestrated a new working agreement with the City of Philadelphia and the First Judicial District to increase transparency. He has also increased efforts to return money to property owners whose properties have been sold for more than the outstanding debts, and has held numerous foreclosure-prevention seminars and workshops across the city. His office holds monthly sessions on how to purchase a property at a sheriff’s sale.
Committee of Seventy contributed to this guide.