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Diana is eating lunch with Tommy Clyburne, part of the business association whose district covers the homeless shelter. He’s explained to her why they’ve never been able to get rid of the shelter. Here, he’s explained what happened after they stopped paying their mortgage:
“So why didn’t you just take the building away?”
“That’s what I said: we tried. There’s more than a few good lawyers out there who are willing to work pro bono to get their name in the spotlight. They gummed it up for six, seven years before it finally got to the Supreme Court. The Georgia one, I mean. And you know elected judges: not a one of them wants to risk having enough of the public hearing their name before election time. So they came up with a technicality, and now we’re on year… four? five? of the second time through the system. Perhaps Ms. Longstreet can ultimately be persuaded; she’s certainly a step in the right direction. We’ve thrown an awful lot of good money after bad.”
“You’ve got a delinquent mortgage: you’ll win, eventually.”
“Don’t be so sure. They’ve got guardian angels.” At Diana’s blank look, “Not real angels. You know how in any big rich family there’s going to be one grandkid who turns into a hippie? You know, the kid who lives off a trust fund, so they have the free time to go to all the rallies, say power to the people? Okay, now multiply that by Coca-Cola money. There’s three or four of them out there, not all from the same fortune. You mentioned the water bill? That was what happened: when the city government played hardball and wouldn’t back down, someone wrote a check for a hundred and fifty grand.”
Clyburne drank the rest of his sweet tea. “My guess is, the minute we get the go-ahead to seize the property, someone will step out of the shadows, or a few of them will chip in, and that neighborhood will stay an eyesore for another twenty years.”
Rich heirs, messing with the Man for the sake of the People. This won’t turn out to be irrelevant to the main plot of the story. But we’ve also explained why the shelter, despite its numerous and manifest problems, is able to stay in its place. This was infodump, but it was done in a halfway entertaining fashion, and that’s what’s important.