“I was foreclosing on the homes of people I have known my entire life”


Cherokee tax chief quits to avoid foreclosing on more friends

Acid reflux gnawed at David Fields’ gut. Sleep came in fits. The waking hours were worse, as he battled depression with medications.

Inevitably, the antidepressants failed to temper the toll taken by a job he once loved and now feared would kill him: Cherokee County tax commissioner.

“My doctor told me, ‘If you don’t quit, you’re going to have a stroke or heart attack,’ ” Fields said Monday, explaining why, after 28 years, he resigned from his post with two years left on his term.

Fields, 62, became a poignant reminder of the housing bust’s impact on thousands of lives across metro Atlanta, where almost 100,000 properties were foreclosed on in 2010. Property owners are not the only ones hurt; so are people, such as Fields, at the end of a ruinous process set in motion by recession.

“I was foreclosing on the homes of people I have known my entire life,” Fields said Monday, two weeks after he walked away from his job but still carrying its burden. “I tried to do all I could to help them. But there’s only so much you can do. Your job is to collect taxes.”

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