Current Fights and Our Own News

Follow our fight to keep Jodie Randolph in her home.

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Diary of the home defense.

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Foreclosure Notes 7/13/13 – 7/25/13

Politics: Chase, Once Considered “The Good Bank,” Is About to Pay Another Massive Settlement (Rolling Stone)

In the three-year period between 2009-2012, Chase paid out over $16 billion in litigation costs… There couldn’t possibly be a clearer demonstration of the modern banking model, in which companies break rules/laws as a matter of course, and simply pay fines as a cost – a significant cost – of doing business…

There have been so many settlements with so many agencies around the world… that they’re almost impossible to count. Some papers are reporting that Chase is being investigated by as many as eight different agencies in the U.S. alone.

2 arrests as community thwarts illegal eviction attempt at Ceballos home (Occupy Homes MN )

75 community members turned back 30 sheriffs in their attempt to evict the Ceballos home today. Two home defenders were arrested in acts of civil disobedience.

Under orders from sheriff Richard Stanek, deputies kicked in the door without warning at 12:40pm this afternoon. One home defender was cut out of a barrel filled with concrete by deputies wielding a jackhammer and saw.

400,000 Foreclosure Settlement Checks Sent To Wrong Address (Huffington Post)

Worles is one of 4.2 million homeowners who qualify for a share of the $3.6 billion in cash payouts as part of the foreclosure abuse deal. And she’s one of 400,000 whose checks could not be delivered because they were sent to the wrong address, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Ohio Bank Forecloses On Wrong Home, Sells Owner Katie Barnett’s Belongings (Huffington Post)

She says all her possessions in Vinton County, Ohio, disappeared when Wellston First National Bank confused her home with the house across the street, foreclosed on it, changed the locks, and then sold or trashed everything — all while she was out of town for two weeks.

Activists target Bank of America branch in Oak Park (MENAFN)

About 20 members of Occupy Sacramento and other groups waged the protest in front of the 3810 Broadway location, saying they wanted to deliver a letter to bank executives complaining about BofA’s foreclosure activities.

They were denied entrance and the bank locked its doors to customers and protesters alike for at least 90 minutes, said protester Lisa Wuriu.

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Foreclosure Notes 6/27 – 7/12

Our bank wants us homeless (Salon )

What follows is a story of how seemingly illegal, but very common, bank machinations affect ordinary homeowners… Eighteen months later, she has applied and reapplied six different times for modifications, without success. And many of the tactics she has had to deal with match perfectly with what bombshell Bank of America whistle-blowers have revealed was standard practice inside the loan modification unit… Every time Gisele would reapply for a loan, she would get a new single point of contact…

The experience has turned Gisele into a full-fledged activist, who believes that giving voice to the realities of dealing with the banks will create greater awareness and help others…. Through Occupy Our Homes, Gisele attended the May 20 protest outside the Justice Department, demanding prosecutions of bank executives for their conduct. She was arrested with dozens of others for attempting to storm the building.

Anti Eviction Campaign Los Angeles (Video)

Adam Rice and Ariana Alcaraz talk about foreclosure

Bank of America Twitter bot trolls Occupiers (Salon)

Bank of America’s automated Twitter bot might care too much. The bank’s Help account tweeted repeatedly at members of the Occupy movement discussing its “evil” practices with generic phrases like “Anything I can do to help?” and “We’d be happy to review your account with you to discuss any concerns.”

A picture of some LA Anti-Eviction Campaign Peeps (Facebook)

Tomorrow, from 5-7 pm, we will be canvassing Ms. Hughes neighborhood with her. Meet at the Anti-Eviction Campaign office 9815 s Wall st at 5pm to participate.

Lockout Attempted without Law Enforcement (LA Anti-Eviction Facebook)

Peter Baer’s minions are attempting an illegal lockout! NO Sheriffs present and no writ issued by a sheriff has been given! They arrived not too long ago to change the locks on Ms. Hughes home. They waited until she left to call a locksmith out to change the locks! If you are in the So. Central area come by and hold it down with Ms. Hughes!!

When asking one of the employees of the investment company performing the illegal lock out about calling the LAPD and not the sheriff, he responded, “They work for us”

June Foreclosures at Lowest Level Since December 2006 (The Street)

A total of 127,790 properties had foreclosure filings in June, down 14% from the previous month and down 35% from a year ago, reaching their lowest level since December 2006, according to a report released by RealtyTrac.

In the first half of 2013, a total of 801,359 properties had a foreclosure filing — including notice of default, schedule auction and bank repossessions. That’s down 19% from the previous six months and down 23% from the first half of 2012.

Banks are filing fewer foreclosures, with foreclosure starts declining 45% in June from a year earlier to a seven-and-a-half year low.

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Foreclosure Notes 6/10 – 6/26

Parkwood Farms Therapy Center is safe! (Occupy Our Homes Video)

Parkwood Farms Therapy Center reached out to Occupy Our Homes Atlanta last November on the same day that Gwinnett County sheriff’s deputies were attempting to enforce an eviction.

After organizing candlelight vigils on the farm, holding protests at the bank’s law firm’s office, launching multiple online petitions, holding press conferences at the farm, and raising a lot of money, a final deal was struck.

Yesterday around 1PM Dr. Marilyn Peterson, who runs the therapy center and is a mother of a child with a disability, closed on a deal that will keep Parkwood Farms open for all the children that need it.

(Watch a “Thank You” video from Dr. Marilyn Peterson)

“After all this time since November, we can declare that I own this property outright. This is a great day!” Peterson said.

Mildred Obi’s home is almost hers for good! (Occupy Our Homes Atlanta Email)

In the 11th hour Bank of America has offered a solution that will keep Mildred in her home. While the ink on this deal is far from dry, we are excited to explore a solution that keeps Mildred where she belongs, In her home. There is NO doubt that the only reason this opportunity has opened up is because of YOUR support. Thank you! We will be sure to keep everyone up to date as we work towards a final solution… Together we can win!

Bank of America whistle-blower’s bombshell: “We were told to lie.” (Salon)

Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid their staff bonuses for deliberately pushing people into foreclosure: Yes, these allegations were suspected by any homeowner who ever had to deal with the bank to try to get a loan modification – but now they come from six former employees and one contractor, whose sworn statements were added last week to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Interview with Homeowner Fighting Foreclosure (Socialist Alternative)

Via Occupy Homes Minnesota, Eviction Free Zone Campaign.

I have lived in my home for 30 years and in this neighborhood my entire life. I bought this house with my late husband, and now Chase Bank and Freddie Mac are pushing to evict me.

Had I not run into a predatory lender after my husband died, my house would be fully paid off this August. I paid my mortgage for 28 years, in total around $425,000, until I just couldn’t balance the bills any longer. When JPMorgan Chase foreclosed on me, they were still demanding an additional $255,000. Chase then bought my house back at the current market value of $81,000 – a deal they said they couldn’t afford to offer me, even though they pay their CEO that amount every day.

Recent California Law Turns Tables on Mortgage Lenders (Lawyers.com)

California’s groundbreaking Homeowner Bill of Rights took effect just six months ago, and the courts are already rescuing homeowners from situations that would have been hopeless in 2012.

In May, Sacramento resident Kevin Singh became one of the first homeowners to use the new law to stop a foreclosure on his home. Singh fell behind on his mortgage payments… He applied for a loan modification with Bank of America, but while his application was pending, he received notice that his home was scheduled for foreclosure auction.

Singh explained his predicament to civil rights attorney Aldon Bolanos. Bolanos immediately sought a temporary restraining order, which was granted just before Singh’s home was set to be auctioned. Days later, U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England Jr. issued a preliminary injunction that put Singh’s foreclosure on indefinite hold.

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Foreclosure Notes 5/29/13- 6/6/13

Anatomy of a Foreclosure (Pasadena Weekly)

…last week, around her tenth anniversary there and after several years of seeking loan modifications from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage – which absorbed World Savings’ assets when it acquired Wachovia Bank in 2008 – Rhue was kicked out of her home.

Shortly after 7 a.m. last Thursday, Rhue, who still suffers the effects of a brain injury incurred in a car accident in 1983, was awakened by loud knocking. Steadying herself on her cane, she was confronted at the front door by as many as six Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, who were there to effect an eviction ordered by the Orange County investors, operating under the name of Laurel Trust, to whom Wells Fargo had sold the property last August. “I never thought this could happen,” Rhue told the Pasadena Weekly later that day.

Atlanta family, battling foreclosure, evicted at gunpoint (People’s World)

A Georgia family of four generations was evicted at gunpoint by more than a dozen DeKalb County sheriff’s officers in the middle of the night on May 2.

Frazer and her lawyer had been fighting against foreclosure in federal court and working with the lenders. Members of Occupy Atlanta had come to her aid. Frazer said she did not expect the eviction because the case is pending in federal court “and also the opposing or foreclosing attorney was in a negotiation process with my attorney.”

Feds crack down on foreclosure auction scams (USA Today)

At the height of the financial crisis, bargain hunters would gather each week on county courthouse steps to bid on foreclosed properties throughout Northern and Central California. The inventory lists were long, especially in hard-hit areas such as Sacramento and Stockton. But the auctions were generally short affairs – often because real estate speculators were illegally fixing the bidding process.

Open Letter to Kamala Harris (Occupy Fights Foreclosures)

Dear Attorney General Kamala Harris,

Your state’s homeowners, who know first-hand the vast injustice of the mortgage / foreclosure crisis, are here today, the two-year anniversary of your Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, to demand that the Strike Force live up to its name and prosecute and bring to trial the big banks for their mortgage crimes.

Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers (New York Times)

Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing…

Wall Street played a central role in the last housing boom by supplying easy – and, in retrospect, risky – mortgage financing. Now, investment companies like the Blackstone Group have swooped in, buying thousands of houses in the same areas where the financial crisis hit hardest…

Joe Cusumano, a real estate agent in Riverside County, Calif., said that in recent months 90 percent of his business had been for companies like Invitation Homes, a Blackstone subsidiary. Home values in Riverside County have risen by 15 percent in the last year, according to CoreLogic… big investors are using agents like Mr. Cusumano to stake a claim to entire neighborhoods.

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Foreclosure Notes 5/17/13 – 5/28/13

The Death and Life of Chicago (New York Times)

Usually when J. R. scouts for properties to break into and take over, he looks for ones with unmown grass, a sign of vacancy and disregard.

In the past year, he said the Anti-Eviction Campaign freed up 20 abandoned properties, fixing up the buildings and moving “home-less people into the people-less homes.”

Foreclosed Homeowners ‘Move In’ to the Dept. of Justice (Common Dreams)

Underwater homeowners and hundreds of allies barricaded the front door of the Department of Justice building Monday afternoon to protest the “too big to jail banks” who have shirked punishment despite having destroyed “homes, savings and livelihoods.”

Organized by Occupy our Homes, Home Defenders League, Campaign for a Fair Settlement, along with a number of community and faith leaders, the group held a sit-in outside the government building.

“Banks stole our homes so we’re moving in to the #DeptofJustice,” the protesters announced on Twitter. The protest included the positioning of two couches before the doors of the DOJ.

“Today we have taken over Eric Holder’s house. We’re sick of the banks taking over our house.”

FORECLOSE ON BANKS, NOT PEOPLE (Twitterpic)

Tents up at the Department of Justice 5/20/13.

Another picture

A ‘storify’ of the whole day’s events

Next day tweet:

Harris from the Post @rousseau_ist
Breaking News: Occupation of the of the Department of Justice~The 16 people still in jail are identifying themselves as Jamie Diamond

Oakland Based Waypoint Files for Latest Foreclosure-to-Rental IPO (Wall Street Journal)

The race is on in to raise money on public capital markets for the latest big thing in real estate: renting out single-family homes.

Waypoint Homes Realty Trust Inc., a new company formed under the aegis of Oakland, Calif.-based Waypoint Real Estate Group LLC, announced Tuesday that it plans to raise up to $100 million in an IPO on the Nasdaq, under the ticker “WAY.”

Waypoint would be the fifth single-family rental landlord to file in the last year with plans for an IPO.

Grassroots pressure helps MN passes nation’s strongest Homeowner Bill of Rights (Occupy Homes MN)
After a year and a half of on-the-ground anti-foreclosure organizing with homeowners publicly standing up and fighting the banks’ abuse, the Minnesota legislature passed the Homeowner Bill of Rights almost unanimously–61-1 in the Senate and 123-0 in the House. National analysts are calling this legislation the strongest Homeowner Bill of Rights in the country…

The Homeowner Bill of Rights:

Requires mortgage servicers to offer loan modifications to all eligible homeowners

Puts a full stop to dual tracking, the process of foreclosing on someone while they are in the loan modification process

Allows homeowners to take their servicer to court to stop or reverse the foreclosure if the servicer fails to comply

Covers attorneys’ fees for prevailing homeowners, and

Allows a homeowner to submit a loan modification up to one week before the sheriff’s sale to halt the foreclosure (stronger than new federal regulations which will require 37 days)

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Foreclosure Notes 5/14/13 – 5/16/13

Foreclosure? This Calls for a Campout (Seattle Weekly News)

Upon order of the King County Sheriff, Jeremy Griffin was supposed to be out of his home by Tuesday at midnight. Instead, starting late last night, he has played host to members of Standing Against Foreclosure & Eviction, a group that grew out of the Occupy movement. They set up a large tent in his carefully tended garden, where a few people spent the night. By morning, several dozen people had gathered in front of his three-bedroom, which had been draped with protest banners, including a huge one reading “Foreclosure Free Zone.”

Minnesota via We Are Oregon (Facebook)

Rose Mcgee has won a settlement from Fannie Mae that will keep her in her home with affordable payments! The settlement comes after a year long campaign that inspired thousands around the county and was the impetus for the homeowner bill of rights which has just days left to be heard this session. Join us at the capitol tomorrow at 11am to celebrate Rose’s victory and demand that legislators pass strong legislation to protect thousands of other Minnesotans in danger of losing their homes!

Estate administrator sues big banks for wrongful death, elder abuse, breach of contract and other charges.
(AlternNet)

An elderly man “succumbed to the pressure” of losing his home to Wells Fargo and died at a court hearing fighting the bank’s wrongful foreclosure, his estate claims in court…

Delassus died at 62 of heart disease after Wells Fargo mistakenly held him liable for his neighbor’s property taxes, doubled his mortgage payments, declared his loan in default and sold his Hermosa Beach condominium, according to the complaint.

A BATTLE WON (Los Angeles Anti-Eviction Campaign)

… but the war continues. Today Ms. Hughes gave Strategic Acquisitions a taste of their own medicine when their ex-parte motion was denied for hearing today. Ms. Hughes eviction of the people who tried to steal her home has so far been upheld by the courts. The look on the commissioner’s face as she took the spot of the plantiff was priceless.

Tell the Bankers that the People are Too Big To Fail (Occupy Wall Street)

Join Occupy Homes, dozens of underwater homeowners, and hundreds of allies from across the country as we take action and risk arrest at the Department of Justice.

Bring Justice to Justice Rally: May 20th @ 1pm Gather: Freedom Plaza, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave NW – March to Department of Justice @ 1:30pm…

Home defenders, as well as faith and community leaders will rally to Bring Justice to Justice – demanding an end to the “too big to jail” policy, and relief for families and communities devastated by the financial crisis and foreclosure epidemic.

Wasted Wealth: The devastating cost of the foreclosure crisis. (Los Angeles Anti-Eviction Campaign)

Sometimes a simple picture dialogue is worth a million words…this is telling to the discrimination and predatory lending effects on our communities…it will not change if we choose to stay silent…

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Foreclosure Notes 5/9/13 – 5/14/13

California Homeowner Bill of Rights blocks BofA foreclosure (Housing Wire)

A California man successfully halted a foreclosure sale on his property using… the Homeowner Bill of Rights to obtain a court injunction against… Bank of America… the injunction alone may cost BofA/Recontrust upwards of $60,000 when calculating in attorneys fees and expenses…

The new case in question – Singh v. Bank of America – was filed by a borrower who accused BofA… of violating HBOR’s ban on dual-tracking.

And the foreclosure follies march on (Daily Kos)

I think the bigger story is that a landmark case against the nation’s banks for being as crooked as f–k, as careless as f–k, as incompetent as f–k and not incidentally as unrepentant as f–k was deemed a problem solved when the banks agreed to give the sum of three or four thousand dollars to each American family the banks had wrongfully evicted from their own goddamn homes. That’s not a settlement – it wasn’t at the time, and still isn’t. In certain Wall Street-backed neighborhoods you might find higher dollar figures on the “REWARD–LOST DOG” signs. Four thousand dollars for being booted from her own home by a crooked bank?

Foreclosure defense movement stalls evictions (Workers World)

Coldwater, Mich., a town of 10,000 in the western half of the state, is no place one would expect to see a protest demonstration. These days, however, foreclosure defense activists go where they are needed. They have come May 3 to Coldwater from around the state to keep Matthew Murray and Beverley Murray and their two daughters in their home.

Spanish region at odds with EU over efforts to alleviate evictions crisis (The Irish Times)

In April, the Socialist-led government of Andalusia, one of the regions worst hit by the recession with a jobless rate of 37 per cent, issued a decree that sought to ease the pressure on those struggling to make payments. The decree allows certain homes in the region to be expropriated from banks for three years, to protect poor families from eviction. It also establishes fines for banks that fail to put empty homes on the rental market…

In response, the European Commission has warned the Spanish government that such measures are not compatible with the country’s commitments related to EU funding.

Mortgage Catch Pushes Widows Into Foreclosure (New York Times)

Geraldine Bates lost her husband to kidney failure last year. Now, she has fallen behind on her mortgage payments and is terrified that she will lose her home in Jacksonville, Fla.

Ms. Bates, 70, is caught in a foreclosure trap that is ensnaring widows across America: she cannot get help lowering her payments until her name is added to the mortgage note, but the lender says she must be current on payments before that can happen.

US Bank walks away from foreclosure on Aurora woman (Denver Post)

US Bank on Friday backed down from its efforts to foreclose on an Aurora woman whose federal court battle against it has taken on the constitutionality of Colorado’s foreclosure laws…

Brumfiel tried to challenge that US Bank didn’t prove it had the right to foreclose on her house because it had not shown how it acquired the rights to her loan and or that it had been assigned the deed of trust to the loan. Brumfiel eventually waived her right to the hearing and signed a stipulation that she was likely to lose, mostly because Colorado law allows foreclosure lawyers to sign a statement saying – without having to prove – that their client, typically a bank or other lender, properly has the note and deed of trust. It is that law Brumfiel is challenging in federal court, saying it violates her 14th Amendment right to due process.

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