Occupy Wall Street Groups Protest Foreclosure, Try To Halt Evictions

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11/16/11 04:49 PM ET

Occupy Wall Street Foreclosures

Monique White of North Minneapolis has been hosting weekend barbecues for friends and family for years. On Sunday, her usual guest list of friends and neighbors expanded to include protesters from the local spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street movement. They’d come to try and stop the bank from throwing White out of her house.

“These people are here to support me — and not only me, just to let other people know and be aware of what’s going on,” White said.

What’s going on is American homeowners are still slogging through the aftermath of a recession caused by the near-collapse of the financial sector in 2008. Since then, bailed-out banks have allegedly treated struggling homeowners so badly that state and federal law enforcement agencies are negotiating a multi-billion dollar settlement, and federal bank regulators have offered to check for wrongdoing in any foreclosure that happened in 2009 or 2010.

Occupy Wall Street kicked off in September to protest economic injustice, and now in at least three American cities, Occupy protesters are using the stories of local residents losing their homes to dramatize and protest the ongoing foreclosure crisis. In each case, Occupy-affiliated protesters have pitched their tents on the lawns where they don’t want to see local sheriff’s deputies pile the belongings of an evicted family.

On Sunday evening, 15 or so protesters came to Elizabeth Sommerer’s home in Cleveland. They’d heard via Twitter that Sommerer, a mother of two, would be evicted on Tuesday.

“We’d been talking for a few weeks about ways to draw attention to what’s going on with the foreclosure crisis,” said protester Chris Soboleski, a 29-year-old web developer from Painesville, Ohio.

Sommerer’s home went into foreclosure in 2009, Cuyahoga County records show. Her husband postponed the sheriff’s sale by filing for bankruptcy. But they couldn’t keep up with their Chapter 13 payments, and then, Sommerers said, she and her husband split up. Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company, bought the property in August.

Soboleski and other Occupy protesters helped Sommerer connect with her local representative on the Cleveland City Council, Brian Cummins, whose staff helped her get to court on Monday to file a request to postpone the eviction for 30 days. Her request was granted, court records show.

“I think it was a huge day for the movement,” said Cummins, a member of the Green Party. “This is really great because it got them out in the community and in touch with someone in a very real life situation.”

“They stand up for the little guy,” Sommerer said of the protesters in a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday. (Soboleski said Sommerer did not want to do another interview about her situation after already providing details to local reporters. Independent attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.) “This is Main Street. Wall Street can take care of itself. Main Street needs everybody.”

Sommerer said she’s looking for work and a nearby place to live so her kids don’t have to change schools. She’d be happy to rent her former home from Fannie Mae if possible. “I was not raised to be a freeloader. I don’t want to be a freeloader. I will pay my way. I just need time to put it together,” she said in the video.

“Even if you do have to foreclose on someone, you can do it with a certain amount of compassion and humanity,” Soboleski said. “There’s a certain amount to be said for rules, but on the other hand we all want to live in a society where humanity matters more than bureaucracy.”

Not all of the Occupy actions have been successful. In Snellville, Ga., protesters failed to prevent the eviction of the Rorey family, who told the Gwinnett Daily Post they fell victim to a scam artist who promised them lower monthly payments in 2010. The difficulty of obtaining loan modifications since the collapse of the housing bubble has made it easy for scam artists to prey on desperate homeowners, who have been susceptible to claims that a hired “expert” knows secrets to obtaining loan mods they don’t.

Fannie Mae, which has owned the property since last year, said it works to prevent foreclosures.

“We have a Mortgage Help Center in Atlanta where homeowners can meet with a trusted housing counselor to discuss their mortgage situation and options to avoid foreclosure,” a Fannie Mae spokeswoman said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the homeowner did not seek assistance from our Help Center.”

Occupy protesters in Minneapolis hope they’ll have better luck with Monique White. Thirty or so protesters have been camping in her living room and kitchen, with some spilling out onto her lawn, since November 8.

“I’ve never had this many people in my house before. It gets kind of overwhelming sometimes,” White said. All the same, she added, “I appreciate everything that they’ve done for me.”

White fell behind on her payments in 2009. The following February, as she was trying to get a loan modification from U.S. Bank, she said, budget cuts cost her her job counseling at-risk kids for a non-profit. “That’s when everything started spiraling out.”

The Occupy protesters say U.S. Bank should cut White some slack.

“They just had record profits this quarter, and the CEO of US Bank, Richard Davis, just doubled his salary to $19 million,” said Nick Espinosa, 25. “So what we’re talking about with a family like Monique’s is pennies to them.”

Government-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac bought her house as a foreclosure in January, and U.S. Bank said what happens is now up to Freddie. Freddie Mac said White’s eviction has already been postponed and that the company was considering her for a program that would allow her to rent the property.

White said she has been working a part-time job at a liquor store and is desperately looking for new work.

“Basically what I’m looking for is for U.S. Bank to rewrite my loans in order for me to stay in my home and make it affordable for me,” White said. “I’m not asking for a handout. All I’m asking is for time or for Freddie Mac or U.S. Bank, whoever owns the house or is trying to take the house, to come to the table.”

 

24 Responses

  1. Joann,

    I have been advocating just that: stop paying what we don’t understand. If our money is good enough to collect, our brains allowing us to make that money are good enough to explain to us the what-who-where-when-why and how.

    We stop paying until they answer every question. From that point on, we can decide whether paying is what we should do. They rigged the game at the onset. 99% of us govern its outcome.

    What: We thought we knew what: a mortgage. We now know it’s not. It’s some kind of three-time remote debt we didn’t contract when we move into a place to call home.

    Who: We thought we knew whom: a lender. We now know it’s not. It’s some three-time (or four, or five-time) remote entity we didn’t contract with and know nothing about, we never heard of and never send one payment to.

    Where: We thought we knew where: the state we bought property in, we signed papers in and where we issued our check at the closing table. We now know it isn’t. It has been transfered from MI to ID to CA to MA to never-nerver-land.

    When: We thought we knew when: at the closing table. Since then, many things have happened, some retroactively (and we knew nothing about it), some proactively (and we still know nothing about it).

    Why: we thought all we were looking for was to own a piece of property. We knew we were good for it: experts had assured us we were. If we can’t trust the word of experts, whom can we trust? Others had already decided that money was to be made from a good-faith transaction they never had any part of, didn’t sign for, didn’t work for, didn’t sweat for, didn’t earn. It’s called speculation.

    How: lie, deceit, misrepresentation, negligence, ruthlessness, intimidation, threats. breach of contract, breach of law.

    We have it all: motive, opportunity and means.

    Every single one of us has the weapons to fight for what is right and just.

  2. Good post. I enoyed it. I have some very strong opinions about this whole protest movement. But I like what you did with this part of it.

  3. What if everyone just stopped paying mortgages and student loans and credit cards and all debt payments and said we will pay again when you lower the interest and principal and come clean about what the real balance is that is owed the real “lender”? Same fraud exists for all kinds of credit. Guess a lot of credit scores would get trashed but isn’t it now politically correct to not borrow money anyway? Debt payments fuel wallstreet and the govt. How fast could they foreclose on every house in America? Garnish non existant wages? Would they use the army? Military and police own homes and are tapped out on debt too. The debt lords don’t really want the houses, they are letting thieves take them just to get them off the books. Speeding up foreclosures to “heal the economy and the real estate market” translates to trash it quick so that we can get those people quick into new debt payments. Trash it quick so that we cover the tracks hidden in bad non-exsistant paper money trails.

  4. We need to kill the banks. We take our money out, close all credit accounts, prevent them from getting another nickel. We don’t need the banks, they need us. Without customers, they’ll shrivel up & die.

    Get Ron Paul into office. Write him in, if necessary. He is the only one who has stood up to the Federal Reserve, the giant corporations and the rampant corruption of the legislative branch. Get tough people, throw out the good old boys who’ve enabled the banks.

  5. etoll
    well said.. the other thing that is a necessity is removing the political sellout[s] that are there as rented help doing the bidding & renting CONgress for the corporate & financial disease inflicting their toll on the world , fuk em – print their pic & personal info online too create the public enemy list.
    let the the world know who these sold-out scumbags are,
    no excuse nor forgiveness of treason or tyranny

  6. […] Filed under: bubble, CDO, CORRUPTION, currency, Eviction, foreclosure, GTC | Honor, Investor, Mortgage, securities fraud Tagged: bankruptcy, borrower, countrywide, disclosure, Eviction, foreclosure, foreclosure defense, foreclosure offense, foreclosures, fraud, LOAN MODIFICATION, modification, mortgage modification, Occupy Atlanta, Occupy Cleveland, Occupy Minnesota, Occupy wall Street, Occupy Wall Street Foreclosure, Politics News, quiet title, rescission, RESPA, securitization, TILA audit, trustee, video, WEISBAND Livinglies’s Weblog […]

  7. @ Enraged, why spend the time and trouble educating old set in their way judges who rule by whim to the highest bidder when you can replace them? I’m working on that as we speak. You can too. Having legions researching how the judges ruled so that the people can be informed, not by anyone’s opinion, but by the facts.

    Never again to have to scratch our collective heads when the rule of black letter law is thrown out in favor of some mining outfit, bankster, or corporation over the needs and desires of the people.

    A couple of examples of blatant sell-outs just this week, I’m reminded of the recent classifying of two tablespoons of tomato sauce on pizza as a vegetable, allowing the corporate food giants to fatten up our kids for a tidy profit. Screw them. I’m ready to take them down and all they stand for. Then there’s “The Communities First Act”, which really boils my blood how they named it something that sounds beneficial, but is attempting to pull the rug out from under each and everyone of us by gutting consumer protections.

    They used to hide these devious acts in the shadows. These days they attack us in broad daylight as if they’re beyond the law. We need to stop that. Representation needs to be of, for and by the people again, as it was intended in the very first place, or it’s all just a colossal waste of time. They will not be missed.

  8. HOUSE REJECTS BILL TO CLASSIFY MODIFIED LOANS AS ACCRUING

    Members of a House subcommittee voted Thursday not to pass a bill which would have allowed banks to classify modified loans as accruing rather than non-accruing. While most members of the subcommittee agreed that, in many instances, examiners and regulators are posing undue hardship on community banks, the bill was shot down with 8 ayes and 10 nays. Those who opposed said it would allow lenders to manipulate their accounting so that they don’t have to hold additional capital against a potentially problematic loan

  9. E. Toile,

    I understand that but until judges have been educated, most people facing foreclosure or unable to pay their mortgage ought to do something to protect themselves instead of waiting for banks to see the light. You and I know darn well that pleading nullity of the loan is a very long shot in many jurisdictions…

    If I were in Geanette’s shoes, I’d stop paying and I’d get an attorney a.s.a.p.

  10. @ Enraged, there is increasing evidence that every single mortage loan is a nullity. A banker’s wetdream gone nightmare.

    Stimulus plan….jail the bankers and void the debts. Simple.

  11. I meant: when are WE taking them to the airport…?

  12. When are taking Dimon and Moynihan to the airpot?

  13. One more thing…

    There is increasing evidence that every single mortage loan contains violations to Tila, Respa and other federal statutes.

    Right E. Toile?

  14. We need a few of these to shore up the system:

    (Reuters) – A property developer in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang was sentenced to death for swindling more than $867 million from investors in an illegal fund-raising scheme, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

    Replace those expensive silk neckties with jute neckties.

  15. @Geanette

    And to everyone potentially facing foreclosure.

    I keep saying that you need to attack FIRST. Here is a good article explaning why. You get to stop making payments for a while, you can actually make money for your damages AND the pretend-lender is less likely to initiate foreclosure in retaliation.

    http://www.econ.la/special_coverage/mortgage_litigation.html

    The caveat is that you need an attorney capable to handle it. 2 or 3 years ago, those were very few and far between. Nowadays, you can find one pretty much in every state.

    Turn your non-judicial ordeal into a full blown judicial startegy.

  16. @foreclosureinfosearch,

    When I read Geanette’s post this morning, I wondered if I was dreaming or if people have such little clue that they would actually put themselves through that kind of an ordeal and almost sound grateful.

    @Geanette,

    Unlike Soliman, I don’t believe that you are a shill. What I do believe, though, is that you’ve been beat up so hard and for so long that you’re suffering from Stockholm syndrome. I am not an attorney but I will reiterate what I have said all along: when companies treat you the way BofA has, you need to go on the attack!!!

    I have a few questions for you that you need to answer (not to me but for your own edification):
    1) When did you purchase your house?
    2) Did you put anything down? If yes, how much?
    3) Who was your original lender? Did BofA come into the picture after a few years or a few months?
    4) Do you know for a fact that BofA can claim a vested interest in your house? As an example, if BofA was NOT the original lender, have you researched whether they had obtained the transfer/assignment legally and was same recorded in your county? Notice that I said “can claim” instead of “has”. The reason is that, even if BofA doesn’t, it is intent in foreclosing and it will claim that interest. Up to you to prove them liars.
    5) Are you in a judicial or non-judicial state?

    Geanette, do you have any idea why you would have accepted to “play the lost paperwork shell game” 6 or 7 times? For most of us, twice is one time too many. Where is your self-esteem? Where is your pride? How can you allow a faceless bank to treat you like a non-human being?

    Last question: why on earth are you paying anything? Whether you pay $1 or $10,000, your house was obviously marked up for foreclosure a long time ago. Keep you half payment and invest it into an attorney. Do some research about the number of class actions filed against BofA for misrepresentation and failure to give mods when they took HAMP money. If one was filed where you live, contact the attorneys handling it right away and see if you can join or if they can refer you to someone.

    Geanette, I hate to tell you but the reason this mess hasn’t been fixed yet is people like you. So long as Americans accept to be treated as you are, it will not be fixed.

    One thing I can absolutely promise you: you house is marked up for foreclosure. You are losing your house as we speak. Sweating blood to pay half every month will not prevent it. What it will prevent is for you to stash enough money to get a solid attorney and to attack.

    Stand up on your two feet, girl, and go on the attack: it will not be anymore painful than what you have experienced so far. Decide to get out of your misery on your own terms.

    Go on the attack against BofA.

    And for Pete’s sake, if you have a BofA account, close it immediately and go bank elsewhere!!!

  17. Yesterday I got a letter/package from “ Independent Review Administrator “ with questions on the pages which I will fill out and send back. The first page starts out with

    You are receiving this notice because the property is or was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.

    On October 1, 2011 someone at BOA checked my credit report “ obtained information “
    it stated. I haven’t had an account “ house “ in at lease 2 years so do they have any right to do that?

    I was foreclosed on in October, 2009 by someone here in Michigan for bank of “NON” america. I will never get the house back BUT I sure hope that the ones that hurt me and others, get the vary worst that ever can happen to them.

  18. How can a sevicers or lender modifiy loans they do not owe? I would like to know if your loan is modifiy does the servicer owe the loan now? What if you uncover fraud after signing your modification. Have you wave your rights to sue the lender

  19. CONDITIONAL SALES ARE VOID

    In determining whether a transaction is a conditional sale or mortgage, the fact that there was an indebtedness existing or created at time of the conveyance “cut off” date is almost conclusive in favor of the mortgage as is also the fact that the grantor (you) remained in possession of the property, while the fact that a lender over advanced your loan may be deemed a reasonable price {paid for the land indicates a conditional sale}.

    For more information on conditional sale defenses -first call an attorney or have this site make you a referral . If you’re an attorney I can be contacted at expert.witness@live.com

    M.Soliman –
    expert.witness@live.com

    Remeber : A vast majority of the timie the entity that is servicing your loan is a collections specialist. You cannot modify what does not exist. Your mortgage was likely charged to a bad investment and written off.

  20. Reader: I have been trying for over 2 years to get a modification!!

    M.Soliman – The entity that is servicing your loan is a collections specialist. You cannot modify what does not exist. Your mortgage was charged to a bad investment and written off.

    Reader:In the beginning they played the “lost my paperwork shell game” which I submitted 6-7 times over the past 2 years. Then I finally learn that I don’t qualify for a modification according to their income/expense ratio calculations…

    M.Soliman – The “demons” you dealt with are looking to pick off a few good files and to refinance you through the same channels available to you direct.

    Reader:”…finally, I was offered a 6 months forbearance that ended October 2011.”

    M.Soliman- this while they mitigating the abuses waiting out a “put Back”. They used the timing to wait out the term eligibility requirements [remainder of time to “burn off” for the election to charge the pool for deliery into a consolidated new registration…your not going to make the cut I am afraid]

    Reader: “I am now waiting to see if now I qualify for a modification or partial claim since my income/expense ratio has changed.

    M.Soliman – BofA has no IDEA who you are – not a clue. Your talking to a boiler room . Nice people who read scripts and feed loan reps one in 100 chances of refiancing a home. The effort gets the lenders sucessors (Fed) off the hook for pool cert insurance.

    Use this as a model so you can be better informed if you qualify at all.

    Monthly income: ________
    [Divided by one third]

    Less Consumer Debt:

    Credit cards: _______;

    Installment: _______;

    Other monthly: _______;

    Income available
    For debt service: _______

    Divide Income Available for
    Annual Debt Service by ___Rate

    Example

    $1,000.00 Monthly
    $12,000.00 Annual
    0.06 % Rate
    $200,000.00 Loan

    This person is either a shill or a very discouraging example of the pain and suffereing taking place in the market that will cause massive civil rights claims to emerge when this none sense is finally over .

    Abusive acts by non qualified entities, vendors under 1122 AB enforcement ; tortious interfrence with consumer credit ; violations against the lgal pratitionr for unfair advantage; material misrepresentation; failure to provided necessary disclosures for financing offer; Violations of 10(b) SEC Reg 1122AB (1) (4) / Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 230, Sections 501 through 508. The legal citation is 17 C.F.R. §230.501 et seq.

    Not an attorney and not intended to be legal advice. Always contact an attorney to determine your legal rights. And don’t drink and drive

  21. These stories of pending or upcoming foreclosures are horrible!! Most of the time the banks contribute to the outcome of a foreclosure by not dealing fairly or in a timely fashion with the homeowner.

    I can certainly say that that is the situation with me. I made BOA in October 2009 aware that i was going to have problems paying my current mortgage amount. I have been trying for over 2 years to get a modification!! In the beginning they played the “lost my paperwork shell game” which I submitted 6-7 times over the past 2 years. Then I finally learn that I don’t qualify for a modifcation according to their income/expense ration calculations…finally, I was offered a 6 months forebearance that ended October 2011. I am now awaiting to see if now I qualify for a modifcation or partial claim since my income/expense ratio has changed.

    Although I am unable to make the current monthly mortgage payment, I have sent at least 1/2 or more of my mortgage payment each and every month, which is why I am 10 months behind on my mortgage and not 2 years…I told the BOA representative that had BOA dealt with me fairly and honored my justified mortgage request in the beginning, I would not be in this situation now…facing possible foreclosure!! As I said to the BOA representative, because of the unfair wheeling and dealings of BOA they are contributing to me and others like me who may now be going into a possible foreclosure situation. I like many others are able to make monthly payments of a legitimate loan modification reduction.

  22. […] See the article here: Occupy Wall Street Groups Protest Foreclosure, Try To Halt Evictions […]

  23. Once the government and the federal reserve allowed wall street to swoop in and control home mortgages in 2000, homeowners were being ripped off one way or another.

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