Foreclosure Working Group: May 17, 2012

Facilitator: Barbara
Notes: Christina
Present: Barbara, Paul, Mitch, Christina, Jane, Ricky, Kevin, Ed, Marnie, Mike, Nathan

Report on Charlotte May 9th

  • The protest was well coordinated with the police, there was one arrest, but that was to defuse a situation, and it was estimated that the police didn’t want to arrest anyone as they didn’t want to spend time in court. There were 100s of police and the streets were completely blocked off, there were helicopters and some of the stockholders could not get into the building from their own security. It was brought up that the overall impact was questionable outside of personal satisfaction, though it did get lots of positive national press.

Charlotte, May 10th

  • The seminar was extremely well organized with over 300 people in attendance, and was also interpreted in Spanish. Even children attended. Seminar about how renters were successfully tackling their problems. There was a woman telling her story about trying to save her deceased grandmother’s home and the steps that were taken such as inundating the bank’s phone lines with calls and sitting outside the bank. One group had outlined these steps, which Ricky will list and email to everyone. The concept of ‘stay in your home’ was made very clear. The community buying homes project so people can move back had many drawbacks such as not allowing anyone with a criminal record to live in the homes, and many other restrictions that made that that program less than ideal and/or questionable. Other communities were able to pass ordinances to impose large penalties on banks for foreclosure in order to keep up foreclosed properties. We learned there are 3 levels to a home defense and that a manual on home defense is being produced by City Life in Boston so that other occupies can avoid their mistakes.
  • Mike’s foreclosure auction was canceled, as the bank was finally made aware that he posted a bond for a judicial case. Six occupiers joined Mike at the Clerk of Court’s office and managed to chase off one buyer. The trustee agent was definitely nervous. Security came and shut down the video recording and the legalities of that are going to be looked into. Mike’s judicial appeal will be Oct 15, and no action against his home can be taken until after that time. Then he will have 10 days to vacate if he does not have a favorable judicial process, but either way, Mike maintains he is not leaving his home. It was suggested that these foreclosure sale proceedings could be a good choke point for further action and a field trip may be organized and other protests there will be contemplated.

Support Group

  • The pilot program has met with 3 families who have told their stories and every situation is vastly different. This may not be the venture to offer anyone solutions outside of support. This committee was designed to handle people when they contact us, but there is no intention to do outreach as there is not the people power for such action and each case is proving very time consuming. It was also noted that our real experience is limited.
  • Mike brought an FHA audit performed by the Office of Inspection General of HUD on Wells Fargo. The synopsis is that of the 22 random sample cases, 14 went to foreclosure and all 14 were robosigned. Wells Fargo hired employees with backgrounds of fast food and factory work and promoted them to Vice President without any training and told them to sign 100s of documents a day. The notaries did not check their work, were not even in the same room and many times notarized unendorsed documents. In many cases the notaris gave their seals to others to sign on their behalf. When one office tried to train themselves, the bank ordered them to stop and just do their signatures. Many were processing 600 signatures a day. The findings from this document were used in negotiating a settlement of 25 billion with the banks.

Fraud Detection

  • Nat has 2 people that are ready to do it themselves. Barbara, Paul, Christina and Chang are going to start with Lynn on the 31st of May. The Google calendar are just for the organizers, though they may consider expanding it to the other fraud detectives.

Meeting adjourned