Five National Banks Sued by AG Coakley in Connection with Illegal Foreclosures and Loan Servicing
BOSTON – Five national banks have been sued in connection with their roles in allegedly pursuing illegal foreclosures on properties in Massachusetts as well as deceptive loan servicing, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The lawsuit was filed today in Suffolk Superior Court against Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, and GMAC. It also names Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (“MERS”) and its parent, MERSCORP Inc., as defendants.
“The single most important thing we can do to return to a healthy economy is to address this foreclosure crisis,” said AG Coakley. “Our suit alleges that the banks have charted a destructive path by cutting corners and rushing to foreclose on homeowners without following the rule of law. Our action today seeks real accountability for the banks illegal behavior and real relief for homeowners.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: John Bertucci
Holiday Moratorium on Foreclosures & Evictions
November 24, 2011 through January 2, 2012
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - Press Conference – Tuesday, December 6, 2011 10:00AM – 15 Hill Drive, Petaluma CA
(PETALUMA, 12/2/11) Following the Petaluma City Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution in support of the “Holiday Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions,” Occupy Petaluma is moving forward with a national campaign to draw attention and bring relief to the many Americans caught in the housing crisis ravaging our country and communities. Occupy Petaluma feels that, as responsible citizens, we can’t just sit by and watch while so many lives are disrupted and destroyed by impersonal financial mechanisms, especially when it isn’t even good for our economy.
On Tuesday, December 6th, at 10:00AM, Occupy Petaluma will hold a press conference in front of a Petaluma home currently in jeopardy of foreclosure. Wendy Booth, the owner of a house located at 15 Hill Drive, just west of the intersection of Webster St. and Western Ave., will share her personal story of a fruitless, two year struggle with the Fulfillment Department of Citibank to obtain a crucial mortgage modification that would allow her to remain in her home of eight years – the home in which she raised her son, a Casa Grande senior, and the roof under which she hoped to grow old.
The next speaker, Tim Nonn, will explain how Occupy Petaluma is seeking to assist people like Wendy, working with banks and local service organizations to alleviate the trauma attached to their dramatic predicament and help them avoid eviction. He will also announce the details of an urgent informational conference that Occupy Petaluma is hosting on Sunday, December 18th – a gathering where local government officials, clergy, real estate agents, bank managers and representatives of social service groups like Catholic Charities will be invited to meet and respond to a concerned public, including many of those currently facing foreclosure.
As Wendy Booth put it: “I live on the best little street in Petaluma. I don’t want to leave my neighbors. They’re like family to me. I can rely on them for anything in a pinch.” This press conference is the first of a series of actions planned by Occupy Petaluma to demonstrate to Wendy, as well as to others caught in this devastating national housing crisis, that we are all neighbors, ready to do all we can in a pinch.
The Holiday Moratorium on Foreclosures & Evictions press conference -Tuesday December 6th, 10:00AM, 15 Hill Drive, Petaluma CA.
THE DAILY DRUM by Will B. Drumming December 2, 2011
Yesterday, I held in my hands a long list of hundreds of families that are facing foreclosure and eviction in Petaluma. The list shows the addresses of their homes. If they were put on a map of the city, nearly every person in Petaluma would be within a stone’s throw of someone who is being foreclosed or evicted.
A foreclosure monster is stalking our community.
What happens when a city is being terrorized by the foreclosure monster? Hundreds of people facing foreclosure live in constant fear of losing their beloved homes. Thousands of people not facing foreclosure live with the anxiety of watching the value of their homes decline sharply. Small businesses watch customers slowly disappear and worry about closing their doors for the last time. Everyone worries about cutbacks in essential city services as tax revenues fall. A pall of hopelessness settles over the landscape. People feel powerless and retreat within their homes, close their curtains and turn on the television or computer for a massive dose of pre-packaged reality.
Fear is the perfect terrain for the foreclosure monster to pick off its next victim. We need to make a decision as individuals and a community to stop living in fear!
Today we are stepping out into the open and facing down the foreclosure monster. We are training groups of volunteers to visit the homes of families facing foreclosure and eviction to offer them help that may allow them to stay in their homes. We are speaking out at a media conference next week about our personal experiences with foreclosure to alert the public about the depth and breadth of the foreclosure crisis. We are also organizing a county-wide conference of city governments, lending institutions and civic organizations to find concrete ways to address the foreclosure crisis. Our message? The community is the solution.
We ask you to stand up with us to defeat the foreclosure monster. We can’t do it if we stay in our homes watching television and computer screens. To defeat the foreclosure monster, we must come together in places like Penry Park to share our ideas and gifts. Penry Park is a visible symbol of “the commons” where we participate together in direct democracy by discussing issues like the foreclosure crisis. It is a place where we can overcome our fears and find our voice. We need your voice! We need the whole community to unite to achieve our goal of a more just economy and a more compassionate society.
The occupy movement has been described well as “America’s Primal Scream.” It is collective cry for help from people who have noticed that while America was sleeping, something has gone terribly wrong. The occupy movement is a call to conscience.
The people who are drawn to the movement represent a wide cross-section of our country. You can write the movement off as under-achieving drop-outs looking for a villain to blame for their own irresponsibility. Rich bankers make easy targets. But if you visit the camps, you’ll find people much like yourself. You’ll see people carrying babies. Children draw up posters and chase each other among the huddles of college students, middle-aged and seniors.
Many occupiers have lost their home. Others are doing fine, but are alarmed to see poverty creeping up on neighbors and relatives. The values of the movement are even embraced by many who identify with the 1%. We are recognizing that we can’t be entirely comfortable in our own success when growing numbers of us are failing. An older woman I talked to grew up in France under “the occupation” by the Nazi Germany. She said she experienced what can happen when people fail to speak out against injustice (see the video below).
Different people bring a variety of issues to the movement and numerous issues oriented organizations, unions and political parties would love to co-opt the movement. But the movement has mostly succeeded in keeping the focus on a few simple issues that transcend the agendas of political parties. It’s about greed and the widening gap between the rich and poor in America. There’s something wrong with that.
Occupy, Capitalism and Morality
There is a prevailing sentiment that people who use the tools of capitalism without a moral compass are abusing the system. There is a widespread suspicion that the system is fixed in ways that give unfair advantage to the super-wealthy and fewer opportunities to everyone else. We’re awakening to a conspiracy of corporations who are enriching their management and stockholders at the expense of their workers and customers. And finding that our politicians, from top to bottom, are complicit in this conspiracy.
This movement is compelling for me as a patriot. The cry against an economic system devoid of a moral compass sounds strikingly similar to concerns expressed by our founding fathers. More compelling for me is the similarity with the cries of Bible prophets, Jesus and his followers. One of those followers, James, warned those who have gotten rich through injustice. I can picture James marching in an occupy rally, though I don’t know how he would fit this message on a sign.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.
Greed – Virtue or Vice?
Like those in the occupy movement, I have a problem with greed. It’s not a virtue. If you rank attitudes, I would agree with the Catholics who rank greed at the bottom with the seven deadly sins. Capitalism works because we have a natural self-interest. Greed is not necessary; it’s harmful.
The occupy movement is also committed to using nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, both of whom gave credit to Jesus. Most occupiers are patiently working within their constitutional rights to bring issues to the consciences of American citizens with the confidence that our system of governing will use its self-correcting powers to steer ourselves towards a more just world. To me that is the essence of patriotism.
I am not trying to defend all the actions of all the hundreds of occupy groups in various cities. My own views come from my limited experience with the Occupy Petaluma group and a brief walk through the Occupy SF camp. I’ve also watched the TV news reports. The media focuses on the exceptions – the conflicts, pepper spray, hypocrisy – all the stuff we TV watchers seem to demand. Don’t rely on those accounts. Meet the people who are building a consensus in the cities of this nation.
This fast-growing movement of the people is building in influence and power. I am heartened by this crescendo cry of a people too big to fail.
I am Dave Weidlich, an evangelical pastor in Petaluma. I first posted this article on my blog, Rev Dave’s Raves.
That’s what I think. How about you? Your comments are welcome, whether we agree or not.
Please sign this petition for a national holiday moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. It will only take 2-3 minutes and it may help 20 million families facing foreclosure stay in their homes during the holidays. And please send the link to your friends. Thank you! Go to the Petition on change.org
The Daily Drum by Will B. Drumming November 16, 2011
Why are people in the Occupy Movement getting arrested at banks in dozens of cities across the country? An eloquent young woman from Occupy Minnesota offers an explanation:
“It’s time to show those in power, not just tell them, but show them, that we won’t stand for these injustices anymore. And we’re willing to take risks and face consequences because we believe in this movement and its potential for positive change.”
“I believe it’s time to raise the level of protest in this country. The momentum of the Occupy Wall Street protest has provided us with an amazing opportunity to channel our collective outrage at the injustices all around us. I believe that the problems we face have been created by an unjust system. And I think that if we want to challenge and ultimately change this system, we need to be open to stepping outside the bounds of state-sanctioned, cooperative protest.
“We can follow their rules and laws all day long, but if we never interfere with business as usual, the 1% will keep on going to the bank and won’t feel any real pressure to listen to us. If we don’t raise the social costs of perpetuating an unjust system, it will only continue the way it is now or get worse.”
The Daily Drum by Will B. Drumming November 15, 2011
The police raid last night on Liberty Park in New York City will not stop the Occupy Movement. If you doubt this, listen to the new anthem of the movement, “We Are the Many” by Makana.*
The spirit, passion and truth we hear in Makana’s voice, and the voices of everyone in the Occupy Movement, cannot be quelled by tear gas and clubs. Repression is inevitable. It is the primary weapon that the government has to stop a mass uprising. But it won’t work. The big corporations and banks will use the weapon of money to buy politicians and spread propaganda.** But it won’t work.
Don’t be surprised or fearful when they use these weapons. The government and corporations are acknowledging the power of the Occupy Movement by using the weapons of repression and propaganda. They are taking us very seriously. Did you think they would ignore us forever or give up their wealth and power without a fight?
When repression and propaganda are used in an attempt to defeat the Occupy Movement, it requires a response by the millions of people who support the movement. We need to learn how to strategize together. We have more creativity and imagination than the 1% because “we are the many!” Don’t think that your voice doesn’t count. and leave the strategizing to others. You need to learn how to strategize and raise your voice to speak truth to power in creative and imaginative ways. Listen to Makana’s song. He found a way to courageously speak truth to power through his gift. (He first sang the song to President Obama and economic and political elites at a Pacific Rim summit in Honolulu. Now that’s chutzpah Aloha-style.) In the Hawaiian language, “makana” means “gift.” What is the gift that you can contribute to this movement?
We are planning a “Holiday Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions” from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day. Come forward and help us to strategize together. We need your gifts! The only way we discover our gifts and enable them to mature is by putting them into practice together as a movement. Learning to strategize together is the key to the victory of the Occupy Movement. It is clear now that the government and corporations are strategizing ways to defeat the movement through repression and propaganda. They are trying to make us go away and win the hearts and minds of the 99 percent. But they don’t represent the majority of citizens. We do. And we need to create a strategy that will lead us along the path to liberation. Join the moratorium. Share your gift. Speak truth to power. Practice hope. This is our moment. Don’t be afraid. Open your heart to the dawning of a new day.
The Daily Drum by Will B. Drumming November 14, 2011
It is time to put the Occupy Movement in perspective. It has only been two months since Occupy Wall Street was launched on September 17. And it has only been about two weeks since Occupy Petaluma was launched on October 29.
Take a deep breath. We have just begun and we are in this for the long haul. The complete transformation of society and the earth may take a few more weeks! But we already have some minor and major victories that cannot be easily discounted.
Locally, Occupy Petaluma has established a collaborative relationship with the city council and police. This model represents the strategy of the vast majority of Occupy sites around the country according to a new report by the International City/County Management Association.*
Regionally, there are Occupations in at least six cities in Sonoma County. Yesterday, Occupiers in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Petaluma agreed to work more closely together as “Occupy Sonoma County” to make our separate and joint actions more effective. This trend of solidarity among the thousands of cities, towns and other sites in the Occupy Movement is a very hopeful sign.
Nationally, the potential environmental disaster known as the Keystone oil sands pipeline has been effectively halted. President Obama has postponed a decision on the pipeline until 2013. This will probably halt its construction. Naomi Klein, Bill McKibbon and Michael Moore attribute the success of their 3-month campaign to stop the pipeline to the unexpected rise of the Occupy Movement.** Also, the big banks decision to rescind the $5 ATM fee may seem like a small victory, but it has been a long time since the big banks have responded positively to a grassroots movement.
Globally, the Occupy Movement has spread to dozens of countries. People throughout the world are sick and tired of the greed of the banksters. In Germany, the heart of the Eurozone, tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities have taken to the streets to save democracy from the stranglehold of big banks and corporations. ***
The Occupy Movement is in its “seed” phase. Eventually, our children and their children will be able to find comfort and safety under the living sequoia of the movement once it has matured and borne fruit. Be patient. Remember the words of Wendall Berry to “plant sequoias” in his poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” ****
The Daily Drum by Will B. Drumming
November 10, 2011
The New York Times reported that the CEO’s of the biggest banks have received massive pay increases in 2011.
At JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon received salary and stock grants that totaled $17 million after Chase’s annual earnings rose to $17.4 billion in 2011.
At Goldman Sachs, Lloyd C. Blankfein received a stock grant valued at $12.6 million and a salary increase to $2 million, from $600,000.
At Bank of America, Brian T. Moynihan received a stock grant valued at $9.05 million and a salary of $950,000.
At Morgan Stanley, James P. Gorman received a stock grant valued at $3.9 million and options valued at $3.5 million.
At Citigroup, Vikram S. Pandit received a raise in his annual salary to $1.75 million from a symbolic $1 a year. Other compensation detail have not yet been disclosed.
Now, given this context, check out what Chase CEO Jaime Dimon said recently about Occupy Wall Street:
“They’re right. In general, these big institutions of America let them down. That’s not the same thing as to say that every bank was bad, every politician was bad. That’s where I would disagree. . . . America has become more inequitable in the last 10 or 20 years. That’s a fact. I don’t personally think that’s a good thing. I’ve been a big supporter of progressive taxes. . . . Keep the faith. . . . You are in the best country, and it will come back.”
A recent poll conducted by Petaluma 360 (Argus-Courier) shows that most Petalumans support Occupy Petaluma.
A majority of the people who participated in our Nov. 3, 2011 online survey support the mission and tactics of Occupy Petaluma, the group that has been holding a Wall Street protest.
Some 52.2 percent support the protest, while 34.3 do not. Asked if they feel the protesters are accomplishing something, respondents were evenly split.