Press Conference to Halt Eviction of Marcus Bookstore

2013-06-22_12.55.00On Saturday, June 22, 2013, supporters seeking to prevent the eviction of the Marcus Bookstore held a press conference at the store at 1712 Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Speakers included housing counselor and advocate Ed Donaldson, attorney Julian Davis, Westside Community Services Executive Director Dr. Mary Ann Jones,, and the Reverend Amos Brown, among others.

Links:

- Community Prays to Halt Eviction of Marcus Bookstore

- SF Examiner article: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/marcus-books-on-the-brink-of-closure/Content?oid=2449806

- KGO video and article: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=9134353

- History of Marcus Bookstore: http://www.marcusbookstores.com/history.html

Background:

Founded in 1960, in a building that once housed the jazz club Jimbo’s Bop City and was saved from the redevelopment bulldozers in the Fillmore neighborhood, Marcus Bookstore has long served the African-American community in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bookstore owners and building residents Gregory and Karen Johnson took out a loan in 2006 to pay expenses. During the economic downturn, payments on their predatory loan ballooned to more than $10,000 a month. Then came bankruptcy and eventually a bank foreclosure auction that sold the property to speculators.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, Westside Community Services has offered to pay the new owners, Nishan and Suhaila Sweis of South San Francisco, $1.64 million for the building, which would be a profit of $50,000 or 3 percent, but the Sweises are apparently holding out for $3.2 million.

A number of organizations and individuals have declared their support of Marcus Bookstore, including Westside Community Services, Supervisor London Breed, NAACP, John Coltrane Church, Code Pink, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and others.

ACCE is the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and is a network of dozens of community based organizations across California working in 14 different Counties to raise the voice of low income, immigrant and working families across the state for better jobs, schools, healthcare and housing. In San Francisco, ACCE Chapters work in the city’s lowest income communities to bring accountable and transparent investment back to their communities to achieve these goals. For more information visit www.calorganize.org.

Community Prays to Halt Eviction of Marcus Bookstore

pray-for-marcus-booksHome of Oldest Black Bookstore in U.S. Sold at Foreclosure Auction

On Sunday, June 16, 2013, forty supporters of the oldest black bookstore in the U.S. went to church to pray that speculators who purchased the building at a foreclosure auction will sell it to a non-profit investment group at a small profit so that the bookstore can remain open in San Francisco’s Fillmore neighborhood. The new owners have ordered an eviction of the bookstore and residents of the building for as soon as June 18, 2013.

About twenty supporters entered the church mass at 11:00am at St. Nicholas Church, 5200 Diamond Heights Blvd (between Duncan Street and Safira Lane) to pray for the bookstore. One of the new property owners is a deacon at the church. The bookstore’s supporters silently held images of St. Nicholas that stated “Pray the Sweis’ Do the Right Thing: Save Marcus Books” during the service, while the rest of those attending stood outside the church handing flyers the congregation.

Links    Background    Videos    Photos

Links:

- SF Examiner article: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/marcus-books-on-the-brink-of-closure/Content?oid=2449806

- KGO video and article: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=9134353

- History of Marcus Bookstore: http://www.marcusbookstores.com/history.html

Background:

Founded in 1960, in a building that once housed the jazz club Jimbo’s Bop City and was saved from the redevelopment bulldozers in the Fillmore neighborhood, Marcus Bookstore has long served the African-American community in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bookstore owners and building residents Gregory and Karen Johnson took out a loan in 2006 to pay expenses. During the economic downturn, payments on their predatory loan ballooned to more than $10,000 a month. Then came bankruptcy and eventually a bank foreclosure auction that sold the property to speculators.

According to the San Francisco Examiner, Westside Community Services has offered to pay the new owners, Nishan and Suhaila Sweis of South San Francisco, $1.64 million for the building, which would be a profit of $50,000 or 3 percent, but the Sweises are apparently holding out for $3.2 million.

A number of organizations and individuals have declared their support of Marcus Bookstore, including Westside Community Services, Supervisor London Breed, NAACP, John Coltrane Church, Code Pink, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and others.

ACCE is the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and is a network of dozens of community based organizations across California working in 14 different Counties to raise the voice of low income, immigrant and working families across the state for better jobs, schools, healthcare and housing. In San Francisco, ACCE Chapters work in the city’s lowest income communities to bring accountable and transparent investment back to their communities to achieve these goals. For more information visit www.calorganize.org.

Videos

Photos

Banks Too Big to Jail? Homeowners Occupy U.S. Department of Justice

IMAG0634Update as of May 22, 2013: 34 arrested so far.


IMAG0633Hundreds of Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters and supporters from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Home Defenders League, and other organizations occupied the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., on May 20, 2013, to demand justice by prosecuting the banks for their crimes. Some of the protestors were arrested.

Actions in support of the Washington, D.C., protest took place in San Francisco and elsewhere.

Between 400 and 500 protesters rallied at the Department of Justice (DOJ), closing Constitution Avenue and the three main entrances to DOJ. Folks demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder “Jail the Banksters” and “Not to Big to Jail”. Leaders of the CA ACCE-lad Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes struggled with police for access to DOJ. Members were tased (!!!), and seventeen were arrested, including our sister Rose Dennis of Oakland ACCE. A large contingent are occupying the main DOJ entrance tonight, and anticipate arrest tomorrow morning. Viv was quoted in the national Huffington Post report below. ALL of the press led with “Homeowners Occupy DOJ.” Here in SF, twenty SF ACCE members occupied the N CA office of DOJ, and after a confrontation, forced the Attorney in Charge to FAX our demand letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. Highlights of the local TV coverage included an interview with Vivian Richardson in DC; a 2011 tape from back when she had long hair; and a classic Ross Rhodes preach/speech.

Links:    Media Coverage    Videos    Photos

Media Coverage

Huffington Post    Washington Post    PressTV    Common Dreams    ABC 7    Color Lines    Moyers and Company    Bold Progressives    Huffington Post       In These Times       Oakland Post    Hullabaloo    Daily Kos    Deadly Clear    Fire Dog Lake    Raw Story    Rolling Stone    Huffington Post

Videos

Photos

And check this out: Jail the Bankers Light Show

SFERS Inaction on Predatory Bank Motions for City Retirement Funds

IMG_2972_1The San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board decided on April 10, 2013, not to decide anything at all on the two predatory banking motions Commissioner Herb Meiberger proposed to the Retirement Board. The vote took place in a roundabout way after much comment from the public and the commissioners in Commissioner and SF Supervisor Malia Cohen’s absence (due to illness) and once SFERS Retirement Board President Wendy Paskin-Jordan and Commissioner Brenda Wright, a senior Wells Fargo employee, had recused themselves from the deliberations. Commission Victor Makras disclosed ownership of about $11,000 of Bank of America stock, which perhaps also should have been grounds for recusal.

After much discussion from the standing-room only crowd, including lots of Wells Fargo employees paid to attend and representatives from nonprofit organizations receiving Wells Fargo funds, as well as presentation of a petition in support of the motions signed by more than 130 people, Commissioner Meiberger was unable to get a second for the motion. Then, Commissioner Makras proposed a negative motion to stop further deliberations on Herb’s motion, for which he got a second, but could not get a majority vote since Commissioner and police officer Brian Stansbury joined Commissioner Meiberger in opposing the negative motion. However, when Commissioner Meiberger again proposed the original motion, Commissioner Stansbury still did not second the motion, so the Commission did nothing at all.

If the motion should come up with Commissioner Cohen present, it seems that she could provide the necessary second for the original motions and would perhaps be able to cast the deciding vote yea or nay on at least the first, if not also the second motion.

Go to: Media Coverage    Videos    Audio    Photos    Background    Links   

Media Coverage

San Francisco Business Times (note: incorrectly states that activists protested at Brenda Wright’s home)    San Francisco Examiner

Videos

Thanks to Steve Zeltzer for the first summary video above.

Thanks to John of Bright Path Video for the summary videos above (parts I and II).

Audio

Photos

Background:

IMG_2337_1Current and retired city employees, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters, and supporters from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign provided important testimony about the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America at meeting of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System Retirement Board on January 9, February 13, and March 13, 2013.

At each meeting, the group asked the Retirement Board to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to investigate the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of the banks, to request that the banks stop these practices, to sponsor shareholder resolutions if they don’t stop, and to divest from the banks’ stocks if the shareholder resolutions do not succeed. Some of the Commissioners responded favorably to the public comment testimony.

Since the last SFERS Retirement Board meeting, a number of organizations have declared their support of the motions under consideration at the April 10 meeting, including the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco (RECCSF), Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The San Francisco Employee Retirement Systems (SFERS) handles investments for pension funds for current and retired San Francisco city employees. SFERS has policies that include “Social Investment Procedures” adopted at the SFERS Retirement Board meeting of September 27, 1988, which requires the SFERS Retirement Board when making investments in stocks, mutual funds, and so on, to consider:

“Community Relations: the relationship of the corporation to the communities in which it operates shall be maintained as a good corporate citizen through observing proper environmental standards, supporting the local economic, social and cultural climate, conducting acquisitions and reorganizations to minimize adverse effects and not discriminate in making loans or writing insurance.” (emphasis added by Occupy the Auctions)

A record number of San Francisco City and County employees, as well as others residents of San Francisco and beyond, are facing mortgage loan defaults, foreclosures, and evictions (an estimated 12,000 foreclosures in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011). Many have already lost their homes.

Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America are the market leaders in foreclosures and related evictions here in San Francisco and statewide. These banks engaged in illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices by putting African-American and Latino borrowers into higher-cost, subprime loans than white borrowers. In fact, in July 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a United States Department of Justice lawsuit for its discriminatory mortgage lending practices affecting more than 30,000 borrowers, including those banking at the Bayview Wells Fargo branch.

Billions of dollars in mortgage lender settlements with government agencies and other parties have to date not managed to solve the mortgage lending crisis, making mortgage lenders and servicers a potential medium-term and long-term investment risk. Illegal, predatory, and discriminatory foreclosures harm all homeowners, erode the property tax base, and cost local governments, hurting the standard of living of retirees and all working people.

01Wells Fargo is #1 in San Francisco foreclosures. San Francisco’s Mayor and Board of Supervisors have unanimously requested a halt to foreclosures and related evictions, especially since San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s report showing that 84% of foreclosures have at least one legal violation and due to Wells’ $175 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice paid in response to allegations of racial discrimination in providing mortgage loans in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and other neighborhoods.

Wells Fargo’s “waterfall” model, along with similar policies from other lenders, ensures that the bank can squeeze the most money possible from homeowners struggling to make payments while finally discarding them like trash if the bank can’t make a profit on every single loan. Running a mortgage loan business means assuming risks, especially after receiving billions in bailout funds from the taxpayers, many of whom are Wells’ mortgage loan borrowers.

Wells Fargo is putting 32 families at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure and related evictions during this holiday season. Wells Fargo is foreclosing on and evicting veterans and disabled and senior homeowners and families with children, as well as targeting homeowners with life-threatening illnesses. Wells Fargo has engaged in predatory, fraudulent, and racist lending practices and has contributed to a rash of foreclosure deaths.

Links:

Petition Supporting SFERS Motions    April 10 Media Advisory    Agenda for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    Staff Memo for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    SFERS Social Investment Policy    Members of SFERS Retirement Board    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on March 13, 2013    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on January 9, 2013    San Francisco Business Times    KCBS (including audio segment)    Wells Pays $175 Million to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination in Providing Mortgage Loans    Occupy Our Homes Wells Fargo Bayview Branch Action    Occupy Wells Fargo Noe Branch    Occupy Wells Fargo HQ    Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures (Occupy Anniversary)

San Francisco Retirement System to Debate Investments in Predatory Banks

The San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board plans to consider two motions regarding investments in banks engaged in illegal, predatory, or discriminatory lending at its next meeting.

What: SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on Predatory Bank Investments
When: 1:30pm on Wednesday, April 10 (arrive early to get a seat before meeting starts at 2:00pm)
Where: 30 Van Ness Avenue, 3rd floor, near Market Street, San Francisco

SFERS Commissioner Herb Meiberger introduced the motions with overwhelming support from current and retired city employees served by the retirement system.

Background:

IMG_2337_1Current and retired city employees, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters, and supporters from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign provided important testimony about the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America at meeting of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System Retirement Board on January 9, February 13, and March 13, 2013.

At each meeting, the group asked the Retirement Board to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to investigate the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of the banks, to request that the banks stop these practices, to sponsor shareholder resolutions if they don’t stop, and to divest from the banks’ stocks if the shareholder resolutions do not succeed. Some of the Commissioners responded favorably to the public comment testimony.

Since the last SFERS Retirement Board meeting, a number of organizations have declared their support of the motions under consideration at the April 10 meeting, including the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco (RECCSF), Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The San Francisco Employee Retirement Systems (SFERS) handles investments for pension funds for current and retired San Francisco city employees. SFERS has policies that include “Social Investment Procedures” adopted at the SFERS Retirement Board meeting of September 27, 1988, which requires the SFERS Retirement Board when making investments in stocks, mutual funds, and so on, to consider:

“Community Relations: the relationship of the corporation to the communities in which it operates shall be maintained as a good corporate citizen through observing proper environmental standards, supporting the local economic, social and cultural climate, conducting acquisitions and reorganizations to minimize adverse effects and not discriminate in making loans or writing insurance.” (emphasis added by Occupy the Auctions)

A record number of San Francisco City and County employees, as well as others residents of San Francisco and beyond, are facing mortgage loan defaults, foreclosures, and evictions (an estimated 12,000 foreclosures in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011). Many have already lost their homes.

Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America are the market leaders in foreclosures and related evictions here in San Francisco and statewide. These banks engaged in illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices by putting African-American and Latino borrowers into higher-cost, subprime loans than white borrowers. In fact, in July 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a United States Department of Justice lawsuit for its discriminatory mortgage lending practices affecting more than 30,000 borrowers, including those banking at the Bayview Wells Fargo branch.

Billions of dollars in mortgage lender settlements with government agencies and other parties have to date not managed to solve the mortgage lending crisis, making mortgage lenders and servicers a potential medium-term and long-term investment risk. Illegal, predatory, and discriminatory foreclosures harm all homeowners, erode the property tax base, and cost local governments, hurting the standard of living of retirees and all working people.

01Wells Fargo is #1 in San Francisco foreclosures. San Francisco’s Mayor and Board of Supervisors have unanimously requested a halt to foreclosures and related evictions, especially since San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s report showing that 84% of foreclosures have at least one legal violation and due to Wells’ $175 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice paid in response to allegations of racial discrimination in providing mortgage loans in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and other neighborhoods.

Wells Fargo’s “waterfall” model, along with similar policies from other lenders, ensures that the bank can squeeze the most money possible from homeowners struggling to make payments while finally discarding them like trash if the bank can’t make a profit on every single loan. Running a mortgage loan business means assuming risks, especially after receiving billions in bailout funds from the taxpayers, many of whom are Wells’ mortgage loan borrowers.

Wells Fargo is putting 32 families at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure and related evictions during this holiday season. Wells Fargo is foreclosing on and evicting veterans and disabled and senior homeowners and families with children, as well as targeting homeowners with life-threatening illnesses. Wells Fargo has engaged in predatory, fraudulent, and racist lending practices and has contributed to a rash of foreclosure deaths.

Links:

Agenda for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    Members of SFERS Retirement Board    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on March 13, 2013    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on January 9, 2013    San Francisco Business Times    KCBS (including audio segment)    Wells Pays $175 Million to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination in Providing Mortgage Loans    Occupy Our Homes Wells Fargo Bayview Branch Action    Occupy Wells Fargo Noe Branch    Occupy Wells Fargo HQ    Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures (Occupy Anniversary)

For this release and updates: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=8821

Freddie Mac Didn’t Set Out to Profit from Homeowners Trapped in High-Rate Mortgages

by Cora Currier ProPublica (republished with permission)

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac did not keep homeowners trapped in high-interest loans in order to boost profits on billions of dollars’ worth of complex financial bets it had made. That’s the conclusion reached in a report released today by the inspector general that oversees the agency in charge of Freddie Mac.

Last January, ProPublica and NPR reported that Freddie had dramatically expanded its holdings of mortgage-backed securities that would profit if homeowners stayed in their existing high-interest-rate loans. At the same time, the company had taken steps that made it harder for homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates. Our report stated that there was no evidence of a coordinated attempt to bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance. The inspector general’s report concludes that there was none.

But the inspector general left a key stone unturned: It did not independently evaluate the firewall within Freddie Mac designed to keep Freddie’s investment arm from profiting from insider information about the mortgage giant’s plans to tighten or loosen homeowners’ access to credit. Instead, the inspector general relied on the word of employees it interviewed and conducted no further investigation. It also reported that the agency that oversees Freddie has not tested the firewall’s integrity.

Freddie Mac and its sister company Fannie Mae were bailed out by taxpayers after the financial crisis and are now controlled by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Freddie and Fannie guarantee most of the mortgages in the U.S., and they have a mission to make home loans more affordable. But Freddie also has a massive investment portfolio and has to protect against losses. Sometimes, those two goals can conflict.  

Beginning in 2010, Freddie Mac expanded its portfolio of a particular kind of mortgage-backed security known as an “inverse floater.” The company offered investors a relatively safe bond with a floating interest rate. It then kept on its books what is called an “inverse floater,” which pays out the highest returns if borrowers stay in their mortgages. When interest rates dropped (as they did during that period), Freddie Mac stood to profit on its inverse floaters, because the rates being paid by the pool of borrowers were higher than the prevailing market rates. Inverse floaters lose that advantage the more that homeowners in the pool refinance at the lower rates. 

The report says that Freddie’s investment wing increased its holdings in inverse floaters merely because investors were demanding the floating rate bonds linked to them — not because of any strategy to exploit homeowners trapped in high-interest-rate mortgages.

Freddie Mac has an  ”information wall” designed to separate the employees running Freddie Mac’s investment strategy from those designing and carrying out its policies that impact the mortgage market, such as programs aimed at helping people refinance or making it more difficult for them to do so. The inspector general’s report says that it found “no evidence” that the wall had been breached.

Yet, the inspector general noted that FHFA has not conducted any independent testing of Freddie’s information wall. And the inspector general limited its own investigation of the wall to interviewing Freddie executives and FHFA officials and reviewing policy documents. The inspector general “did not independently evaluate the efficacy of Freddie Mac’s information wall policy,” the report states.

The report emphasizes that there are indeed “tensions between policies aimed at homeowners refinancing and Freddie Mac’s retained investments.” But it says that such tensions are not unique to inverse floaters but are “inherent throughout [Freddie and Fannie's] various business lines.”

At the end of 2011, Freddie held about $5 billion worth of inverse floaters, according to the report, or less than one percent of its $653 billion investment portfolio.

The report also notes that the company hedges to balance its interest-rate risk, meaning that it places many different bets so that no matter whether interest rates rise or fall, its investments will be close to “net flat” — stay roughly the same, recording neither large profits nor large losses. Freddie does not try to balance the risk of each individual investment, but rather hedges “on its portfolio as a whole.”   The report explains:

In the context of inverse floaters, although Freddie Mac may on the one hand benefit from a trend of low interest rates and reduced prepayments by homeowners, on the other hand, Freddie Mac’s other investments may equally suffer from such a trend. Thus, the end result, if perfectly hedged on interest rates, is that Freddie Mac’s overall position will remain the same regardless of prepayments.  

The inspector general did not independently evaluate Freddie’s hedging strategies. When ProPublica and NPR first reported on these deals, it was unclear what kind of hedging, if any, Freddie Mac had performed.

The company is also supposed to be reducing its investment portfolio as part of the terms of its government bailout. In a footnote, the inspector general’s report mentions that Freddie Mac told the Securities and Exchange Commission that selling the floating rate securities was a way to reduce its balance sheet. But most Freddie and FHFA officials interviewed by the inspector general said that reducing its balance sheet was not the motivation for Freddie to create inverse floaters, even if that was the result.

Separately, the way Freddie structured the inverse floaters leaves Freddie with nearly all of the risk of the assets that no longer show up on its balance sheet. The reason: As the guarantor of the mortgages that back the securities, Freddie is already on the hook if the homeowner defaults. With inverse floaters, it also retains the risks that homeowners might refinance and that overall interest rates might rise. Indeed, independent analysts told ProPublica and NPR in January that Freddie may actually have increased its risk, because inverse floaters are illiquid and hard to sell.

In its written response to the inspector general’s report, the FHFA did not address Freddie Mac’s statements to the SEC. When contacted by ProPublica, an FHFA spokesperson declined to comment.

The report said that FHFA issued misleading statements to the public on when it ordered Freddie to stop creating inverse floaters. According to the report, in the spring of 2011, the FHFA began a review of Freddie Mac’s mortgage securities operation, in large part to determine whether the company held too many complex and risky mortgage products, including inverse floaters.

But an executive at Freddie didn’t suspend inverse floaters and certain other complex securities deals until January 6, and FHFA didn’t explicitly order Freddie Mac to stop selling inverse floaters until January 30, 2012, after ProPublica’s story was published. In fact, according to the report, that day marked “the first time that FHFA’s senior leadership met to discuss the Agency’s position with respect to inverse floaters.”

By then, however, Freddie had long since stopped selling floating rate securities — not because of any order from FHFA but because the market for them dried up in spring 2011 when Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that interest rates would remain low for at least another year.

That’s not how FHFA described what happened after our story broke. In a statement released in response to ProPublica and NPR’s reports, the agency said that staff met with Freddie in December 2011 and came to an agreement then to suspend inverse floater trades. The inspector general’s report concludes that statement was misleading: “prior to January 2012, neither Freddie Mac nor FHFA made a decision to halt Freddie Mac’s creation and investment in inverse floaters; the market for reciprocal floating rate bonds simply disappeared. Had the market reappeared and Freddie Mac found the economics were again profitable, [Freddie] would have been free to structure floating-rate and inverse floating-rate investments.”

In a response to the report, the FHFA disputed the inspector general’s reading of the public statement, saying that it did not claim “that there was a specific, well-articulated FHFA policy and agreement” in December. The agency also emphasized that it did not take a position on inverse floaters only in reaction to media reports. While acknowledging that “the key stakeholders” had met together for the first time on January 30th, the day ProPublica and NPR released their original stories, the FHFA emphasizes that it had been in communication with Freddie on inverse floaters over the previous year.

The inspector general’s report was requested by Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ, last January, after our story brought the issue to light.


Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures in San Francisco (Occupy Anniversary)

Elderly Foreclosure and Evictions Fighters from the San Francisco Bay Area held a press conference at 12:00 noon on Monday, September 17, at the San Francisco War Memorial Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue. MC Archbishop Franzo King, of the St. John Coltrane Church, kicked off the event by describing and analyzing his own foreclosure situation with Wells Fargo bank and the plight of seniors, veterans, and disabled folks preyed upon by the banks.

92-year-old disabled Navy veteran Robert Moses spoke about the multiple attempts he made to obtain a fair deal loan modification from loan servicer Homeward Residential (formerly American Home Mortgage) and from loan owner Deutsche Bank for his Visitacion Valley home where he has lived since 1972.

Don and Tina Baird spoke about their struggle to hold on to the home in Redwood City they purchased in 1966. Don served in the US Coast Guard in the Pacific, and will turn 90 this month. They face a foreclosure auction scheduled for September 24. He has heart surgery on September 27.

Benjamin Reed, Jr., spoke on his father’s behalf about a similar struggle with the bank. Benjamin Reed, Sr., was a Tuskegee Air Man. He and his wife Irma have lived Twin Peaks for 27 years.

Finally, senior Alfred Richardson talked about the bank’s auction of his home at the War Memorial Building last Tuesday.

After some rousing speeches from Archbishop King and Grace Martinez of ACCE, the press took individual interviews and much of the crowd marched over to the nearby JP Morgan Chase bank branch at 500 Van Ness Ave.

Media Coverage of San Francisco Occupy Anniversary Actions

Below is some independent media coverage of Occupy Anniversary actions in San Francisco (with a couple on NYC Wall St) followed by a sampling of the extensive corporate media coverage of the planned afternoon events.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA
As Occupy San Francisco Marks its One-Year Anniversary, Anti-Foreclosure Actions Abound
The Pacifica Evening News
http://pacificaeveningnews.blogspot.com/2012/09/as-occupy-san-francisco-marks-its-one.html
Banks Threaten Elderly Veterans With Foreclosure
New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram
http://newamericamedia.org/2012/09/elderly-veterans-fight-home-foreclosures.php

It’s Alive! Occupy Actions Across the Country Show the Movement’s Impact

Here’s our on-the-ground reporting from the East and West coasts.

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe, Alyssa Figueroa

http://www.alternet.org/activism/its-alive-occupy-actions-across-country-show-movements-impact

Occupy San Francisco One Year Anniversary
CNN Ireprot
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-843017

 

Occupy Wall Street 1-year Anniversary

by Liz Highleyman
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/09/18/18721913.php

 

Occupy San Francisco One Year Anniversary

by D. Boyer
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/09/18/18721946.php

Occupy’s 1st Anniversary Was a Party with Politics in San Francisco
Peter M., Indybay
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/09/18/18721873.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/09/18/18721894.php

Rally demands banks stop foreclosing on veterans
by: MARILYN BECHTEL
http://peoplesworld.org/rally-demands-banks-stop-foreclosing-on-veterans/

 

#StrikeDebt: Occupy morphs into debt resistance movement

by Jerome Roos, ROARMAG.org
http://roarmag.org/2012/09/occupy-strike-debt-resistance-operations-manual/

 

NYC S17: Celebration and Disruption, Mission Accomplished.

http://www.nicholasmirzoeff.com/O2012/2012/09/18/s17-celebration-and-disruption-mission-accomplished/


Occupy Bernal: Occupy at the local level
By Jen Chien, KALW
http://www.kalw.org/post/occupy-bernal-occupy-local-level

Occupy Your Victories; Occupy Wall Street’s First Anniversary
TomDispatch.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-solnit/occupy-wall-street-anniversary_b_1889956.html

 

How Do You Measure a Dream?

by Marina Sitrin

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/how-do-you-measure-a-dream

 

One Year Anniversary of Occupy, San Francisco

YouTube video by Thomas Brown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIQlFQihLD8

Occupy Celebrates Birthday, Forges Ahead

By Judith Scherr, Inter Press Service

http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/occupy-celebrates-birthday-forges-ahead

CORPORATE MEDIA

Occupy protesters take to streets to mark movement’s anniversary

KTVU News

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/occupy-protesters-take-streets-mark-movements-anni/nSDR6/http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/occupy-protesters-march-through-downtown-sf-on/vd5fS/

http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/occupy-march-through-sf-marking-anniversary-loud/vd5pN/


Occupy SF Protesters Mark 1st Anniversary Of Movement

CBS News

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/09/17/occupy-sf-protesters-mark-1st-anniversary-of-movement/
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7422030n

 

Occupy Gathers in San Francisco on Anniversary

Activists gathered in front of the Wells Fargo building in SF’s Financial District

NBC News

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Occupy-Gathers-in-San-Francisco-on-Anniversary-170120506.html


Occupy SF marks anniversary with peaceful rallies

The Associated Press

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/17/4827445/occupy-sf-celebrates-first-year.html


Occupy protesters celebrate in S.F.

Justin Berton, Kevin Fagan and Michael Cabanatuan, SF Chronicle

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Occupy-protesters-snarl-traffic-streetcars-3872516.php


Hundreds celebrate the birthday of Occupy in San Francisco

Thomas Pendergast, Examiner

http://www.examiner.com/article/hundreds-celebrate-the-birthday-of-occupy-san-francisco


 

On anniversary, Occupy takes stock of movement

By Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune

http://www.mercurynews.com/occupy/ci_21567917/anniversary-occupy-takes-stock-movement

Arrests mark Occupy anniversary

by Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012/09/17/arrests-mark-occupy-anniversary/57797548/1?csp=34news

Freddie Mac to Evict Disabled Veteran, Wife, and Mentally Challenged Child in Saint Louis

Update as of September 12: Good news! After the television coverage and news coverage of Sally’s case, the judge delayed the eviction of the Scott family with the help of Sally’s attorney. Sally, her husband Bob, and supporters from MORE attended the proceedings. That gives us time to pressure Freddie Mac to rescind the eviction and allow negotiations for a fair deal loan modification so the Scott family can remain in their home.


**Press Advisory for Tuesday, September 11, 2012**

For Immediate Release

Contact:

* Sally Scott, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighter, +1 314-218-5733, ROSCOTT3@aol.com

* Stardust, Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign, +1 415-425-3936, press@occupytheauctions.org

* Zach Chasnoff, Organize Missouri, +1 314-780-3734, zach@organizemo.org

Freddie Mac to Evict Disabled Veteran, Wife, and Mentally Challenged Child in Saint Louis

Bank Bailouts Don’t Benefit Homeowners Who Want to Pay, But Need Loan Modifications

St Louis, Missouri – Pleas to stop the eviction of Sally Scott, her disabled veteran husband Bob, and their mentally challenged daughter Susie, have fallen on deaf ears at Freddie Mac.

“After my 84-year-old husband suffered a stroke, I was ashamed to admit that we missed some mortgage payments while closing down my husband’s business and covering skyrocketing medical costs,” said Sally Scott. “Now I know that the right course of action is to fight for my family and our home by demanding that Freddie Mac work with Select Portfolio Servicing to stop our eviction and offer us a fair deal loan modification.”

The Scotts originally obtained their loan from Southwest Bank, then it was transferred twice over the last 11 years, ending up serviced by Select Portfolio Servicing and owned by Freddie Mac.

The following Freddie Mac staff and attorneys have refused to negotiate on the case when approached by Sally Scott and her supporters:

* Donald H. Layton, CEO, +1 703-903-2000 (say “Donald Layton” to transfer call), Donald_Layton@freddiemac.com

* Brad German, Public Relations, +1 703-903-2437, Brad_German@freddiemac.com

* Patti Boerger, Media Relations, +1 703-903-2445, Patricia_Boerger@freddiemac.com

* Chad Wandler, Media Relations, +1 703-903-2446 or +1 571-236-2533 (cell), Chad_Wandler@FreddieMac.com

* Aaron Elking, Attorney at Martin, Leigh, Laws, & Fritzlen, in Kansas City, 314-862-5200 or 636-534-7600, ame@mllfpc.com

After their staff refused a loan modification approved by a HUD-certified counselor, Freddie Mac auctioned back to themselves the home of 65-year-old Sally Scott and her family in west St. Louis, Missouri.

Her 84-year-old husband Bob is a WWII and Korean War veteran who was disabled by a stroke five years ago. Sally, her disabled husband Bob, and her 26-year-old mentally handicapped “special child” Susie live in a constant state of fear, not knowing when the county sheriff will show up to evict them and throw all their belongings out onto the sidewalk. The next court hearing on their eviction is at 9:00am on September 12 at the St. Louis County Courthouse.

Hundreds of supporters have responded to the following action alert, calling and emailing Freddie Mac in support: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=3983

Organizations and Campaign

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) believes that Missouri is positioned at a unique intersection of social, economic and environmental injustice. We believe that as corporate power continues unabated expansion and the gap between the rich and the poor widens, there has never been a better time for our low-income communities to come together and fight back. MORE seeks to be a powerful organization of low- and moderate-income people, building strength in our communities. We work in relationship with other organizations pushing our allies to engage in creative direct action with us to foster good policy changes. MORE seeks to be part of a movement that cuts across, class, age and race lines that is envisioning and building the world in which we would like to live. Web: http://www.organizemo.org

Occupy the Auctions/Evictions
is a campaign to halt for-profit and predatory evictions, foreclosures, and foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and beyond. Web: http://www.occupytheauctions.org and http://www.occupyevictions.org

Updates and Photos

For updates, photos, and for this release on the web: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=4466

Occupy Peter Briger – Fortress Investment Group Co-Chair – To Stop the Evictions and Foreclosures of the Nationstar 8

On September 9, 2012, Foreclosure and Evictions Fighters from the Nationstar 8 and their supporters from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and other organizations traveled to the Atherton home of billionaire Fortress Investment Group Board Co-Chair Peter Briger. After leafleting his neighbors about Briger’s activities with the corporate strategy of “garbage collection”, including foreclosing on people’s homes and evicting them, the protestors actually got to meet with Briger on his driveway. The Fortress Investment Group owns 77% of Nationstar, which acquired Aurora mortgage loans. Briger assured the group he would have Nationstar management look into the eight cases, including the upcoming evictions of Kim Mitchell and Denise Collins. Nationstar postponed those evictions and has been negotiating with the Nationstar 8 regarding potential buyouts or loan modifications.

Links: Menlo Park Patch Article    San Jose Mercury News Article    SF Weekly Article

Thanks to Peter Menchini for this excellent video and the photos below: