Two arrests as community thwarts illegal eviction attempt at Ceballos home

75 community members with Occupy Homes MN turned back 30 sheriffs in their attempt to evict the Ceballos home in Minneapolis 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. 

During the eviction attempt, community members drove sheriffs into the backyard, where they retreated after boarding up the property. The Ceballos family, friends, and neighbors removed the boards and returned into the home.

JPMorgan Chase Bank had told the Ceballos family that were considering them for a loan modification–but then filed for eviction at the same time. This process is known as dual tracking and is illegal under the national mortgage settlement. On Monday Chase asked for another loan modification application from the Ceballos family, which they accepted yesterday.

Minneapolis community launches eviction defense & calls for national day of action against Chase Bank

Over 100 community members rallied in south Minneapolis last week in support of the wrongfully foreclosed Ceballos family, who now face imminent eviction at the hands of Chase Bank. Occupy Homes MN has pledged a full-scale eviction defense, a tactic that drew widespread attention and 39 arrests during the Cruz house evictions last year, if JPMorgan Chase fails to negotiate. They have also called for a national day of action against Chase Bank on July 10. 

“For me it’s important to stay in my home because my kids grew up here,” said Sergio Ceballos, the homeowner. “I’m just asking for a modification, not to stay in my house for free.”

After the Ceballos family launched a public Occupy Homes MN campaign in April with two neighboring families fighting their foreclosures with Chase Bank, Chase agreed to review their case for a loan modification. But even as Chase was reviewing their case, they moved forward with eviction–dual tracking illegal under the national mortgage settlement. A judge refused to allow a Spanish-speaking advocate to assist the Ceballos family in court, and ordered a writ of recovery for June 30–meaning they could now be evicted any day.

Special delivery for Fannie Mae: a letter from Rose McGee

This morning a small delegation delivered a letter from Rose McGee to Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C., demanding a fair deal with principal reduction.

The delegation was led by Caylin Crawford, a St. Paul homeowner who recently won an unprecedented settlement with Freddie Mac over her own foreclosure. Fannie and Freddie are both administered by FHFA, a federal housing agency led by Ed DeMarco, who has consistently stood in the way of principal reduction–reducing mortgages to their market value. Occupy Homes MN has partnered with New Bottom Line and Right to the City’s campaign to Dump DeMarco. Caylin was in D.C. for a court hearing over her recent arrest after interrupting DeMarco’s testimony in front of Congress.

Click through for the text of Rose’s letter to Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos.

Judge orders mediation as Rep. Ellison and community rally to stop Rose McGee’s eviction

50 community members, holding red roses in solidarity, rallied in support of Rose McGee Tuesday as she faced off against Fannie Mae in settlement court alleging wrongful foreclosure. When Fannie Mae still refused to offer a fair deal, the judge ordered for them to return for further court mediation May 14.

“The outcome of the court process today was very disappointing,” said Rose McGee. “The offer that Fannie has made is unreasonable. If they made a reasonable offer, I would gladly accept it. I think now that I’m being used as a scapegoat because they’re faced with so many cases like mine that they don’t want to set a precedent of losing this one.”

Rose, who has been fighting her foreclosure for over a year, fell victim last May to a process called “dual tracking”: as CitiMortgage told her they were modifying her loan, they sold the home to Fannie Mae at a sheriff sale. In January, Rose met with Fannie Mae executives in D.C. who promised they were working on a loan modification–but she was dual tracked again when they continued pushing forward with the eviction at the same time.

Tuesday’s rally came as part of New Bottom Line’s national Dump DeMarco campaign, calling on the Obama administration to fire Ed DeMarco, the federal administrator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and replace him with a permanent director who will implement national principal reduction–resetting mortgages to fair market value.

VICTORY! South Minneapolis Grandmother Wins Loan Modification Through Support of “Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone”

After a public pressure campaign through Occupy Homes MN’s Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone, Gayle Lindsey, a nursing assistant and grandmother in South Minneapolis who was facing imminent eviction, has won a modification of her mortgage from M&T Bank. Gayle’s victory marks the seventh for Occupy Homes MN and the first in the Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone, a project that brings neighbors in the Central and Powderhorn neighborhoods together to refuse to leave their homes without a fair negotiation.

Gayle, whose renegotiation came a month after her redemption period ended, is the first victory in “the Zone.” With the help of Occupy Homes MN, she organized a series of actions, community potlucks, and press appearances.  Gayle got a call sitting at her kitchen table from an executive at M&T Bank, who offered to write Gayle a new affordable mortgage.  “It shows that Occupy Homes MN works,” says Gayle. “I want to move on to more victories for the community.”

13 arrested in Minnesota, as 200 march on Wells Fargo demanding fair banking practices

Thirteen people were peacefully arrested in Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon as they marched on Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, demanding turnover of vacant homes to community control and fair banking practices.

The march, organized by Occupy Homes MN, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and allies from faith and labor communities, began at the home of Gayle Lindsey, fighting her foreclosure with Occupy Homes and her neighbors in the Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone. It proceeded to Jessica English’s reclaimed vacant home, which had been abandoned by Wells Fargo and turned into a drug house. Jessica, a single mom of four experiencing homelessness, has rehabilitated the house with Occupy Homes as a place to raise her children.

“As a homeless mom, it’s sickening to see all the vacant homes Wells Fargo owns that attract crime in Minneapolis,” Jessica told the crowd. “Wells Fargo abandoned this home, letting it turn into a drug house that brought blight on the community. Now the community has come together to welcome my family home and demand that Wells Fargo turn over vacant homes to community control for affordable housing. We are restoring what Wells Fargo destroyed.”

Occupy Homes MN Organizer Acquitted of Assault at Freddie Mac Lawfirm

On Monday February 4, a Ramsey County jury found Anthony Newby, Occupy Homes MN organizer and executive director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, not guilty on assault charges. An employee of a law firm representing Freddie Mac, a primary target of the housing justice movement, pressed charges after a peaceful protest March 1, 2012.


Anthony was charged after attempting to help the law firm employee, who fell as dozens of supporters demanded justice for Minneapolis homeowner Monique White. Monique was then facing imminent eviction at the hands of Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant known for its enormous taxpayer bailout and consistent refusal to negotiate with struggling homeowners. After a national public pressure campaign, Monique ultimately won a negotiation and was able to stay in her home.


When We Fight, WE WIN! Springfield blockade forces Fannie Mae to cancel 2nd eviction in 2 weeks


From Springfield No One Leaves:


SPRINGFIELD, MA – Close to 50 Springfield residents braved negative five (-5) degree wind chills Wednesday to link arms and hold a sit-in in front of the home of Jeffery Solivan at 32 Edgemont St. Fannie Mae, a taxpayer owned mortgage giant, had scheduled an eviction for 9:00 AM. Rousing speeches by foreclosed homeowners, neighbors and Mr. Solivan fired up the crowd, and loud chants and picketing kept the crowd warm. At 9:15 AM, the Hampden County Sheriff’s office informed the group via telephone that Fannie Mae had instructed its lawyers to cancel the eviction. No date has been given for a new eviction as of this release. 


“After calling for a sit-in and making direct demands to Fannie Mae’s higher ups, the Bank Tenant Association won a major victory today in our fight against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” says Springfield Bank Tenants Association Leader Candejah Pink. “But the fight won’t stop today.” 


For the second time in two weeks, members of the SBTA were prepared to resist an eviction being carried out by Fannie Mae, and for the second time in two weeks they were victorious. On January 11th, Fannie Mae called off the eviction of the Clark family facing an eviction blockade by the group. 


Foreclosure fighters in MN look to change the law to protect struggling homeowners

Occupy Homes MN and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change were front and center at the State Capitol in St. Paul last week as the “Minnesota Homeowner Bill of Rights” was introduced to the housing committee. Modeled after similar legislation that passed in California last year, the bill aims to end the most egregious of foreclosure abuses. Powerful testimony began inside the press conference room as foreclosure fighter and dual-tracking victim, Rose McGee shared her support of this bill, “I want to see this particular bill passed so that people who don’t even know yet that they’re going to have to deal with something like this, won’t have to deal with something like this. People who are poor, people who are renting, people who are being kicked out on the street because their particular dwelling is being foreclosed…this is not just my fight, this is a fight for people of all classes. This is something that is about humanity.”

The committee heard from several community members including a powerful statement from Rabbi Michael Adam Latz directly addressing legislators. “You have the power to stop such unnecessary suffering, to liberate our neighbors from the shackles of the foreclosure crisis and uncertainty, desperation and financial ruin. You can end this immoral and outrageous behavior of dual tracking by proclaiming what it is: an illegal depraved toxic scam destroying the soul of the Minnesota we love!”

Victory! Fannie Mae Calls Off Springfield, MA Eviction in Face of Blockade

From Springfield No One Leaves:

We are pleased to announce that Fannie Mae informed the Clark family today that they would be putting off the eviction for 30 days to work on a potential buyback deal through Boston Community Capital! This is a huge victory due to the dedication of the whole movement fighting back against evictions and foreclosures. 

Since receiving the 48-Hour Move Out Notice on Tuesday, countless Springfield Bank Tenant Association (SBTA) members and allies have been phone-banking Fannie Mae’s offices; we’ve put out a public announcement of our eviction blockade efforts to sit-down, risk arrest and defend the Clark family home; and we called on our elected officials to stand with the Clark Family and the SBTA by calling Fannie Mae and asking them to stop the eviction and NEGOTIATE. Senator John Kerry, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Richards Neal’s offices all got on the phones over the past couple of days. As did Ward 2 City Councilor Mike Fenton. We thank all of them for their support. 

Attorneys from Community Legal Aid also supported the family, moving quickly to file an emergency motion to vacate the judgement and stay the eviction. After bringing the motion forward FNMA informed the family that they had planned to postpone the eviction proceedings for 30 days. 

Just 3 months after our successful eviction blockade with the Mendez family, Fannie Mae backed down just at the prospect of our resistance – but we will never back down! We’re committed to fighting back against all no-fault and unnecessary evictions! For now our eviction blockade is off, but if needed we’ll be right in front of 114 Corona St to block this eviction.