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.

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.”