Greens’ Stein and Honkala arrested in protest of foreclosure giant Fannie Mae

From a media release sent to IPR by the Stein campaign:

(PHILADELPHIA) Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested today during a protest at the offices of mortgage company Fannie Mae on Banker’s Row in Philadelphia.

Among those arrested along with Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were labor lawyer James Moran and Sister Margaret McKenna of the Medical Mission Sisters. An attorney who supports civil disobedience cases is providing legal assistance. All of those arrested are expected to come before a judge on Thursday afternoon. At that time bail will either be set or they will be released on their own recognizance.

The protest was originally called for by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign to demand that the giant mortgage company halt foreclosure proceedings against two Philadelphia residents in danger of losing their homes. Stein joined the protest after Cheri Honkala joined her as Stein’s vice presidential running mate. Honkala, a former homeless single mother, has been confronting banks and mortgage companies for decades demanding that they adopt policies that will, “keep families in their homes.”

Occupy-Fannie-Mae---prayer.pngAt 1pm today about 50 protestors gathered outside of Fannie Mae’s Philadelphia headquarters. They heard from Miss Fran and Rhonda Lancaster, the heads of two families evicted by Fannie Mae in its refusal to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure. Fannie Mae executive Zach Oppenheimer had previously promised in writing to meet with the two women in order to discuss other options. Yet no followup meeting ever took place, and so protestors today entered the Fannie Mae building and vowed to stay until Mr. Oppenheimer’s word was honored.

At about 2:30pm, an hour after entering the building and beginning a sitdown protest, lower level Fannie Mae officials agreed to meet with Miss Fran and Ms. Lancaster. These meetings proved inconclusive, ending only with promises of more meetings. With Philadelphia police on hand with six paddy wagons and plainclothesman, a smaller subset of protestors stayed inside the building and risked arrest. Five were arrested, including Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala.

Miss-Fran.pngIn explaining why she joined the protest, Stein said that almost half of Americans now live in poverty or near poverty, eight million families face eviction from their homes due to foreclosures, and over a third of mortgage holders are “underwater” – meaning that they owe more to the lenders than their properties are worth on the market.

Said Stein, “The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators. It’s time for a new deal for America, and a Green New Deal is what we will deliver on taking office. ”

Jill-Stein-arrest-Honkala-next.png“The laws and the budgets and the procedures are designed to protect the lenders and to extract as much money as possible from the victims,” Honkala explained. “This isn’t the way it would be if we really had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first goal of government should be to keep families in their homes, and to provide restitution for the deception and fraud that has robbed millions of Americans of financial security.”

Stein laid out a number of steps that will be part of a new deal for homeowners when and where the Green Party wins power. First, as President, Dr. Stein would issue an executive order establishing a moratorium on foreclosures of occupied dwellings. Second, municipalities governed by Greens will get homeowners out of underwater mortgages by seizing mortgages through eminent domain and letting non-profit community development organizations – not Wall Street banks – reissue the mortgages.

Cheri-and-Guillermo.pngNoting that the Obama administration has only released 10% of the aid that Congress had promised to homeowners, Stein asserted that “There is much more interest in Washington in protecting the profits of banks than in getting this aid out to the families whose lives are falling apart.  President Obama held a big press conference to announce a program that would supposedly help 1.5 million homeowners and so far it has actually helped only 1 per cent of that number. Real help goes to the CEOs who play golf with the President and the people get lip service.  This will change only if the people stand up and say we’re not going to put up with it anymore.”

Statement from RHONDA LANCASTER (Excerpted from People’s Tribune) 

My family has lived in this home in Germantown for over 35 years. When my mother got ill and could not afford her health care, a reverse mortgage idea was presented to me. They made it look like it was a great thing. It was going to take care of my mother, and when my mother passed away it would be just fine.

The nightmare started after my mom died. I notified the bank she had passed away, and two days later I was getting ready for her funeral. Relatives and friends were coming in from all over the country. The bank told me to stop everything and let them come in and do an appraisal.

The bank refused to accept me as the executor of her estate, although the proper papers had been filed at City Hall. From that point on it was a complete nightmare. I could get through to no one and no one could help me. They denied me my legal US rights as heir to my mother’s property.

Statement from MISS FRAN (Excerpted from People’s Tribune):  

I have lived in Philadelphia all my life, and in this house since 1988. Once when I was forced to file for bankruptcy, my mortgage holder, Chase Bank, suddenly came to court and objected to my bankruptcy plan. Although the law requires them to notify me in advance, I had no warning of their action, so I had no lawyer and no time to prepare my evidence. The judge dismissed my file for bankruptcy and Chase began foreclosure proceedings.

I participated in Philadelphia’s Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, so I was able to keep my home off the sheriff sale list. Then they claimed I missed a Conciliation Conference even though they had never notified me about it. When I complained, the court rescheduled the sheriff sale of my home from July 1, 2008, to September.  I attended that sale on July 1 and was shocked to hear them put my house up for sale anyway. I was in the back of the auditorium and ran to the front making so much noise the sheriff’s lawyer had to stop the sale. Finally they brought in a letter from the sheriff saying they had obtained a court order that same day to sell the house. They had gone to court without even notifying me. The same judge who postponed the sale in the first place had turned around and vacated his own order, all without telling me.

The sale of my home went through on July 1, but my battle was just beginning. Although Chase Bank foreclosed on my home, I found out the sheriff changed the name on the documents to Fannie Mae. There is no bill of sale from Chase to Fannie Mae and no record of any transfer. Fannie Mae has no legal standing to evict me. But that didn’t stop them from trying. They sued to evict me in April 2011. I filed an objection, it was overruled, I answered them, and we were supposed to go to trial in February 2012. Then they filed for a summary judgment against me, which is only supposed to be granted when there is no dispute in the matter. I told them we most definitely do have a dispute: a district court order was ignored and Fannie Mae has no standing. But the judge granted the summary judgment anyway. They obtained a writ of eviction and scheduled my eviction for June 12.

 

See the original article on Stein’s website, here.

 

 

36 thoughts on “Greens’ Stein and Honkala arrested in protest of foreclosure giant Fannie Mae

  1. upstartgreen

    I have been a GP member since 2005 and I have never been prouder than seeing these admirable Women carrying the Green Standard. This is what voting your Dreams not your fears looks like.

  2. Matt Cholko

    I dislike the crony capitalism as much as the next guy, but why doesn’t anyone seem to point out that people who took out mortgages they couldn’t afford to pay must accept responsibility for their actions too.

  3. NewFederalist

    I agree with Matt. Don’t people who got in over their heads bear some responsibility for their problems? Why is government always the answer?

  4. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ 3 Matt

    I agree but there was so much fraud and manipulation, we will never be able to sort out who were duped and “who took out mortgages they couldn’t afford to pay”.

    We may need to look into some version of an Icelandic style Jubilee.

  5. Scott West

    If you bother to read the article above you’ll find some clue.

    Short answer: yes, but the banks’ bailout helps customers not at all so let’s have some social justice.

    Long answer: no, the market is rigged, the bailout is rigged, maybe we can build a more just system and keep people in their homes.

    These political formulations on achieving social justice and questions as to where to put market regulation aren’t of any interest to libertarians, so hence the confusion.

  6. paulie

    Short answer: yes, but the banks’ bailout helps customers not at all so let’s have some social justice.

    Long answer: no, the market is rigged, the bailout is rigged, maybe we can build a more just system and keep people in their homes.

    These political formulations on achieving social justice and questions as to where to put market regulation aren’t of any interest to libertarians, so hence the confusion.

    Depends on which libertarians you are talking about (or to).

  7. Mark Hilgenberg

    @ Scott “These political formulations on achieving social justice and questions as to where to put market regulation aren’t of any interest to libertarians, so hence the confusion.”

    We aren’t? Based on your logic I guess I can say that Greens are only interested in false attack insults, correct?

    Most Greens I have worked with over the years were interested in coalition building and finding solutions, not just finger pointing and accusations.

  8. Jill Pyeatt

    I have mixed feelings about the housing problems, also. I knowingly took equity from my house in 2006, for the sole purpose of paying back taxes to the IRS. I knew I was taking a risk. What the IRS thinks I can afford to pay is truly absurd (I’m one of those small business owners Root keeps talking about.) So, now that I have trouble paying my slightly underwater mortgage because of this economy that I as an individual didn’t ruin–is it unethical to participate in a mortgage modification? We’ll see what B of A decides (it’s already been 9 1/2 months since I started paperwork with them.)

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    Thanks for posting this article, Marc. I think it’s a good one for everyone to see at IPR.

  10. Deran

    I have to say, I am increasingly impressed by Stein/Honkala. I like seeing candidates out in the dtreets raising a ruckus.

    As far as mortgages go, I do think some people got carried away and believed the hype. But I’ve seen multiple studies showing that realtors, lenders etc sought out less informed, poorer people that they could talk into taking out large, zero down mortgages, with the lenders mortgage brokers knowing full well that these people could never keep up with their new ARM mortgages, but because finances had been deregulated the mortgages could be sold off so that the originator felt no compulsion to make sure the lendee could in fact pay back the loan.

    I tend to think that the bail outs really speaks to how tied in the Democrats are to Wall Street, and if Stein and Honkala can be a challenge to Wall Street I say Yay.

    I’ll still probably vote for Johnson/Gray, mostly because I think it would be good for the US political system if a third party got a million votes this year. Optomistic I know, but I think it’s worth trying for.

    Although, if Barr/Sheehan got on the ballot in WA state I would vote for them, but from what I can tell they will not be on the ballot here.

  11. NewFederalist

    Deran… you are by far the most broad minded progressive thinker I have ever had the pleasure to interact with!

  12. langa

    @13,14:

    You two should either knock it off or get a room!

    Don’t you guys realize this website exists for the purposes of cheap shots and petty bickering? 🙂

  13. NewFederalist

    Thanks for the comic relief, langa! I think Deran and I are both aware of the libertarian nature of this site and I really appreciate the progressive viewpoint he brings without the nasty edge that some progressives (perhaps rightly) bring to it. I also like a great sense of humor so when we “get a room” let’s make it a three way!

  14. langa

    Maybe we could invite a paleoconservative and a hardcore Marxist and make it a true political orgy!

  15. langa

    Fair enough. How about if we invite a softcore Marxist instead? Would she be OK with that?

  16. Green Party Voter

    Thanks for the Dr. Jill Stein Green Party post.

    Dr. Stein went directly to the Georgia Green Party. Wow.

    How is that petition drive for the Green Party’s Cynthia Mckinney to get on the ballot for congress in Georgia going? Cynthia McKinney will need to get about 40,000 signatures in Georgia to get on ballot for U.S. House of Representatives.

    Dr. Stein is running the best Green Party campaign we’ve seen in many a year for Prez.

  17. Starchild

    “…as President, Dr. Stein would issue an executive order establishing a moratorium on foreclosures of occupied dwellings.”

    She would have no constitutional authority to do any such thing. However, a President Stein could certainly veto any spending for the Fannie Mae government-subsidized mortgage agency which the Greens were rightly protesting, and which has played a large role in causing the housing bubble and related economic crash.

  18. Deran

    My question to Green Party Voter is: Will the Independent Greens of Virginia be putting Stein/Honkala on the ballot as the IGV presidential candidate? I realize the IGV is not a part of the actual GP USA, but you’ve made a lot of positive statem,ents re Stein. Ballot access is putting your political money where your mouth is.

  19. paulie

    Following up on Deran’s question:

    How many Green Party signatures have the Independent Greens collected at this point in VA?

    Are they on the same form as the ones being collected by the Virginia Greens affiliated with the national Green Party?

    If they are on different forms, can both forms count toward the signature requirement for the Greens (Alabama has allowed that in the past, but many states don’t)?

    How many signatures has the nationally affiliated Green Party in VA collected?

    Will the two parties cooperate in any way as far as getting on the ballot?

    I understand that the Independent Greens have helped Virgil Goode get on the ballot. How many signatures was that, and were they on the same form Goode was using himself?

    Have they also helped any other parties and if so which ones and with how many signatures?

  20. paulie

    By the way kudos to Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala for their front lines activism against the government-government subsidized banker cartel that has been extending easy credit ripoffs and then putting people out of their homes, all encouraged by government policy and bailed out with stolen tax money.

    Private profit, public risk, public cost.

    There’s a word for that. It is not free markets. Nor is it libertarian.

    Starchild makes a great point @21.

  21. ATBAFT

    What means “putting people out of their homes?”
    Even if defrauded, is it your home if you can’t pay for it?

  22. Andy

    “By the way kudos to Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala for their front lines activism against the government-government subsidized banker cartel that has been extending easy credit ripoffs”

    LOL! Easy credit ripoffs reminds me of a line from the ’70’s TV show “Good Times”.

  23. Deran

    I’m a socialist, open source variety, but I have been disappointed that with the wilting of the “home ownership is god” myth in the US, no one on the US Left has been talking about rent stabilization as a means of stabilizing and making housing sustainable. Not the Greens, not the Justice Party, maybe one of the small Trot sectlettes, but no one of any caliber.

    And thank you Paulie for bringing out more of issuesI was inferring in my question.

    I wonder if the IGV will follow the Reform Party of KS lead and nominate Baldwin? If they do, I think Green Party Voter should stifle the pretense to supporting the national Green Party. Oh! Maybe IGV will nominate Mr. US Parliament?!

  24. A Different Green Party Voter

    I predict Chuck Baldwin joins the Green Party by 2016 and gets their presidential nomination. The Green Party’s Chuck Baldwin will choose Roseanne Barr as his running mate! Such distinguished Green Party candidates will surely make the Green Party the fast rising national party it always should have been. BTW, US Parliament election results are being announced on Monday. And no I’m not Ogle.

  25. ATBAFT

    #26 good question Paulie. I believe in many of these cases it was the mortgage holder who was defrauded. Either by lying borrowers or lying mortgage brokers who inflated the income of the buyer. Banks then bought the mortgage paper based on fraudulent info provided either by the buyer, the broker or appraisers. In many cases, tough shit for the bank, but the bank still owns the house.

  26. Mark Hilgenberg

    ATBAFT

    Banks weren’t buying mortgages, they were selling them to mortgage bond managers who were packaging them up and having them rated AAA. Everyone profited at every turn, no one cared about the borrowers, it was all about the derivatives they could create.

    Read the book the Big Short by Michael Lewis to really see the fraud in action.

  27. ATBAFT

    At least two local banks had to merge because they were holding too much underwater mortgage paper. No matter the shuffling, someone got stuck with physical ownership of houses without the mortgagee being able to pay off the mortgage. Yes, the physical owner has to bear the loss, but still owns the property which may mean the current occupier has to leave.

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