Ottaway News Service
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Eliminating income tax would slash state budget
By David Kibbe
Almost all state programs
would face a 71 percent budget cut if a ballot question to abolish the
income tax passes on Nov. 4, according to a report released Monday by
the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
business-backed research group opposes Question 1, which was put on the
ballot by the Committee for Small Government. It would cut $12.5 billion
from the state budget, saving the average taxpayer about $3,700.
The taxpayers foundation
said the state is legally committed to spend $12.4 billion a year, from
debt service to a minimum level of school aid. The report said the
budget cuts would have to come from the remainder of total state
spending – about $19 billion in discretionary accounts.
The taxpayers foundation
said 71 percent cuts would have to be made in broad areas of the budget,
like higher education, human services, parks and environmental programs,
and the remainder of local aid.
afford this reckless proposal,” Peter Meade, the chairman of the Vote No
on 1 campaign, said in a statement after the report was released.
Carla Howell, who leads the
Committee for Small Government, said the state can eliminate $12.5
billion by targeting waste in state government, without affecting core
She said opponents of
Question 1 threaten the loss of popular government programs, while
“ignoring the vast majority of state spending.”
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation represents large financial
institutions and other businesses that profit from high state spending
and other government privileges,” Howell said. “They advocate for narrow
tax cuts for their constituents and support high taxes for the everyday
worker and taxpayer.”
The Boston Globe
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Shaky economy may weigh heavily in income tax vote
By Eric Moskowitz
As an MBTA employee, George
Glidden knows the unions want him to vote against Question 1, which
would abolish the state income tax. He's heard the fears that the ballot
question would cause dramatic cuts to state and local services and
probably trigger other tax increases to make up the difference.
But taking home an extra
$54 or so a week - even, Glidden figures, if he has to pay half or more
back in a property-tax hike later - would be worth it.
"It's about the pocketbook.
It's about everything else going up," said Glidden, who is 40 and lives
in North Attleborough. "If you can give me an extra $20 or $25 a week,
that's a tank of gas - or part of it."
The last time the income
tax question was on the ballot, in 2002, it received little attention
but stunned political observers by collecting 45 percent of the vote. At
the time, a gallon of gas cost less than $1.50, home prices were
soaring, and the economy, if imperfect, was not the dominant issue.
That's a far cry from 2008.
Voters for months have endured unemployment increases, flat or
decreasing wages and home values, a rising cost of living, and, for the
last two weeks, have watched with unease and even panic as stock prices
plunged and the credit crisis spread around the world.
All of which means the
economy, whether it's personal finance, the state budget, or global
financial transactions, will weigh heavily on the minds of voters Nov.
4, those on both sides of Question 1 say. That has shaken the
forecasting and for many increased the hope, or worry, about the result.
Carla Howell, the chief
proponent of the tax cut question, thinks pressured taxpayers will see
it as a "relief valve." It will "make the difference for thousands [of
people] between paying the mortgage and not being able to pay the
mortgage," said Howell, chairwoman of the Committee for Small Government
and a former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate.
On the other side, those
who believe fundamentally in the importance of the state income tax - as
well as those who just don't want to see the economic rug yanked from
beneath Beacon Hill and, in turn, the state in a time of crisis - have
been engaging in an education campaign that they hope will win out over
antitax reactions and pocketbook concerns in the voting booth.
"I am concerned that this
becomes a vote of emotion," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which this week issued a 28-page
report, "The Enormous Consequences of Question 1," predicting that the
loss of $12.5 billion in income taxes would be catastrophic to state
services and local aid. The state's bond rating would plunge to junk
status, and businesses drawn by quality of life and stability would look
elsewhere, Widmer said.
"I think if anybody looks
at the facts, it would lose widely," he said. "But I'm assuming it's
going to be a close vote."
In late September, two
polls indicated that to be the case. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe
poll of 400 residents, taken Sept. 22 to 25, indicated that 40 percent
supported the question, with 49 percent opposed. A Sept. 22 and 23 poll
of 679 likely voters, conducted by Survey USA for WBZ-TV, indicated that
31 percent would definitely support it, 34 percent would definitely
oppose, and 35 percent were undecided or leaning. But that September
snapshot now seems like ages ago - the Dow Jones industrial average
hovered at about 11,000, and the Bush administration was just
introducing the bailout plan, which was ultimately revised and passed
Interviews with more than a
dozen voters Monday during the lunchtime rush in Downtown Crossing
revealed a mix of opinions.
"Every day it's more
expensive," Nadira Seguie, a 50-year-old city housing employee from
Roxbury, said, explaining why she will vote for the question. "The food,
the gas, medical bills, everything."
John Czajkowski, a heating
and air conditioning worker who lives in Quincy, will vote against it,
because he thinks abolishing the income tax would cripple a state
government that is already envisioning substantial cuts because of
lagging tax collections tied to the economy.
"If you get rid of the
income tax, it will be even worse," said Czajkowski, who is 42. "Where
will you get the money to pay for services?"
Several opponents said they
worried that voters would consider the immediate paycheck gains but not
the potential consequences. "I think the only thing they see is 'no
taxes,' " said Dennis Hohengasser, a 59-year-old state employee from
That's not unusual in
studies bridging economics and psychology, said Edward L. Glaeser, a
Harvard professor. "People very often fail to think that other people
engage in complex thinking," he said.
Glaeser, who also directs
the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, said a flagging economy
could make voters feel poorer and want to expand their paychecks by
abolishing the income tax. But the more dramatic news of late, about the
credit crisis and stock selloff, could outweigh that impulse and make
people think that this is a particularly risky time to vote for
something drastic and unpredictable, he said.
"There are good reasons to
think that the second view is actually the right one," Glaeser said. "If
you ever wanted to experiment with something like this, this is a very,
very tough time to be sending the state out to the credit market to be
making up a cash shortfall" immediately, even if budgets could be
The question, if approved,
would cut the state income tax from 5.3 to 2.65 percent on Jan. 1, in
the middle of this fiscal year, and abolish it entirely a year later. It
would become law, but is not a constitutional amendment. State
lawmakers, who have voiced bipartisan opposition to the question, could
try to repeal it later or approve other measures to offset it, but would
face procedural and political obstacles, especially in the first year.
Howell said eliminating the
income tax would force officials to build a "lean and efficient
government," not cause public schools, roads, and safety to deteriorate
or other taxes to rise. She touts the $3,700 in income taxes the average
Massachusetts worker would save annually.
Income tax supporters, who
did not organize in 2002, are campaigning against passage. A
union-funded coalition of civic, human services, environmental, labor,
faith, and business groups has banded together for statewide canvassing,
phone banks, and yet-to-run ads.
The Rev. Richard McGowan, a
Jesuit priest and Boston College economics professor, said he thinks a
majority of voters understand that the benefits promised in Question 1
are illusory, with consequences that will probably include lost services
and the expansion of more regressive taxes.
"In some other states it
might be [swayed by the economy], but I have a feeling that in
Massachusetts it's just not the way it's going to go," he said, pausing
briefly. "I might be very wrong."
Consumers Rights League
$1 Million Scancal Latest To Hit ACORN
ACORN and its affiliates
have a multi-decade history of fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds.
Recently, the Consumers Rights League released a whistleblower report
that uses internal ACORN documents to highlight alleged misuses of
taxpayer money by ACORN Housing Corp, which took in 40% of its funds
from the government and sent more than a million dollars to ACORN’s
affiliate, Citizens Consulting....
ACORN and ACORN fraternal
organizations’ multi-decade record of partisanship and misusing public
funds is a prime example of a broken system. They continuously turn in
faulty, if not false, voter registration forms that threaten to
disenfranchise voters on Election Day. They have repeatedly used
taxpayer funds to bolster their own political ends. Eventually, taxpayer
money ended up in the pockets of the brother of ACORN’s founder and
ACORN attempted to hide the truth for years.
Federal authorities must
investigate the misuse of taxpayer funds supplied to ACORN and its
affiliates and rectify these past abuses. Further, Congress must put
into place measures that will prevent such abuses in the future.
The New York Post
Monday, October 7, 2008
'Rescue" rewards housing hustlers
Waters: ACORN's best friend in Congress.
By Michelle Malkin
If you thought the
trillion-dollar-plus "financial-rescue plan" signed into law Friday had
been stripped of the radical group ACORN, think again: The Chicago-based
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now's fingerprints are
still all over the law.
ACORN's participation in
"fixing" a crisis it helped create is flabbergasting.
For decades, the left-wing
activist group pressured lenders to give loans to lower-income borrowers
who couldn't otherwise afford homes. The grateful homeowners then become
political recruits, serving as foot soldiers for ACORN's radical agenda.
Problem is, such mortgages
are now going bad all across America. ACORN's answer: Pressuring the
banks not to foreclose on bad risks. And now, with the "rescue" bill,
they're getting ready to simply rewrite mortgages to make them
House Republicans removed
one pro-ACORN measure from the rescue bill - torpedoeing a provision
devoting 20 percent of all profits from the bailout to a housing slush
fund - which would've funneled money to ACORN and similar groups.
In its place, however,
ACORN's favorite lawmakers - led by Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barney
Frank (D-Mass.) - got ACORN-championed "foreclosure-mitigation"
provisions into the rescue.
This will radically expand
the federal role in meddling with mortgage loans. The key sections
mandate that the Treasury "consent" to rewriting loans to prevent
foreclosures - not only by reducing interest, but also by cutting loan
Stuck with a $300,000
mortgage you can't pay? Get the government to wave its magic wand and
cut your debt to $150,000.
The deal is only for those
who have fallen behind on their mortgages, of course - not for all you
chumps who've been paying on time.
And it's a good bet that
ACORN mortgage counselors will "help" decide which distressed borrowers
benefit, and how.
The group's housing arm,
the Acorn Housing Corp., is already funded with millions of taxpayer
dollars to renegotiate loans for low-income people who should have never
received them in the first place. Loan modification is ACORN's bread and
And when the group doesn't
get what it wants, it will sue, protest and shake down until business
and government bend again.
Rep. John Culberson
(R-Texas) foresees havoc: "Liberals who manage these programs will give
away millions of free or reduced homes in neighborhoods all over America
to families who could not otherwise afford them.
"The federal government now
has the power to create federal housing projects, house by house, in
neighborhoods all over America. Just imagine what that means for
property values and the safety and security of your neighborhood."
All this comes on top of
the $5 billion ACORN-backed housing bill passed in July, which hands
$600 million-plus to ACORN and similar groups to bail out homeowners
under water and help countless more risky loan prospects.
During the floor debate on
Friday, Reps. Frank and Waters assured Democratic colleagues that they
had personally lobbied Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on these measures
and would press him to consent to "do the kind of loan modifications
we've been urging."
Waters exulted: "We're in
charge! . . . We own them now."
If the banks and others
that collect payments on these distressed mortgages don't write down
enough loan principal to keep Rep. Frank happy, he threatens hearings
and new legislation next year.
He'll have the backing of
ACORN. ACORN President Maude Hurd warns that her "members plan to hold
Secretary Paulson accountable and ensure he uses this authority to make
streamlined loan modifications a priority for struggling American
What's next? Principal
write-downs on credit cards and car loans? What incentive do responsible
borrowers have left to pay their bills on time?
housing-bubble analyst and blogger Patrick Killelea (patricknet) notes:
"Nobody was ever forced to borrow money. People who borrowed too much
money made a mistake. If they can do that with impunity, they will keep
on doing it . . . Every prevented foreclosure also prevents a deserving
family from buying at a reasonable price."
Thanks to ACORN, the
bailout enshrines the homeownership-at-all-costs mentality that got us
into this mess in the first place.
National Review Online
October 7, 2008
Planting Seeds of Disaster
ACORN, Barack Obama, and the Democratic party
By Stanley Kurtz
‘You’ve got only a couple
thousand bucks in the bank. Your job pays you dog-food wages. Your
credit history has been bent, stapled, and mutilated. You declared
bankruptcy in 1989. Don’t despair: You can still buy a house.” So began
an April 1995 article in the Chicago Sun-Times that went on to direct
prospective home-buyers fitting this profile to a group of far-left
“community organizers” called ACORN, for assistance. In retrospect, of
course, encouraging customers like this to buy homes seems little short
At the time, however, that
1995 Chicago newspaper article represented something of a triumph for
Barack Obama. That same year, as a director at Chicago’s Woods Fund,
Obama was successfully pushing for a major expansion of assistance to
ACORN, and sending still more money ACORN’s way from his post as board
chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Through both funding and
personal-leadership training, Obama supported ACORN. And ACORN, far more
than we’ve recognized up to now, had a major role in precipitating the
I’ve already told the story
of Obama’s close ties to ACORN leader Madeline Talbott, who personally
led Chicago ACORN’s campaign to intimidate banks into making high-risk
loans to low-credit customers. Using provisions of a 1977 law called the
Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Chicago ACORN was able to delay and
halt the efforts of banks to merge or expand until they had agreed to
lower their credit standards — and to fill ACORN’s coffers to finance
“counseling” operations like the one touted in that Sun-Times article.
This much we’ve known. Yet these local, CRA-based pressure-campaigns fit
into a broader, more disturbing, and still under-appreciated national
picture. Far more than we’ve recognized, ACORN’s local, CRA-enabled
pressure tactics served to entangle the financial system as a whole in
the subprime mess. ACORN was no side-show. On the contrary, using CRA
and ties to sympathetic congressional Democrats, ACORN succeeded in
drawing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the very policies that led to
the current disaster.
In one of the first
book-length scholarly studies of ACORN, Organizing Urban America,
Rutgers University political scientist Heidi Swarts describes this
group, so dear to Barack Obama, as “oppositional outlaws.” Swarts, a
strong supporter of ACORN, has no qualms about stating that its members
think of themselves as “militants unafraid to confront the powers that
be.” “This identity as a uniquely militant organization,” says Swarts,
“is reinforced by contentious action.” ACORN protesters will break into
private offices, show up at a banker’s home to intimidate his family, or
pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an
effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority
customers. According to Swarts, long-term ACORN organizers “tend to see
the organization as a solitary vanguard of principled leftists...the
only truly radical community organization.”
ACORN’s Inside Strategy
Yet ACORN’s entirely
deserved reputation for militance is balanced by its less-well-known
“inside strategy.” ACORN has long employed Washington-based lobbyists
who understand very well how the legislative game is played. ACORN’s
national lobbyists may encourage and benefit from the militant tactics
of their base, but in the halls of congress they play the game with
smooth sophistication. The untold story of ACORN’s central role in the
financial meltdown is about the one-two punch to the banking system
administered by this outside/inside strategy.
Critics of the notion that
CRA had a major impact on the subprime crisis ask how a law passed in
1977 could have caused a crisis in 2008? The answer has a lot to do with
ACORN — and the critical years of 1990-1995. While the 1977 Community
Reinvestment Act did call on banks to increase lending in poor and
minority neighborhoods, its exact requirements were vague, and therefore
open to a good deal of regulatory interpretation. Banks merger or
expansion plans were rarely held up under CRA until the late 1980s, when
ACORN perfected its technique of filing CRA complaints in tandem with
the sort of intimidation tactics perfected by that original “community
organizer” (and Obama idol), Saul Alinsky.
At first, ACORN’s anti-bank
actions were relatively few in number. However, under a provision of the
1989 savings and loan bailout pushed by liberal Democratic legislators,
like Massachusetts Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy, lenders were required
to compile public records of mortgage applicants by race, gender, and
income. Although the statistics produced by these studies were presented
in highly misleading ways, groups like ACORN were able to use them to
embarrass banks into lowering credit standards. At the same time, a wave
of banking mergers in the early 1990's provided an opening for ACORN to
use CRA to force lending changes. Any merger could be blocked under CRA,
and once ACORN began systematically filing protests over minority
lending, a formerly toothless set of regulations began to bite.
ACORN’s efforts to
undermine credit standards in the late 1980s taught it a valuable
lesson. However much pressure ACORN put on banks to lower credit
standards, tough requirements in the “secondary market” run by Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac served as a barrier to change. Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac buy up mortgages en masse, bundle them, and sell them to
investors on the world market. Back then, Fannie and Freddie refused to
buy loans that failed to meet high credit standards. If, for example, a
local bank buckled to ACORN pressure and agreed to offer poor or
minority applicants a 5-percent down-payment rate, instead of the normal
10-20 percent, Fannie and Freddie would refuse to buy up those
mortgages. That would leave all the risk of these shaky loans with the
local bank. So again and again, local banks would tell ACORN that,
because of standards imposed by Fannie and Freddie, they could lower
their credit standards by only a little.
So the eighties taught
ACORN that a high-pressure, Alinskyite outside strategy wouldn’t be
enough. Their Washington lobbyists would have to bring inside pressure
on the government to undercut credit standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac. Only then would local banks consider making loans available to
customers with bad credit histories, low wages, virtually nothing in the
bank, and even bankruptcies on record.
Democrats and ACORN
As early as 1987, ACORN
began pressuring Fannie and Freddie to review their standards, with
modest results. By 1989, ACORN had lured Fannie Mae into the first of
many “pilot projects” designed to help local banks lower credit
standards. But it was all small potatoes until the serious pressure
began in early 1991. At that point, Democratic Senator Allan Dixon
convened a Senate subcommittee hearing at which an ACORN representative
gave key testimony. It’s probably not a coincidence that Dixon, like
Obama, was an Illinois Democrat, since Chicago has long been a
stronghold of ACORN influence.
Dixon gave credibility to
ACORN’s accusations of loan bias, although these claims of racism were
disputed by Missouri Republican, Christopher Bond. ACORN’s spokesman
strenuously complained that his organization’s efforts to relax local
credit standards were being blocked by requirements set by the secondary
market. Dixon responded by pressing Fannie and Freddie to do more to
relax those standards — and by promising to introduce legislation that
would ensure it. At this early stage, Fannie and Freddie walked a fine
line between promising to do more, while protesting any wholesale
reduction of credit requirements.
By July of 1991, ACORN’s
legislative campaign began to bear fruit. As the Chicago Tribune put it,
“Housing activists have been pushing hard to improve housing for the
poor by extracting greater financial support from the country’s two
highly profitable secondary mortgage-market companies. Thanks to the
help of sympathetic lawmakers, it appeared...that they may succeed.” The
Tribune went on to explain that House Democrat Henry Gonzales had
announced that Fannie and Freddie had agreed to commit $3.5 billion to
low-income housing in 1992 and 1993, in addition to a just-announced $10
billion “affordable housing loan program” by Fannie Mae. The article
emphasizes ACORN pressure and notes that Fannie and Freddie had been
fighting against the plan as recently as a week before agreement was
reached. Fannie and Freddie gave in only to stave off even more
restrictive legislation floated by congressional Democrats.
A mere month later, ACORN
Housing Corporation president, George Butts made news by complaining to
a House Banking subcommittee that ACORN’s efforts to pressure banks
using CRA were still being hamstrung by Fannie and Freddie. Butts also
demanded still more data on the race, gender, and income of loan
applicants. Many news reports over the ensuing months point to ACORN as
the key source of pressure on congress for a further reduction of credit
standards at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result of this pressure,
ACORN was eventually permitted to redraft many of Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac’s loan guideline.
Clinton and ACORN
ACORN’s progress through
1992 depended on its Democratic allies. Whatever ACORN managed to
squeeze out of the George H. W. Bush administration came under
congressional pressure. With the advent of the Clinton administration,
however, ACORN’s fortunes took a positive turn. Clinton Housing
Secretary Henry Cisnersos pledged to meet monthly with ACORN
representatives. For ACORN, those meetings bore fruit.
Another factor working in
ACORN’s favor was that its increasing success with local banks turned
those banks into allies in the battle with Fannie and Freddie. Precisely
because ACORN’s local pressure tactics were working, banks themselves
now wanted Fannie and Freddie to loosen their standards still further,
so as to buy up still more of the high-risk loans they’d made at ACORN’s
insistence. So by the 1993, a grand alliance of ACORN, national
Democrats, and local bankers looking for someone to lessen the risks
imposed on them by CRA and ACORN were uniting to pressure Fannie and
Freddie to loosen credit standards still further.
At this point, both ACORN
and the Clinton administration were working together to impose large
numerical targets or “set asides” (really a sort of poor and minority
loan quota system) on Fannie and Freddie. ACORN called for at least half
of Fannie and Freddie loans to go to low-income customers. At first the
Clinton administration offered a set-aside of 30 percent. But eventually
ACORN got what it wanted. In early 1994, the Clinton administration
floated plans for committing $1 trillion in loans to low- and
moderate-income home-buyers, which would amount to about half of Fannie
Mae’s business by the end of the decade. Wall Street Analysts attributed
Fannie Mae’s willingness to go along with the change to the need to
protect itself against still more severe “congressional attack.” News
reports also highlighted praise for the change from ACORN’s head
lobbyist, Deepak Bhargava.
This sweeping debasement of
credit standards was touted by Fannie Mae’s chairman, chief executive
officer, and now prominent Obama adviser James A. Johnson. This is also
the period when Fannie Mae ramped up its pilot programs and local
partnerships with ACORN, all of which became precedents and models for
the pattern of risky subprime mortgages at the root of today’s crisis.
During these years, Obama’s Chicago ACORN ally, Madeline Talbott, was at
the forefront of participation in those pilot programs, and her
activities were consistently supported by Obama through both foundation
funding and personal leadership training for her top organizers.
Finally, in June of 1995,
President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Secretary Cisneros announced
the administration’s comprehensive new strategy for raising
home-ownership in America to an all-time high. Representatives from
ACORN were guests of honor at the ceremony. In his remarks, Clinton
emphasized that: “Out homeownership strategy will not cost the taxpayers
one extra cent. It will not require legislation.” Clinton meant that
informal partnerships between Fannie and Freddie and groups like ACORN
would make mortgages available to customers “who have historically been
excluded from homeownership.”
In the end of course,
Clinton’s plan cost taxpayers an almost unimaginable amount of money.
And it was just around the time of his 1995 announcement that the
Chicago papers started encouraging bad-credit customers with “dog-food”
wages, little money in the bank, and even histories of bankruptcy to
apply for home loans with the help of ACORN. At both the local and
national levels, then, ACORN served as the critical catalyst, levering
pressure created by the Community Reinvestment Act and pull with
Democratic politicians to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a
pattern of high-risk loans.
Up to now, conventional
wisdom on the financial meltdown has relegated ACORN and the CRA to bit
parts. The real problem, we’ve been told, lay with Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac. In fact, however, ACORN is at the base of the whole mess.
ACORN used CRA and Democratic sympathizers to entangle Fannie and
Freddie and the entire financial system in a disastrous disregard of the
most basic financial standards. And Barack Obama cut his teeth as an
organizer and politician backing up ACORN’s economic madness every step
of the way.
— Stanley Kurtz is a
senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Institute.
The Boston Globe
January 24, 2008
Homeowner gains a reprieve from eviction
Protest delays action against Hub woman following foreclosure
By Binyamin Appelbaum
A Dorchester woman facing
eviction following the foreclosure of her home won a reprieve yesterday
morning after dozens of activists gathered outside to impede a constable
from removing her and her possessions.
The woman, Melonie
Griffiths-Evans, had refused to pack, saying that the Lord was on her
A spokesman for the company
that ordered the eviction, Florida-based Ocwen Financial Corp., said it
does not comment on specific cases, but it tries to help borrowers avoid
foreclosure. When Ocwen does foreclose, it has a policy of evicting
residents to prepare the building for resale.
The community advocacy
group City Life/Vida Urbana, which has pledged to prevent
postforeclosure evictions, organized the protest. Two city councilors,
Chuck Turner and Sam Yoon, showed up to support Griffiths-Evans. Mayor
Thomas M. Menino's office said it also called the companies involved in
Griffiths-Evans's mortgage to request a delay in the eviction.
Shortly after 9 a.m., a
City Life organizer said the eviction had been postponed and the
protesters erupted in celebration. Some chanted, "We fight, we win."
Griffiths-Evans repeatedly thanked anyone she could find.
"The bankers need to know
we're going to do the same thing for everyone," she said.
City Life has pledged to
defend about 75 residents of other foreclosed buildings against
eviction, both former owners and tenants. This is the second time the
group has mobilized in response to a formal 48-hour notice of a pending
eviction. The other eviction also was postponed.
"We are urging mass
resistance to these evictions," said Steve Meachem, an organizer for the
group. "After all these mortgage scams, the banks have no right to
disrupt people's lives like this." The group wants mortgage companies to
act as landlords until the properties can be sold to nonprofits, which
could maintain the buildings as affordable housing.
Griffiths-Evans said she
struggled from the outset to pay the mortgages on her two-family home,
but fell behind last year after a series of financial problems,
including the loss of a tenant and her job.
$470,000 in 2004 for the two-family home on Semont Road. She made no
down payment, instead using two loans arranged by Zeus Funding LLC, a
mortgage brokerage based in Londonderry, N.H., but active in Dorchester.
Zeus has since been ordered by the attorney general's office to stop
making loans in Massachusetts.
Three years later, she
defaulted on the larger loan. The home was foreclosed in November by
U.S. Bancorp, which serves as trustee for the investment pool that holds
Griffiths-Evans's mortgage. Ocwen deals with borrowers on behalf of the
investment pool. A spokesman for Ocwen said the company had not agreed
to postpone the eviction, and he did not know why it was postponed.
The constable hired to
serve the eviction, whom the mayor's office identified as Russell
Castagna, did not return calls seeking comment.
Another advocacy group, the
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said it would
protest Ocwen's role in foreclosures and evictions today outside the
offices of Credit Suisse in downtown Boston. Credit Suisse, like U.S.
Bancorp, is the trustee for pools of loans serviced by Ocwen. An ACORN
representative said U.S. Bancorp had already agreed to meet with the
group to discuss Ocwen's conduct.