Letter: OSC Committee on Foreclosures to County Board of Supervisors

November 28, 2011 admin Working Group NotesComments Off

County Board of Supervisors

Occupy Santa Cruz is requesting your immediate attention to the issue of Foreclosures. Politicians, lawyers, district attorneys, judges, and regulators stated taking action years ago in other states against the banks and their co-conspirators in the massive fraud called Foreclosuregate. In this County, from November 2010 to October 2011, 1,594 homes were auctioned on the County Courthouse steps.

Why should the Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney, and the Sheriff be interested in foreclosures in Santa Cruz County?

  1. It has been discovered by many judges in states that are judicial states (requires a hearing to file a foreclosure and eviction) that banks no longer hold the notes which are required in order to legally foreclose. In other words, there is doubt over the chain of title which prevents the bank from having the right to take ownership of the home.
  2. In California, a non-judicial state, in order for the bank to foreclose and evict they do not have to go to Court. The financially strapped and stressed out homeowner, unable to afford a lawyer, does not have the benefit of a hearing, and is unable to present their case to a judge. Consequently homeowners automatically lose the rights to their property regardless of how clouded the title is. They are foreclosed upon and evicted from their homes.
  3. There exists massive evidence of fraud, now in case law in other states. There is evidence of properties being taken by the banks using many tricks such as backdating documents and out and out forgery; these tricks are to cover up illegal title transfers.
  4. California is way behind the curve in reacting to this fraud because we don’t have the Court decision as an option. However, the California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has established a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, created to protect innocent homeowners and bring to justice those who defraud them.
  5. The pressure is on in California as there is a now a surge in foreclosures. Significantly more properties entered the foreclosure market in August as banks stepped up activity in states where a court order is not needed to take back a home.
  6. In addition to the foreclosures, the county has lost hundreds of thousands if not millions in recording fees due to the banks bypassing counties through the fraudulent MERS (Mortgage Electronic Reporting System) set up to rip off the counties on recording fees. Other county recorders are now suing the banks for their lost revenue. Why are we not pursuing the banks for not recording here as required by law? We demand action from our elected representatives to stop this collusion with the banks.

Examples of actions taken in other states:

  1. Pennsylvania:  Cheri Honkala, a candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia, ran on a platform of “No Foreclosures, No Evictions”.
  2. Ohio:  Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur advocates a strategy known as “produce the note”. She’s been one of the leading homeless advocates in Congress, going so far as to tell people to squat in their own homes and demand that the bank produce the home’s title before evicting them.
  3. November 16th: The Nevada Attorney General announces indictment in massive Clark County Robo-signing scheme, defendants to be held criminally accountable for filing tens of thousands of fraudulent foreclosure documents.
  4. Wisconsin’s Representative Tammy Baldwin proposes a resolution opposing the deal to give Wall Street banks criminal and civil immunity for their wrongdoing. She asks that the Federal Government and State Attorneys General proceed with full investigations into claims of fraudulent behavior by the banks.
  5. At Occupy Minneapolis, a loose-knit coalition of activists known as “Occupy Homes” is working to stave off pending evictions by occupying homes at risk of foreclosure when tenants enlist its support. The movement has recently enjoyed a number of successes and Occupy movements in other states are following suit.

Request:

The state is not doing anywhere near enough (too politically cautious? Too overworked? Too bought off?) to help the people. We are asking that the County Board of Supervisors take action to protect its citizens from the fraud committed by these Banks. The benefit of the doubt must be transferred to the people. We strongly urge you to take actions to protect the citizens that elected you
.

Specific Actions:

a.    A moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.

b.   Form a task force to study and report back prior to lifting the moratorium. That committee  should include: Occupy Santa Cruz, another activist group like Freedom Forum, the DA’s office, a representative from the District Court, someone from the Bar Association and the real estate industry and the Sheriff.

c.    Pressure the Attorney General to reject bank foreclosure settlement. Stand in solidarity with union leaders, activist, and other politicians that are urging Kamala Harris to reject any deal that lacks significant principal reduction for distressed homeowners and inform her of your decision to impose a moratorium.

Thank you,
Occupy Santa Cruz
Committee on Foreclosures