Tag Archives: foreclosure

Eviction Showdown – Worcester – Tomorrow (Thurs 5/4) – 9:30 am

The Worcester Housing Court has issued its tenth Execution to evict disabled foreclosure activist Marjorie Evans from her home at 158 Orient St. Worcester, tomorrow (Thurs 5/4) at 9:30 am, by Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) which claims to be the new owner.

According to Worcester resident and statewide anti-foreclosure organizer Grace Ross, this will be st least the tenth attempt this year to evict Ms. Evans.

In Ms. Ross’s words, “The Housing Court has decided to proceed with this eviction without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and issued an execution while Marjorie was under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).”

The Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team has called for a mass turnout of members and friends to stop the eviction by blocking the Constable and movers access to the property. A dramatic confrontation is very possible. A colorful protest and a good story with many opportunities to interview participants is guaranteed.

Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team

Below, full statement by Grace Ross and the WAFT leadership team:

We are writing requesting your urgent attention and assistance in the egregious eviction case of Marjorie Evans. Like, a huge number of folks, who’ve been illegally foreclosed on in Massachusetts, Marjorie Evans had a manageable disability prior to the damaging downward slide of her housing situation – starting with a declaration from Freddie Mac (who did admit to being the owner of the mortgage) that she was in default.

Freddie Mac declared her in default while she was still paying her mortgage, they stopped accepting her payments. That is where the nightmare began for her.
On Thursday May 4, 2017, at 9:30 am, Freddie Mac once again is scheduled to illegally evict Marjorie based on documents that Freddie Mac obtained from the Worcester Housing Court while she has a bankruptcy stay in place so that they would be able to go ahead and illegally evict her.

The stress from the years of fighting prior to the actual foreclosure of her home was bad enough. Since the illegal foreclosure of her home (known as “void”), Marjorie knew her rights enough to know that she could stay in her home. She knew that post the purported foreclosure would be her first chance in front of a Judge – where the foreclosing party would have to try to prove its foreclosure was valid, and their alleged right to possession of her home.
However, while Marjorie had gathered more evidence than most homeowners’ ever get their hands on in their case, and has proof, not only showing the declaration of the default while she was still paying, but numerous other legal violations – any one of which shows that the foreclosure was illegal.
Then, having made her first few conceptually straightforward legal motions in this case to defend her home, her health, her future, her financial base; she planned ahead and hired an attorney; she then lost her attorney almost immediately to a heart-attack. 

Having preemptively hired a lawyer knowing that she would not be able to handle these multifaceted interactions in the stress of the court, Marjorie found herself without an attorney less than a month away from the jury trial.
She was now confronted with the complexity of a legal trial by herself. Given the heavy stress of her fundamental right to her home being on the chopping block, her health began to deteriorate. Because of the behavior of the opposing counsel, and the Worcester Housing Court, the complex interaction of a trial situation is exactly the kind of situation in which Marjorie’s disability is profoundly aggravated and limits her handling.
She was then forced to request more time from the Worcester Housing Court and in doing so, she had to reveal her disability to the Judge. In strict compliance with Title II of the ADA Act, the legal history in the Massachusetts courts is: once you have informed to the Court that you have a disability that will limit your ability to participate in your case without a reasonable accommodation – it becomes the court’s job (burden) to sort out with you how the proceedings can continue to meet legal standards but also be adjusted to ensure your full participation.
This is especially central as a defendant defending one of your three constitutional inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property once it is under threat.
Instead, the Judge, once Marjorie informed the court, became the inquisitor; she forced Marjorie to endure more than 20 minutes in open court in front of opposing counsel on the public record to answer a series of invasive questions about: what was the medical condition, her educational history, her work history, her present physical limitations, her finances, and even about whether Marjorie filed taxes the year before. She did all this while making eye contact with opposing counsel when she would answer.
You can imagine what a gross and complete violation this was of Marjorie’s rights. In her belief that the court should be exposed for what it was doing, she allowed the questioning to wind itself down instead of, for instance, leaving against the court’s rules to protect her rights under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and her privacy. To leave would also to a certain extent protect her from the serious post-traumatic stress that not surprisingly has resulted.
That post-traumatic stress from the Judge’s unethical behavior as well as the general limitations that she would have in handling the court proceedings has rendered her unable to appear in court.
Backed by strong doctor’s orders that she must not participate, Marjorie has attempted (and very eloquently we might add) to defend her right to her home in writing and through numerous filings. With every single filing and every single opposition to a filing from the other side, she has included consistent requests for a reasonable accommodation that would allow her filings to be fully addressed by the court.  The court has denied each request.
As folks who have been backing Marjorie now for over a year, we are horrified by the destruction of this brilliant and amazing woman’s health under the grueling and incessant stress of not only the court case – but, the shocking disregard of the facts and the gist of every single filing that she has made in the Worcester Housing Court – and the absolute and complete disregard of any of her rights under Title II of the ADA Act.
The record is, in fact, rife with the explicit and repeated statements in writing by the Judge that she will be ruled against Marjorie simply for her inability to appear and verbally argue her case in front of the Judge.
This, of course, flies directly in the face of Marjorie’s personal report of her disability condition (certainly sufficient under Title II of the ADA), and the fact that she has provided two notes from physicians currently treating her and helping her manage her disability. Yet, the Court has never even approached the physicians if it had any doubt as to Marjorie’s report of her disability that she has struggled with since childhood.
We need your help now!  

Marjorie has managed to stave off 9 or 10 illegal eviction attempts. Evictions that are not only illegal because Freddie Mac does not own her home (given the illegality of the foreclosure), but evictions illegal in and of themselves; the Court has decided and issued Freddie Mac papers and authority to carry out evictions without Freddie Mac ever proving ownership and right to evict, and while Marjorie is under a “stay” on the proceeding by higher courts (the Appeals Court, Supreme Judicial Court, and the Bankruptcy Court).
The passionate and amazing commitment that Marjorie has shown refusing to have her rights to her home be taken away without her case ever being adjudicated – especially given the additional barriers of being self-represented, with a disability.  Her competence, incisive understanding and leadership are critical to our movement to end illegal foreclosures.
We believe her insistence that she has equal rights under our constitution to her home should be a model to everyone – as it is to us – regardless of one’s physical disabilities.  All of us should always insist and enforce our equal rights under the law, otherwise as you know, we won’t have them.
We cannot plead to you strongly enough for the need for your help and support in backing our courageous sister, Marjorie Evans in her fight for justice under the law.
Please consider the following:

• Share Marjorie’s story throughout your networks.

• Contact every elected official that you have a relationship within the state of Massachusetts. She is a constituent of the following elected officials. District Representative:

• For Freddie Mac, Melvin Watt, Director of FHFA  202-649-3001 or 202-649-3006  OfficeoftheDirector@FHFA.gov

• US Senate: Elizabeth Warren
(202) 224-4543  www.warren.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

• Congressional:                 James P McGovern phone:  508-831-7356

• State senate:               Harriet L. Chandler 617-722-1544

• State rep:                    Mary S. Keefe 617-722-2210

• Governor’s Council     Jennie L. Caissie 617-725-4015, ext. 7

• District Attorney                 Joseph D. Early (508) 755-8601
Further, we request your presence (and anybody you know) to help blockade this illegal eviction. If Freddie Mac continues to go forward with it and the courts are not willing to enforce the stays that they themselves have imposed on the Worcester Housing Court actions.

–     Please be at Marjorie’s home by 9:00 am this Thursday, May 4th, at 
     158 Orient Street, Worcester.

–     Honor the leadership and discipline chosen by WAFT’s leadership

–     We are calling on everyone to create a large enough nonviolent presence
     the constable will be afraid to go ahead with this illegal eviction.
Further, the Supreme Judicial Court, (“SJC”) of Massachusetts is aware of this situation and has been called on to act. While it is not their normal procedure to act this quickly, under the circumstances where a court has been allowed to engage in this kind of absolute egregious disregard of the rights of a homeowner – a woman of color, with a disability – without legal representation beyond her quite amazing brilliance on these issues, please call on the SJC to act now!
Please show a solid presence with us as we back and if necessary, some of us, put our bodies in the way to protect Marjorie Evans rights to her home, against Freddie Mac who does “not” have any legal rights to her property.  


Grace & All the WAFT Team!

Open letter to Governor Deval Patrick

July 30, 2012

Governor Deval Patrick
Massachusetts State House
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick,

On behalf of thousands of Massachusetts families whose lives are impacted by foreclosure – and all Bay State residents and consumers harmed by the ongoing economic damage of this mortgage crisis – we ask that you take action to eliminate harmful measures included in the pending foreclosure abatement legislation, House Bill 4323.

As an attorney who cut his teeth advocating on behalf of homeowners in the last, comparatively small, foreclosure crisis, you know firsthand the life-wrecking stress experienced by families facing foreclosure and eviction. And as an elected leader, you have dealt directly with the devastating impact the mortgage crisis has had on communities throughout the Commonwealth.

With this experience in mind, we ask that you not sign this legislation as-is, but that you step in to amend and address damaging provisions included within. Among the actions necessary to restore the integrity of this bill:

Remove language that will otherwise extinguish Massachusetts homeowners’ rights to sue to get their homes back in the case of certain illegal foreclosures.

Correct the arduous and unworkable negotiation process proposed for subprime loan modifications – a process that has consistently failed lenders and borrowers across the country for years.

Ensure Bay State families are able to remain in their homes by renting post-foreclosure properties now.

Addressing language that harms victims of illegal or fraudulent foreclosure is of the utmost importance. First, a new section, inserted at the last minute without notice, transforms this legislation into an anti-homeowner bill and overturns a recent Supreme Judicial Court decision that affirmed a legal protection that has existed for over a century. This new language irrevocably extinguishes the right of all homeowners to sue to get their homes back in cases where lenders have sold properties to third parties – despite not having the legally required promissory note. In Brockton, Springfield, Worcester, and many other communities hardest-hit by the foreclosure crisis, on-the-ground experience shows real estate investors are the overwhelming majority of third party purchasers – not everyday citizens looking for a place to live and raise a family. Few potential homeowners qualify to meet today’s tight lending rules and banks consistently prefer the cash offers of investor-developers. Should this language remain intact, thousands of present homeowners’ rights will be extinguished the day of the auction if a third party purchase occurs at foreclosure.

Second, to the credit of its authors, this legislation would require lenders holding legally unfair, predatory loans to test if they lose more money foreclosing on a homeowner than by offering that family a truly affordable modification. Unfortunately, this protection was coupled with an unworkable process to negotiate and receive that loan modification – one that is by mail only, includes unrealistic deadlines, and offers no concrete notification to the borrower of their opportunities or potential loss ofprotections in this process.

For example, a bank conducts a now-mandated cost analysis; it shows they lose more money by foreclosing than renegotiating loan terms, and the lender must contact the homeowner about a loan modification. The homeowner, however, has only 30 days to prepare all necessary application documents and have them accepted by the bank. Lenders rarely accept an application as complete on the first try; families nationwide submit documents an average of six times to be deemed complete. In short, these processes and deadlines will block most homeowners from accessing the very protections this bill attempts to create.

Third, this bill also creates a task force to draft a measure to grant homeowners the right to rent their homes post-foreclosure during the bank’s ownership, but requires no real action from that committee until 2013. Permitting homeowners to pay fair market rent will dramatically reduce the rising number of empty, foreclosed properties that drive down property values in communities across the Commonwealth – and shrink the number of homeless families as well. You first spoke in support of this law in spring 2007, at the beginning of the crisis, and each year since, some 8,000 more homeowner households have been needlessly evicted. The task force needs to complete its work by the end of 2012, not 2013.

Even the positive changes in the bill will offer protection to an ever-dwindling number of Massachusetts families. The new loss analysis, for instance, covers only subprime loans. Federal Reserve figures show less than 30% of the Commonwealth’s foreclosures were of subprime loans in 2009, and that number has been dropping since. At best, an estimated 500 families would benefit from the new protection each year, compared to thousands who will loose a key right to regain their home due to the last-minute language additions mentioned above.

Governor Patrick, we ask that you prioritize immediate action to save the key right of all Massachusetts homeowners, going forward, to regain their homes. In addition, we hope that you will correct the loan modification process to work for those facing foreclosure due to unfair, subprime loans – and that you call for an end-of-year deadline for writing right-to-rent legislation that will help keep Bay State families in their homes.


Nadine Cohen
Consumer Rights Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services

Lee Goldstein,
Chair of Massachusetts Foreclosure Task Force, National Lawyers Guild

Eloise Lawrence
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Grace Ross
Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending