Tag Archives: lawsuit

Mass Voters Sue for Time to Preserve the Rights of 77,344 Foreclosed Homeowners

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From Grace Ross and the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending:

Today, at the 10 a.m. Press Conference, Massachusetts voters who had attempted to put the law to minimize homeowners’ ability to reverse an illegal foreclosure on the ballot for this past November announced their filing of a suit in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

The lawsuit alleges that the first group of homeowners whose rights this law attempts to curtail – those illegal foreclosed between 1997 and 2013 – should have up to the constitutional deadline to preserve their rights to reverse an illegal foreclosure.

“I am a leader in the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, a nearly all volunteer organization. Today, we are standing up to the powerful interests both in the Title industry and sadly, some of those in our elected government that don’t give a damn about the rights of the foreclosed – a full three quarters of whom were almost certainly victims of illegal foreclosures,” Zakiya Alake, Plaintiff and member of the MAAPL Steering Committee, “We will fight to stop this law, Chapter 141, from robbing them of their historic rights to fight back against illegal foreclosure. With the help of the National Lawyer’s Guild, we are standing up for the 77,344 home owners because we are the People’s Advocate.”

The Massachusetts Constitution requires that laws have an implementation deadline of 90 days after being signed. The law minimizing homeowners’ rights had a deadline that the Massachusetts Attorney General allowed to go forward of only 36 days. This is critically important because the one year time period for those who were the victims of roughly 77,344 foreclosures prior to 2014 need the time to record documentation at the Registry of Deeds or file in court to preserve their rights.

Press conference location was Shapiro, Weissberg, and Garin, 90 Canal St., 5th Fl. Afterward, Plaintiffs represented by Attorney Jeffrey Feuer of the National Lawyers Guild, will deliver the suit to the Supreme Judicial Court.

“The lawsuit today seeks the Constitutional deadline for previously foreclosed homeowners foreclosed before 2013 to have until February 23, 2017 to record their filings at the registry of deeds. We are deeply concerned about this “supposed” law for many reasons; however, today, we have focused down on the critical shortened deadline for homeowners whose rights are being taken away without any notification,” explained Grace Ross, voter-Plaintiff and Coordinator of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending.

“The law that this lawsuit challenges is historically unique in changing the traditional 20 year rights to reverse an illegal foreclosure. These rights have been around for literally hundreds of years,” explained Sarah Mckee, a Plaintiff and former white collar crime prosecutor for Interpol. “These rights are summarily attempted to be cut off by an initiative of the Title Insurance industry.

“The roughly 77,344 foreclosures under this severely foreshortened and unannounced deadline to record documentation at the Registries of Deeds or bring suit amounts to over 25 billion dollars (this is a low estimate) in household wealth that could be barred forever from reclamation.”

The suit was filed by the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending and 14 -Voter Petitioners who attempted to have this legislation put before the voters of Massachusetts last November, 2016. When the Secretary of the Commonwealth received this petition, he sent over an almost immediate query to the Attorney General seeking her opinion on whether it was constitutional for this petition to be put before the voters or not.
This law is explicitly named and focused on the rights of homeowners to the legal title of their property.

The Attorney General refused to put it on the ballot based upon a minor part of the bill, involving codifying some Supreme Judicial Court decisions that clarified these powers already existed in the jurisdiction of the Housing Court; this minor section had been added literally after both sides of the legislature had voted on the legislation, debated it at length and handled numerous amendment votes and when the bill was conferenced and sent back as a final vote without any discussion.

The AG argued that this changed powers the courts, even though that section was plainly peripheral to the main purpose of the bill, which was dealing with the hundreds years old rights of former homeowners to challenge illegal foreclosures.

“As far as I’m concerned we homeowners met with Maura Healey when she was running for office. She promised she would be on the side of the homeowners in our fight with the banks. She has blocked our moves and refused us funding from her settlements. Now is her chance to step aside from defending the industry’s law against the Constitutionally protected homeowners of the Commonwealth,” said Mildred Collins, Plaintiff and a homeowner whose rights may have been taken away by this law.

Worcester cop slapped with civil rights lawsuit

BOSTON — A civil rights lawsuit has been filed by a Chicago resident against Worcester Police Officer Jeremy Smith, alleging the use of excessive force during a routine motor vehicle stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has announced that Wakeelah Cocroft, of Chicago, Illinois, has filed the case in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The complaint alleges that Ms. Cocroft was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her sister, Clytheia Mwangi, of Worcester, on December 29, 2007. The two women were pulled over at a gas station on Park Avenue at 7am by Officer Smith. According to Ms. Cocroft, the officer aggressively approached the vehicle they were in and began screaming at Ms. Mwangi for speeding.

While the officer wrote the ticket, Ms. Cocroft, who was a passenger in the car, went into the station to purchase gas and then returned to use the pump. The police officer began yelling at her and ordered her to return to the car. As she went to the car, she told the officer that he had no right to speak to her in that manner and that she knew her rights.

Officer Smith grabbed her from behind, and threw her on the ground, slamming her face against the concrete, according to the complaint.

She alleges that he then kneeled on her back until a second officer arrived in response to a 911 call by Ms. Mwangi.

The complaint alleges that the use of force caused bodily injury to Ms. Cocroft’s face and shoulder.

The civil rights claim alleges that the use of force was excessive and unnecessary and that there was no probable cause to arrest Ms. Cocroft for charges of Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Arrest. In addition, the complaint alleges that Officer Smith arrested Ms. Cocroft in retaliation for speaking up about his conduct.

“Harley” Chandler, you’re a classy lady! Please do the right thing …

By Rosalie Tirella

… and let it go, Harley! Let it go!

We love State Senator Harriette Chandler. She is as progressive and decent as they come, but her lawsuit against former political opponent William J. Higgins Sr. is silly – especially during the holidays when the money she and Higgins will squander suing the hell out of each other could be better spent on things like turkey and all the fixings for the folks at the local homeless shelter. Or mittens and hats for inner-city kids whose parents don’t own cars and have to walk Worcester’s mean streets when its 14 degress out! (Years ago I was one of those kids!)

When you think how blessed Senator Harriette Chandler has been – attending the best colleges, getting the best jobs, having a husband who loves her, living in warm lovely home in a safe and beautiful neighborhood – and I drive down streets like Charlton and see: thugs putting baseball bats in trunks of cars, thugs going to car windows and slipping thier hands in to exchange white packets for (your guess) or a 30ish-year-old women just standing in the middle of the sidewalk so drugged out, yu think she’s going to fall right over … . I mean, this is what I saw just last month outside the PIP!

My life and my travels make me wanna take Higgins (who is comfortably middle class in Northboro) and Chandler and knock their heads together! Knock some sense into both of these … very vain people.

Chandler should know this by now: Everyone gets slimed in today’s sleazoid all-American culture. It really is the age of soft porn in America! Whether it’s the way we dress, the movies we see, the video games we play, the talk radio station we listen to, the cable TV news show we watch, the reality shows to which everyone is addicted, we Americans are drowning in a cesspool of vitriol. It is called FREE SPEECH! And believe me there are so many examples of soaring rhetoric and lovely, elliptical phrases … . Unfortunately, they are stuck in most Americans’ college Intro to Poetry text books. It really sucks, Harley! I oughta know, having swum in the cesspool of the Telegram and Gazette’s Dianne Williamson columns or, like I said, tuning into Fox News. Or: having had to strike back, when all I really wanna do is … go on long walks in the park with my little Husky-mix, Jett!

But if we curtail the rantings of an old fart like William Higgins (whose free speech is not half as toxic as Glenn Beck when he out and out LIES about President Obama or the tea party nuts when they mangle the US Constitution and call our President Hitler and say truly horrible things about Democrats and unions) then you and I won’t be able to freely express ourselves.

Besides, I saw a TV clip of Higgins yesterday: He was wearing oxygen tubes when he was debating you! He was connected to an oxygen tank! He is ancient and very very very fraile – maybe in the early stages of dementia!

Harley, drop your silly lawsuit and get down on your knees and thank God that you are one of the few truly, truly lucky people. Don’t turn my Christmas – or the City of Worcester’s holiday season – into a muck-fest!

This past year you worked with ex-cons and their supporters to pass the CORI reform law. This was great news to people, who may have committed a crime years ago, and can’t get a freakin’ minimum wage job collecting shopping carts at the local Price Chopper! I have known a few poor souls like this!

Please, Harley and William, come together. William, apologize to Harriette and admit that what you said were fabrications made up in the heat of the political moment. Lots of political candidates say crappy things about their opponents election season.

And, Harley, even if William doesn’t say he’s sorry, drop the lawsuit and move on.

Go buy a bunch of hats and mittens and drop them off at the Friendly House, and be swept up in the spirit of giving.

Happy Holi-(Holy)days!