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Evicted Resident Returns to 'Reoccupy' Riverside Home


Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Issue 49, Volume 15.
Paul Young
Special to the Valley News


RIVERSIDE - About 50 people descended on a Riverside home today to move an evicted resident back into a property that he lost to foreclosure, which he blamed on a bank's refusal to negotiate with him on a modified mortgage.

"I don't know if this is gonna work," said Art de los Santos, a 46- year-old metal worker and former U.S. Marine who was kicked out of the single- story house in July.

"If I get arrested, it's still worth it. I'm trying to get their (the bank's) attention," he told City News Service.

He and other supporters of a "National Reoccupy Homes Day" event forced their way into the vacant three-bedroom, three-bath residence at 3270 Layton Court, in the city's La Sierra neighborhood, at 3:50 p.m., carrying in furniture, including a cabinet, chairs and flat-screen television.

"Our goal is for the bank to work with this family on a meaningful (loan) modification," Peggy Mears with the advocacy group Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment told CNS. "We will stay here until that happens or until the police tear down the door."

Mears said 30 similar reclamations were undertaken nationwide today -- in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The effort is part of a new national campaign called "Occupy Our Homes," a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Sponsors of the effort include ReFund California, The New Bottom Line, ACCE, Take Back the Land, SOUL, the Service Employees International Union and New York Communities for Change.

"I support him. He's standing up for his rights. Good for him," said Lida Cingmars, whose house abuts the former de los Santos property.

"The greed of investors caused this to happen," Cingmars told CNS. "The bank should have considered his situation. Look at what's happening to people."

Cingmars' property is also in default and on the verge of repossession. She said she may be forced to leave with her family in a month.

De los Santos purchased the house in 2003 but fell behind on his mortgage payments in 2009, after business plummeted at the Santa Ana factory in which he's employed as a supervisor.

He applied for a loan modification to pare down his monthly principal and interest costs, but he alleges representatives of Chase bank refused to accept the proposed terms and initiated foreclosure proceedings, forcing him and his family to vacate the home in July. The house has remained vacant since.

"He knew what was going on and had an attorney, trying to get this resolved and have the foreclosure rescinded," said Francisco Perpely with Alpha One Group, a Riverside brokerage firm that took possession of the property on behalf of Freddy Mac, which underwrote Chase's loan to de los Santos.

"The bank was more than helpful with him, trying to offer relocation assistance," Perpely told CNS. "It ended up going to court, and a judge issued a writ (evicting de los Santos from the property)."

According to the broker, the house is now in legal "limbo" because de los Santos has filed for bankruptcy, listing the property among his assets.

De los Santos chose not to bring his wife of 11 years, Magdalena, and their four children -- the eldest is 11 years old -- back to the Riverside house for the reoccupation. They will remain at an Orange County apartment the family rented following their eviction.

De los Santos said he became aware of the reoccupy movement after finding information during an Internet search.

"I'm willing to back him up," said Joseph McCoy, with Occupy L.A. "This is happening all over the country. People are tired of getting pushed around."

McCoy was among the roughly four dozen people bused in for the reoccupation demonstration. Some planned to remain, camped out on the front lawn.

"The most important thing is getting people to think," he said.

Asked whether de los Santos' claim to the property is valid even if he cannot repay his mortgage, McCoy shrugged and said, "Each homeowner has to decide if what's going on is Advertisement
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right."

The demonstrators, including an 86-year-old woman with 32 grandchildren, circled the house, chanting, "Banks got bailed out; we got sold out!"

They hung signs on the street-facing sides of the property. One stated: "JP Morgan Chase and Freddie Mac Aren't Taking Our Home." Another read, "Hold Banks Accountable."

According to Mears, this is just the beginning of the reoccupation campaign.


50 people descend on home to "reclaim" it

RIVERSIDE - About 50 people descended on a Riverside home today to move an evicted homeowner back into his previous residence, which was foreclosed upon when he fell behind on his mortgage.

"I don't know if this is gonna work," said Art de los Santos, a 46- year-old metal worker who was kicked out of his house in July and moved into an apartment in Orange County. "If I get arrested it's still worth it."

"I'm trying to get their (the bank's) attention," he said.

He and other supporters of a "National Reoccupy Homes Day" event forced their way into de los Santos' former home and carried in furniture such as a cabinet, chair and flat-screen television.

The effort is part of a new national campaign called "Occupy Our Homes," a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Sponsors of the campaign include Occupy Wall Street, ReFund California, The New Bottom Line, the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, Take Back the Land, SOUL and New York Communities for Change.

According to organizers, Art purchased the property in 2003 but fell behind on his mortgage payments in 2009 after business at the Orange County factory in which he's employed as a supervisor plummeted.

He applied for a loan modification to pare down his monthly principal and interest costs, but supporters allege Chase bank refused to accept the proposed terms and initiated foreclosure proceedings, resulting in the man and his family vacating the home. The house remained vacant.

After forcing their way back into the single-story, three-bedroom, three- bathroom home, activists displayed large signs on the building, one saying, "JP Morgan Chase and Freddie Mac aren't taking our home." Another read, "Reclaiming our home."


Riverside couple to announce plans to "reclaim" their former home

RIVERSIDE - A Riverside man and his family are expected today to announce plans to "reclaim" their former home, which was repossessed by a bank when the resident went delinquent on his mortgage. The man, identified only as "Art," lost his house six months ago in a foreclosure and now intends to engage in a protest that may involve camping out on the property, according to supporters. The effort is part of a new national campaign called "Occupy Our Homes," a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street movement. A news briefing on the plan is scheduled for 3 p.m. outside the Ralph's supermarket at 3350 La Sierra Ave. in Riverside. Around 50 people are slated to be on hand. Sponsors of the campaign include Occupy Wall Street, ReFund California, The New Bottom Line, the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, Take Back the Land, SOUL and New York Communities for Change. A spokesman for the coalition said that Art, his wife and four children will describe how they became dispossessed and the "home defense" strategy they now want to employ. Details were vague. According to organizers, Art purchased the property in 2003 but fell behind on his mortgage payments in 2009 after business at the Orange County factory in which he's employed as a supervisor plummeted. He applied for a loan modification to pare down his monthly principal and interest costs, but supporters allege Chase bank refused to accept the proposed terms and initiated foreclosure proceedings, resulting in the man and his family vacating the home and relocating to Orange County. The house remains vacant. A similar Occupy Our Homes demonstration is planned in South Gate today, where a cancer survivor and her family will discuss the foreclosure of a property in her family since 1975.


 

17 comments

Comment Profile Imagebrian
Comment #1 | Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm
This sounds like something we will be doing in a month or so, when chase takes OUR home away, too. Almost the same story. They "lost" the applications we filed several times, and each time we reapplied. After a year and a half worth of promises and "trial payments" for loan modifications, they said we were approved but the payment was $2000 more a month than the trial payment, and $1000 more than what or original loan payment was. How is that a loan mod? Plus, during that time, our credit was affected because each month they were asking us to do trial payments, they were reporting it to the credit bureaus as late payments (because we weren't paying the full amount, but rather the trial amount), so now our credit is messed up. Not to mention I took loans out on my 401k to help get things current for awhile, and now all of that is gone and we're still losing our home. All we asked is to have a lower monthly payment so we could stay in our home of 10 years. We were even willing to pay the original loan amount, which is TWICE what the market value of the house is worth right now. We just wanted to stay there, but Chase gave us ZERO help.
Comment Profile Imagekelly
Comment #2 | Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm
Chase and BofA need to be penalized for not working with people who are able. We were able to pay over market value for our monthly payment. They gave us a trial payment reducing our payment, then they came back with a payment $2k higher than our trial and $1k over our origiinal payment we were trying to reduce. They won't look at any other loan options they just want to take the house.

My question is, what is the government doing to supplement the difference -- this is what is making them eager to foreclose. If they were truly taking a loss each time they foreclosed they would be working with people. They have people that can make a payment and they won't do anything for them. In these instances, they should be penalized each time they foreclose.
Comment Profile ImageMike
Comment #3 | Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm
B of A worked with my wife and I as we divorced. We did a short sale, because we knew neither one could afford it on our own. It's not the banks fault that the home value went down with the market. We tried all we could not to foreclose. And were able to sell.This housing situation is very sad right now. But, Camping out in front of your old house and making a scene that your old neighbors will not appreciate is ludicrous!! This whole "Occupy" movement is pathetic!!! And ultimately won't accomplish ANYTHING!! I put a lot of money and blood sweat and tears into my house in Murrieta. But that's not B of A's problem??
Comment Profile Imageobserver
Comment #4 | Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm
Dont do business with CHASE. I absolutely REFUSE to do any business with them.
Comment Profile ImageCon
Comment #5 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 12:56 am
I have not supported "Occupy a Space" but I have all along suggested they "Occupy a Forclosed Home", we lost our home and very very mentally devastating and for my children for which I grew up in this home and my children as well and as of today they evicted my parents and then my family without even waiting out the full agreed date because I cut electricity and the bank said "no one is there" so leave.....NOW, the tables need to turn for these banks and their greed and former homeowners and tenants need to take these properties back and ours still vacant and we are suffering with making payments on a rent that houses two families but my parents on Social security, me a single mom trying to be head of household to all and to support my children on my own as well!!! Let's take those houses back and I am sure that will really be considered a "CAUSE"......
Comment Profile Imageaccountable
Comment #6 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 7:20 am
Did someone hold a gun to your head to buy that home at that price? You were forced to sign the agreement to repay the money YOU borrowed? YOU ARE THE CRIMINALS HERE. YOU ARE TRYING TO STEAL SOMEONE'S PROPERTY. CHASE IS OWNED BY STOCKHOLDERS, PEOPLE LIKE ME. You are trying to take my property. You did not pay as YOU agreed to do. "No matter what anyone has told you, nobody owes you anything."
Comment Profile ImageWilby
Comment #7 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 7:21 am
These are all very sad stories. I believe what all these banks and credit card companies are doing should be criminal. If we had any politicians that were worth anything they would pursue criminal charges against these organizations.
Comment Profile ImageGary Stein
Comment #8 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 8:14 am
I feel you guy's pain, with this economy, people are losing they’re jobs right and left. But people forget that the banks do not work for you! They are business, out to make a profit. Does that mean they should have no heart… no! Yes they should try and work with as many people as they can, but penalizing a bank for not work with you is ridiculous!! If you didn’t have enough money to pay for all the groceries in your cart at the store should we penalize the store… no… You buy less groceries!
Comment Profile ImageGary Stein
Comment #9 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:20 am
Yes Wilby... because collecting money owed to you is a crime. Really? No one forced you to get that house or that credit card. Wilby you sound like another Liberal, who thinks America owes them something... like private owned business owe you something... In America you are entitled to nothing, except for opportunity!
Comment Profile ImageGary Stein
Comment #10 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:22 am
Just as the car I financed is not MINE until its paid off, the home is not THEIRS until it's paid off. I would like to see how "Occupy My Repossessed Car" would go...oh, wait, that's auto theft just as this is "home" theft. You all may not agree, but that is the risk we take when FINANCING anything. You basically are renting to own. Nothing is truly YOURS until you have the title/deed in your hand.
Comment Profile Imagereader
Comment #11 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:45 am
Yes, these are all very sad stories but here is the bottom line: you signed a contract with the bank when you signed your mortgage. If you cannot meet the terms of your agreement, then the bank has the right, by law, to terminate and take back THEIR property. Remember YOU are paying them money because THEY bought the house, so ultimately it is their property and unfortunately not yours until you pay off the mortgage. Yes, owning a home is part of the American Dream, but is not a right. Americans need to learn how to spend the money that they have, and not spend over their means. Yes, the banks are being cruel, but some people just got in over their heads when they first purchased their homes. Remember the most important thing in this, your family and children. If you have them, then everything else is just a material possession.
Comment Profile ImageRichard Johnson
Comment #12 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 9:46 am
While these stories are sad, I don't understand why it is the *bank's* fault the homeowners couldn't make their payments in the first place. When we buy something on credit - anything - house, car, computer, jewelry.. it can be subject to repossession if we don't make the payments. Why are the rules suddenly so onerous that we need to break the law? And where does this stop? Will we next occupy our cars so they can't be repossessed? And is anyone considering what this will do to financing purchases in the future? If we change the rules to say that banks can't require you to make payments as agreed, and can't take back the collateral, they aren't going to write the loans in the first place. Very few people will be able to buy new cars and even less will buy houses. Do you know what that will do to our economy?
Comment Profile ImageKevin
Comment #13 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 10:40 am
The housing mess has many guilty parties. Including homeowners for being greedy in some cases. But the banks gambled with all of our money, and got bailed out. If homeowners would've gotten a 7 trillion dollar bailout, we would all be in better shape, but instead the rich got richer.

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/11/the_7_trillion_secret_loan_program_the_government_and_big_banks_should_be_punished_for_deceiving_the_public_about_their_hush_hush_bailout_scheme_.html
Comment Profile ImageMike
Comment #14 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 11:49 am
" I support him. He's standing up for his rights. Good for him"- said Lida Cingmars. Well, there ya have it!! I guess she has it all figured out. Yep!! De Los Santos "RIGHTS" have been violated? My God....What kind of Kool-Aid are they servin up at this shindig?? Lime Green Entitlement-Aid??
Comment Profile Imagealbert
Comment #15 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm
after the banks get many millions of dollars from the government, money that tax payers (us) are gonna pay back, after the robbery and corruption, bank are not helping people to keep the houses we american people support this country for so many years paying higher taxes but now we pay taxes for everything simple, for gas 45 cents tax per gallon ,with so many taxes we pay for everything the message is that no matter what you pay for everything we never are gonna be the owners of our own houses,but the people movement is getting bigger around the country,what are we expecting nobody knows but be prepared that's people saying.
Comment Profile ImageFallbrook Resident
Comment #16 | Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm
Why do people always leave out facts in their sad stories? Were you completey truthful in your loan application about your income and debts? Did you take an equity loan when the housing market was still thriving? Did you sell a house prior to the one you just lost but did not put any of the profit as downpayment? If you answered Yes to any of this question, then you have no one else to blame but yourself. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Comment Profile ImageAlvin
Comment #17 | Saturday, Dec 10, 2011 at 9:11 am
Kevin and Albert, the banks paid back their "bailout", with interest. Homeowners who do the same with their mortgages won't have any problems.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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