August 1st, 2014
Contact: Carlos Marroquin (323) 592-4663
OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN REGARDING THE $410 MILLION DUE TO STRUGGLING HOMEOWNERS FROM THE NATIONAL MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT
Homeowners pressure Governor Brown to return the $410 Million he took from the National Mortgage Settlement --$18 billion-- in an attempt to balance the state budget
WHO: Homeowners, Occupy Fights Foreclosures
WHAT: Open Letter to Governor Brown released during a Occupy Fights Foreclosure rally and march in Sacramento CA at a Occupy National Gathering 2014
WHY: $410 Million due to California Struggling Homeowners
WHEN: August 1, 2014
Sacramento, CA — At the opening rally, Occupy Fights Foreclosures issued a open letter and hand delivered the letter to Governor Brown requesting that he give back the money he borrowed from the National Mortgage Settlement—$18 billion—to "balance" the state budget. This settlement money was expressly intended to compensate homeowners defrauded of their homes, and to help homeowners working desperately to save their homes. Instead, this money was used to balance a budget shortfall due to the economic collapse caused by the very banks involved in the settlement!
OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR BROWN
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Brown,
We, the people of California, implore you to take action on behalf of the homeowners who continue to be harmed by the foreclosure crisis initiated by our most powerful financial institutions. We have been working intimately with the members of our communities harmed by this crisis, observing the injustice and damage caused on a broad spectrum and the lack of response from both state and federal leadership.
This issue is of paramount importance: How can we discuss state and municipal budgets without seriously considering the collapse of our largest industry—real estate—and the ripple effect throughout the economy?
California’s “balanced budget” has been achieved by diverting funds from the National Mortgage Settlement (intended for homeowners victimized by mortgage servicing misconduct) into the state’s General Fund. We respectfully request that you return $410 million California received[i] from this $2.5 billion national settlement to the borrowers who have and continue to lose their homes.
The poorest families have suffered the biggest loss of wealth from the drop in real estate prices. For many middle-class Americans, housing is more than half their net worth, so every step downward is felt acutely. Foreclosures render families and children homeless. California remains home to the largest homeless population in the country[ii]. We have 22% of the national homeless population, and of that, 66% have no shelter. This number will continue to grow if we do not halt the mortgage fraud rampant throughout our state.
In 2012, California formulated a response in the form of the Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), yet did not allow implementation until January 2013, leaving thousands of families victims to fraudulent foreclosures. Many lenders are not following the guidelines of HBOR, rendering it ineffectual. As lenders and loan servicers continue the abuses, funded by large corporate legal budgets, the scales are tilted against individual homeowners, who are restricted by family budgets and limited help. Judges are turning a blind eye to the obvious fraudulent documents brought into the courtroom. A new industry of fraud as even been spawned, as families are now prey to the predatory lawyers and fraudulent loan modification scams.
Please consider the human toll this fraud has taken on our fellow citizens. We see families that were middle class only 6 years ago, now facing homelessness. Once a families loses their home, they have difficulty finding shelter due to their lowered credit scores. Large families have an especially hard time finding landlords willing to accommodate their households. While we are concerned about state education budgets, we must consider what sort of quality of education children will get when they are studying in their car by the light of a street lamp. Depression often follows when individuals discover that the rule of law does not protect them against corporate interests. We often hear that Americans should “pull themselves up by their boot straps!” What if their boots were stolen?
We suggest that you use all the authority and powers of your office to initiate a full investigation into mortgage fraud. We suggest to plan for statewide principal write-downs to 80 to 90% of the current market value. This would help people meet qualifications (net present value calculations) to qualify for a loan modification. We also propose a mediation program to oversee the modification process, an impartial ombudsman to review the process and intervene when paperwork continually gets lost and modifications must be repeated 5 or 6 times.
Please ensure that California citizens receive the justice they are entitled to under the rights afforded them via the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Please ensure the integrity of our legislative and judicial system be restored such that there is accountability for the behaviors that precipitated this situation and in fact are still going on today.
Helping people stay in their homes is good for the economy. Ending our state’s foreclosure crisis would help stabilize the financial situations of individual families such that they would then have peace of mind and disposable income. This would be good for municipal and state budgets.
We would be grateful for a meeting with your staff to identify the issues, and explore and implement solutions. Please contact homeowner advocate Carlos Marroquin at the address above or by telephone at (323) 592-4663 to arrange further meetings. Thank you for your careful consideration of our concerns.
Members of Occupy Fights Foreclosures
[i] ^ Dayen, David. “Lawsuit Against California’s Robbing Homeowners of National Mortgage Settlement Funds Has Very Good Chance of Success.” Naked Capitalism. 18 March 2014.
[ii] ^ “California’s homeless: Casualties of class warfare.” World Socialist Web Site. 14 February 2014.