Occupy Homes successfully defends foreclosed Mpls home against 4 a.m. eviction raid [PHOTOS]

Categories: Protest News
occupy homes cruz family.jpg
The door to the Cruz's home was kicked in at some point during this week's drama.
At about 4 a.m. this morning, Hennepin County deputies descended on the 4044 Cedar Ave. S. home of Alejandra and David Cruz in an attempt to evict residents and protesters from the foreclosed home. Occupy Homes protesters were able to quickly mobilize and gather in strength.

UpTake Minnesota reports that five nonviolent protesters were arrested, and activists say law enforcement used power tools to cut away people who had physically attached themselves to the home with chains and cement. But the deputies' effort ultimately failed -- members of Occupy Homes remained inside the home as of this morning.

Ben Egerman, an organized with Occupy Homes, said in a press release that "an army of sheriffs marched in military-style and busted down the door in the dead of night."

Here's a photo of the deputies trying to advance through protesters toward the Cruz home this morning (for more images, check out Peter Leeman's excellent Tumblr blog):
occupy homes cruz family defense.jpg
Peter Leeman

And here's another of protestors giving Hennepin County deputies a piece of their mind as the left the scene:
occup homes cruz family defense 2.jpg
Peter Leeman
This morning's raid represented deputies' second attempt to evict protesters from the home in 48 hours. Deputies arrived at the home about 3:30 Wednesday afternoon, but activists used a new rapid-response text messaging system to quickly gather 100 protesters in and around the home. By 5 p.m., deputies had left and the home remained securely in the hands of Occupy Homes.

According to UpTake, Alejandra and David's parents, who work as a stylist and dishwasher, respectively, fell behind on their mortgage, but still offered to make an online payment to Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank. PNC, however, demanded a multiple-month payment. When the Cruz's couldn't oblige, the home went into foreclosure.

Alejandra and David's parents began working with a nonprofit that was trying to negotiate a loan modification, but last Friday, an agent arrived and slapped an eviction noticed on the house, telling the Cruz family they had a few days to remove their belongings. They decided not to budge, and Occupy Homes has mobilized around their cause.

Said Alejandra: "We're one of the first Latino families who has stepped up for the many who are afraid to say that we're here to stay."

Occupy Homes has tried to persuade PNC Executive Vice President Dan Taylor to renegotiate the Cruz's mortgage loan, and Taylor signaled yesterday that he's willing to work with the family, Occupy says. So the timing of this morning's raid seemed particularly puzzling.

Said Egerman: "It's unconscionable that Sheriff Stanek ordered the violent eviction of this home a second time, especially when he is fully aware of active negotiations between the family and the bank to resolve the situation peacefully."
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17 comments
Amanda Lee-Pearl Moore
Amanda Lee-Pearl Moore

I think it's funny how people are so into cheering these people on...

Don't get me wrong, my family has experienced foreclosure, and it's horrible. But.. that's exactly what happens when you don't pay your mortgage and I wouldn't expect anything else. It's unfair to think you can just keep your house and not pay your bill for months.  By that logic, why aren't we just stealing everything we want? 

Do yourself a favor people, when you realize you're going under, start making plans.

Or here's a better idea. Buy modestly so if anything happens you can still cover the costs.

Carlos Pervez
Carlos Pervez

Here is "the other side" from a Star Tribune 4/30/12 article:

"Our records show Mr. Cruz hasn’t made a mortgage paymentin nearly two years. We have no record that he responded to offers to beevaluated for a loan modification. The mortgage was lawfully foreclosed on in August 2011 and the redemptionperiod expired this past February. At this point, the only way for FreddieMac and taxpayers to minimize  furtherloss on this unpaid mortgage is to secure and sell to a new buyer.

 

Fred Soloman, a spokesman for PNC Bank, said, "Ourpractice is not to comment on customers."

Carlos Pervez
Carlos Pervez

It kind of sounds like a "he said she said" story.  I've read several stories now on this, and its unclear whether or not it was a "bank error" -- failing to process an electronic payment -- or not - its a claim by Occupy Minnesota and that's it.  If it were so, and the bank was failing to correct their error, I'd be talking to a lawyer, not "renegotiating" with some non-profit (my experience with 2 of them is that they are pretty limited).  Some versions of the story have it that they were behind on their mortgage before the electronic payment problem and were negotiating for a mortgage they could afford. Also, was PNC bank really in the process of negotiation or not.  Sounds like another Occupy Minnesota claim, made dubious by the chief negotiator for Occupy MN on being surprised that nothing had come out of the negotiation by the non-profit.  And whether it was Freddie Mac or PNC that is responsible for all this.

Carlos Pervez
Carlos Pervez

Protest group plans to "occupy" house to prevent eviction, 4/30/12 -- http://www.startribune.com/loc...

([Very confusing - sort of a "he said she said"])

The Occupy movement ... to prevent an eviction following a foreclosure that they say is due to a bank error. The lender, Freddie Mac, counters that the family never responded to offers for a loan modification. Freddie Mac said that PNC Bank serviced the loan.

Occupy Homes MN say that the David Cruz family, which has lived in the house for seven years, fell into arrears after a bank failed to withdraw a monthly payment from Cruz's bank account. The bank then demanded two months additional payment as a penalty which the family could not afford. After that, the protesters, say, the bank refused to take regular monthly payments until the past penalty was paid, and the house fell into foreclosure. Martha Ockenfels-Martinez of Occupy Homes MN said the family then sought help from a local non-profit and believed they were making an arrangement to resolve the matter with the lender, and were surprised to learn that nothing had been worked out and they faced eviction. Brad German, a spokesman for Freddie Mac, issued this statement: "Our records show Mr. Cruz hasn’t made a mortgage payment in nearly two years. We have no record that he responded to offers to be evaluated for a loan modification. The mortgage was lawfully foreclosed on in August 2011 and the redemption period expired this past February. At this point, the only way for Freddie Mac and taxpayers to minimize further loss on this unpaid mortgage is to secure and sell to a new buyer. Unfortunately, Mr. Cruz has not responded to our offers to provide him with moving assistance, which remains open to him.” Fred Soloman, a spokesman for PNC Bank, said, "Our practice is not to comment on customers."

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John
John

People commenting on this story seem to be missing the point. PNC bank agreed to renegotiations, that process has started. Yet the Sheriff ordered the home be raided anyway. 

TheBlob
TheBlob

Occupiers really discredit themselves when they play up any law enforcement action, regardless of how reasonable or benign, to the level of gestapo tactics.  Get over yourselves.  It's obvious that your portrayal of the deputies as "an army marching in military-style" is just an attempt to inflate your self-important martyr status.  This isn't a war, as much as you'd like it to be.  It's some people sitting in a house that doesn't belong to them and cops doing what they do, enforcing the law.

Richard Garyson
Richard Garyson

I do not enjoy watching anyone experience a foreclosure, but that is what happens when you cannot meet your monthly mortgage obligation. The nice thing about mortgages, is that if you default on them, you will only lose your home, but the debt does not follow you - once the foreclosure is completed, you are free of the debt - sort of a limited bankruptcy.  Question: If banks are not allowed to foreclose on defaulted customers, then how much longer will they offer such loans? And then how will people be able to purchase homes, if they cannot take out a mortgage? I have empathy for the Cruzes, but the only victim here is PNC Bank. They are doubly victimized by the Cruzes, who defaulted on their loan and refuse to leave, as well as by the libel and slander lobbed at them by the Occupy crowd and their fellow travelers at City Pages.

Santeria_24
Santeria_24

The Cruz family has shown themselves to be an asset to this community and I for one am very happy to have them in the neighborhood.

Richard Garyson
Richard Garyson

 Well, perhaps the bank wanted the family to let their guard down, or maybe they just reconsidered the renegotiation scenario, and determined it not to be in their best interests.  Perhaps, the signals were confused and PNC never had intended to negotiate in the first place. Either way, the Cruzes defaulted on the loan, so PNC was well within its rights to foreclose. If anyone has behaved inappropriately in this matter it is the Cruzes and their Occupier enablers. If anyone is a victim, it is PNC Bank. They are likely out tens of thousands of dollars on this mortgage, not to mention the unfair and negative publicity generated by media who NEVER holds borrowers accountable for defaulting on their loans.

Sojourner
Sojourner

What, RIchard, is libelous or slanderous in this post?

Occupyhomes
Occupyhomes

Don't be so bitter Richard. I promise if you lose your job and your house gets foreclosed on, we'll help you stay in it as well.

Richard Garyson
Richard Garyson

 Perhaps nothing, in this particular article, but it is no secret that the Occupy movement hates banks and views them as viscous predators who exploit the poor. It is no secret that the Occupy movement believes that it is okay to default on one's loan and remain in their home without remaining faithful to the agreed upon loan terms. It is no secret that City Pages sympathizes with the Occupy and shares their hatred of banks.

Richard Garyson
Richard Garyson

 Should I ever suffer such a fate, I would reluctantly (because it is a shameful thing to default on a debt) welcome the opportunity to be relieved of my upside-down mortgage and cooperate with my bank during the transition. I would not, however, fight to stay in a home that is beyond my means to maintain.  Again, the beauty of the foreclosure is that the debt is wiped clean, and you can start fresh. Unlike federal student loans that one is on the hook for, whether or not they can find a job that utilizes the degree the loans were used to obtain.

NewsDog
NewsDog

I often wonder if the Occupyers are aware of the great irony they display. They spew forth this hatred of banks yet most of them carry debit cards.Where do they think the money those debit cards give them is housed?

Oh yeah, a bank. 

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