Gary Schiff wants city of Minneapolis to send Cruz home police bill to PNC Bank

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Schiff doesn't think taxpayers should have to foot the bill for arresting protesters working to keep a family in their home.
Yesterday, the MPD disclosed that the taxpayer cost of all the police work done on and around the now-foreclosed Cruz family last month amounted to $42,429, or nearly the cost of one city employee's salary.

But if City Council member Gary Schiff had his way, Minneapolis taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for that bill.

Speaking of the $42,429 police expense, Schiff told the Uptake he hopes "we send that off as an invoice to PNC [Bank] and ask them to pay for it."

Occupy Homes activists claim that a computer glitch resulted in a mortgage payment submitted to PNC Bank by the Cruz family not being properly processed. Just days before police's third attempt to evict protestors at the 4044 Cedar Ave. S. property proved successful, activists claimed PNC Executive Vice President Dan Taylor had signaled a willingness to renegotiate the Cruzes' mortgage. The negotiations presumably either broke down or were broken off in advance of the MPD's May 29 raid. Numerous protesters were arrested during the course of three raids orchestrated by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the MPD.
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Fibonacci Blue
The city seemed lukewarm about doing Freddic Mac's bidding. After the May 29 eviction raid, officials released a statement saying, "[we] reached out to Freddie Mac to say that the City is not in the foreclosure business."

Said Schiff: "There's no way Minneapolis property taxpayers should be footing the bill for [activists] who are trying to keep a family in their home... Arresting every protestor is not a sustainable solution to the foreclosure crisis."

The home is now owned by mortgage lender Freddie Mac. Pittsburgh-based PNC serviced the loan.

Schiff would like to see the city take a more "upstream" role in fending off foreclosures before they happen by encouraging homeowners and banks to renegotiate problematic mortgages before families are evicted.

The city doesn't "necessarily make contact with every family that has started the foreclosure process," Schiff said. "I think we could be more aggressive."

Schiff also pointed out that direct pressure on banks can help keep beleaguered families in their homes. The tale of Colleen McKeen Espinosa and her son Nick is a prime example of that strategy paying dividends. Colleen received a foreclosure notice this winter, but after pressure was exerted on Citibank via social media, a petition drive, and calls to the CEO's office, Citibank contacted Colleen earlier this week to let her know they're willing to renegotiate her mortgage.

"Whether it's Citibank or US Bank, direct pressure on the banks results in significant bad publicity and encourages the banks to renegotiate," Schiff said.

Related coverage:
-- Police efforts at now-foreclosed Cruz family home cost taxpayers $42,429
-- Occupy Homes activist Nick Espinosa helps save his mom's Mpls home from foreclosure
-- Occupy Homes can't defend Cruz family home from third eviction attempt
-- Occupy Homes successfully defends foreclosed Mpls home against 4 a.m. eviction raid [PHOTOS]

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