Occupiers open up foreclosed home for owner
Protesting what they consider was a wrongful eviction, occupiers broke into a foreclosed home in Lincoln Heights tonight and gave it back to the homeowner.
After Soledad Corona was approved for a loan modification, Bank of America, her mortgage provider, withheld her first payment, which caused her to go into default. The bank then put the home into foreclosure.
Corona and her daughter, age 20, where evicted at gunpoint on Dec. 14 by LA County sheriffs. She described the experience as “being treated like a criminal.”
According to Corona and OFF, Bank of America has not provided an explanation as to why they withheld her first payment and put her home into foreclosure.
“I’ve been in touch with 10 Bank of America officials regarding this case and none of them have been able to give me an answer or even get back to me,” said Carlos Marroquin, an OFF organizer.
Disabled as the result of a head-on car collision, Corona requested the loan modification. Under the advisement of a loan modification specialist, she purposely missed a few payments on her mortgage, because the bank would not otherwise consider her request. She said the loan modification was meant to be a temporary situation until she got back on her feet.
“It was not like I was expecting anything for free,” she said. “I was willing to do whatever they wanted me to do.”
The eviction also took place at a time when Bank of America had stated it would stop evictions for the holiday season.
“Bank of America’s practice in recent years [is to hold off on] foreclosure sales or evictions from late December through New Year’s Day,” said BofA spokesperson Rick Simon to CNN Money.
According to Marroquin, BofA has broken their holiday promise with other homeowners as well.
OFF intends to ask officials to investigate Corona’s case. They believe BofA’s actions could be considered constructive fraud, a legal term that describes when someone gains an advantage over another by unfair means, such as lying or not fully disclosing all the aspects of an agreement.
The group further plans to ask the Sheriff’s Dept. to review their procedures on evicting homeowners. According to Marroquin, homeowners have provided legal documents to sheriffs, such as court ordered stays, which states they are rightfully in their home, only to be evicted anyways.
Located on the 2000 block of Daly Street, Corona’s home is now festooned with protest placards. Her yard has tents on it. She is thankful to be back in her home, but, admittedly, there is something still missing.
“This is my home, and it’s supposed to be the holidays. It’s not,” she said. “I haven’t even gotten a gift for my daughter.”
[UPDATE: (Dec. 24, 2012, 2:00 p.m.) According to the Huffington Post, BofA said Corona’s loan modification was not returned to the bank by its due date. Also, their eviction hold began on Dec. 17, three days after Corona was evicted.]