Occupy Atlanta encamps on lawn of house under foreclosure threat

An Atlanta police officer sent an email to Occupy Atlanta protesters asking for help with his house, which is under threat of foreclosure (when the family tried to refinance their mortgage, the bank responded with a foreclosure notice). Dozens of Atlanta occupiers shifted their camp to the house's lawn, erecting "This home is occupied" signs and promising to put their bodies between the house and the sheriff's deputies when the eviction comes. The neighbors are highly supportive.

Last week, Tawanna Rorey’s husband, a police officer based in Gwinnett County, e-mailed Occupy Atlanta to explain that his home was going to be foreclosed on and his family was in danger of being evicted on Monday. So within a few hours Occupy Atlanta developed an action plan to move to Snellville, Georgia on Monday to stop the foreclosure. At least two dozen protesters encamped on the family’s lawn, to the applause of neighbors and bystanders.

Occupy Atlanta Encamps In Neighborhood To Save Police Officer’s Home From Foreclosure (via Digg)


  1. as nice a thought as it is… I don’t get how that’s supposed to stop a foreclosure… it’s not like lying down in front of a bulldozer.

    1. You’re not familiar with human chains, are you? Or how determined people can be to not allow other people to pass them, especially when they can form a wall.

      1. oh I am indeed familar and have been in a couple myself…in my youth.  I’m just not seeing a human chain stopping a robo-signed foreclosure notice is all.

    2. Well it can’t stop the foreclosure, but it can stop the eviction.  And, more permanently, with the right advocacy, it can make the bank more willing to renegotiate mortgage rates to bring them in line with the current market value of the house, which is frequently all that people need to keep making payments.  Or make the (usually big) ank more willing to sell the property to a small, community based bank which is willing to work with the former homeowners/current tenants.

      We’ve got a great group in Boston that has been doing really successful eviction blockades around these premises — http://clvu.org/resources.  Eviction is hard.  Picket lines make it harder.  People who are being evicted through foreclosure have a lot of power and leverage as long as they can stay in the house.

      1. I have to say, if I was in a position like this and I’d run out of other options to stay foreclosure, I’d torch the whole place. Go ahead and foreclose on that.

        Yeah, they’d try for damages and likely more depending on the statues because that IS arson, but, hey, they shouldn’t have been greedy, and now nobody can have the nice things.

        1. That’s stupid and would literally be a Pyrrhic victory.

          In Canada we had the Doukhobors protesting by setting fire to their houses containing all of their belongings, including ALL of their clothes. 

          It was a problem when they were tenants. Also they lived communally years before the term kibbutz was imported from Hebrew. Caused quite the ruckus amount the bourgeoisie.

          Please note the absence of Doukhobors in the news since. 

          They assimilated and now are competing with naturists (who don’t usually look like you could hitch them up to a plow. :-)

    1. …do you have any information to make such a connection, or are you wildly speculating?

      Because, while we’re familiar here on BoingBoing with the NYPD and especially our best friends at Oakland PD being complete cretinous assholes during Occupy events, and other Occupy protests have had lesser (than rubber bullets to the head, that is) conflicts with police, not ALL COPS are categorically out against OWS. Some communities actually have a police force they generally respect because they don’t shoot unarmed demonstrators with rubber bullets because lol. If you actually have factual data to suggest that Officer Rorey was arresting Occupy protestors (for good reasons or otherwise), I’d like to see it, because that brings up an interesting dynamic to the Occupy movement that I haven’t seen before.

      If you don’t and you’re pulling shit out of thin air, please don’t fall into the trap of assuming all cops are against OWS all the time. There are and have been major problems with cops doing possibly (or obviously) illegal things, but they are not every cop.

      1. No, I suspect Obdan doesn’t have any information, that’s why they asked a question, hence the ? at the end of the sentence.

  2. So, any bets as to whether the police will magically be able to resolve this particular menace to public safety without gratuitous violence?

    1. This isn’t Oakland, this isn’t Wall Street. This is a family fighting foreclosure and getting assistance from the protest. Unless someone loses their shit and escalates the situation into threats or physical assault (on either side, and tempers can flare), the only violence might come from the cops pushing every single person there onto the ground for the cuffs and arresting them for their act of interfering with the Sheriff. And, y’know, the catch with civil disobedience is that you’re still going to get punished.

    2. any bets to whether the press will magically be able to portray this particular incident as a menace to public safety?

  3. As a teenager, I had the misfortune of being targeted by our local cops.  I had long hair and wore patched jeans in a fairly affluent community where the majority of youth were clean-cut preppy types.  I was regularly stopped, sometimes tossed in the back of cruisers for no apparent reason, and forced to bear witness to several of my “hoodlum” chums being on the wrong end of beatings.

    I have earned a healthy suspicion of police.

    That said, I recognize how many cops are just normal folk: people like you and me who have a job to do and do it to the best of their abilities.  I know there are a lot of good cops out there.

    For this reason, I’m proud of the Occupy Atlanta members that stepped up to help this family.  Part of me wants to believe that they are doing this because they see their fellow human beings falling victim to an economic system designed to punish.

    There is another part of me that sees this as a clever ploy, of course.  I mean, what better way to gain legitimacy than by protecting a member of a community painted as “the enemy?”  What better way to prevent cops from firing weapons than to disarm them with kindness?

    Whatever the reason, I have to say “good job.”

    Way to help support those who have been victimized.  And what a way to help the world at large sit up and take notice of economic injustice.

  4. I really hope this becomes a trend.  The big banks’ insistence on foreclosing on people who are willing to refinance is a big part of what’s driving down house prices.

  5. Well, that will show the “Blue Wall” in Oakland that the OWS-<your city here> aren’t really a bunch of fiery anarchist who are only out to destroy them all.

    Its the banks that are doing that. (How short sighted and stupid can you be? Like cops are going to be in a hurry to respond to a distress call at your bank after you behave like that..)

  6. I don’t understand why you should get to keep something that you borrowed money for but cannot repay within the agreed-upon schedule. Also, you don’t get a foreclosure notice for applying for a refi. You only get one if you are 90(?) days in arrears on your existing contract. Applying for a refi when you’ve already gone that far seems kind of ridiculous to me. You maybe apply for one (from another bank or even a broker) if you think you’re not going to be able to make your upcoming payments, not once the horse is tearing down the road away from the barn.

    The one time (many years ago) when I thought that I might be late on a mortgage payment had me already looking at alternative payment and housing scenarios, and doing a bunch of math to see if this was going to be a one time deal, or if it was systemic to my budget. Never did it cross my mind that I would not pay (a possibility), then expect to remain in the house.

    So, someone bought something that they couldn’t afford, and it’s the bank that is greedy? To anyone who says that these homeowners were somehow conned by the banks: you cannot con an honest person.

    1. ” you cannot con an honest person. ”

      sure you can, being honest doesn’t make one any less likely to be naive or ill-informed.

    2. African Americans and Latinos were deliberately targeted with more onerous loans than their white counterparts.  This is just one example of deliberate fraud and discrimination as policy carried out by bankers.  “Reverse Redlining”, falsifying documents, deliberately betting on risky defaults.

    3. there’s not enough information in the linked story to know.
      among the possibilities that don’t involve fault of the borrower: ballooning interest rates or payments that were deliberately hidden by the bank, increased property taxes to compensate for federal tax cuts, loss of the spouse’s job due to the slow economy, being misinformed by the bank that they should stop a payment to trigger refinancing, improper foreclosure by the bank.  all of these things have happened to people, and not just anecdotical but systematically.

      neither the banks nor the federal government have been willing to help homeowners through these hard times – even though arguably lack of regulation by the government and bad practices by the banks is what brought us here.  helping people stay in their homes so long as they make reasonable efforts at payment would really be best for everybody.

      1. Agreed.  But even if the borrowers deliberately overextended themselves, they’re still trying work it out.  And even if, as the previous commenter said, they waited too long, it’s still better for the bank to refi than to foreclose.  From a business standpoint, it’s better for the bank to cooperate than to refinance and have another unoccupied house sitting on its books.

        And let’s remember that the money the bank loaned to these borrowers is not the BANK’s money, it’s yours and mine, the common account holder.  This bank is a bad steward of our money.

        If banks weren’t in a mad rush to issue mortgages to anyone with (or without) a pulse, then bundle and sell those mortgages to the aggregators, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

        We should find out who the lender is, and close out any accounts any of us have there.   I tried to look, but it costs $5 to access their public records online.

  7. A good reminder that, Oakland notwithstanding, the police are not the enemy.  “We are the 99%” is, by its nature, an inclusive slogan; the vast majority of law enforcement are indeed part of the 99%.

    We’re on the same side.  Oakland PD just hasn’t figured that out.

  8. I want to renegotiate the loan on my truck. As soon as I drove it off the lot it’s value went down, so now I want a new loan that reflects the current value. The government should be involved.
    The car salesman told me that it’s value would only go up after I purchased it!

    1. You sound like my kind of customer.  A person of your discerning taste and keen wit will certainly be interested in this suitcase full of mortgage-backed securities.

      And there are plenty more where these came from, if you know what I mean.


  9. Gatto and hungryjoe — Those are all possibilities, but there are problems with many of them. Some are flat-out illegal already (bank hid payments), and the solution is to lawyer up. Others, like property taxes going up, loss of income, etc., are part of the risk that you take when you choose to purchase your living space with borrowed money. You have no guarantee that these things will not happen, which is why there is a certain amount of risk in the bank giving you the money in the first place. While many people do not view these possibilities as accepted risks, the fact remains that they are. How lightly do you take borrowing $200,000? I take it pretty damned seriously and along with it comes the understanding that stuff might happen that could cause me to default, even if I want with all my heart to pay. FYI, you can buy insurance (yes, it’s more $) that pays your mortgage for you if you are disabled, lose your job, etc. I’ve never purchased it, because I’m aware of and willing to assume the risks myself.

    If the feds via Fannie et al. hadn’t been implying that they would fully backstop all of this shaky lending (and possibly twisting arms to boot), the banks most likely wouldn’t have been so eager to take these risks. It was the definition of moral hazard.

    But like you mentioned, the article doesn’t go into detail about the case. My comments were just to push against the knee-jerk “Everything Occupy Is Good” feeling.

    Is it in the banks’ best interests to work with the people who are behind? In many cases, yes. My FIL was a bank manager for many years in a small-town bank, and foreclosure was an absolute last resort. Of course, he knew every single one of the people that his bank was lending to, and could usually tell whether they were good for it in a rough patch, or if the bank should put an end to it. I’d argue that these larger banks don’t have that kind of insight, and it comes down to pure economics.

    Are the bankers greedy or not? On the one hand, everyone seems to think that they are, but on other hand, seems to think that foreclosure somehow loses them money they could otherwise have if they worked with the borrowers. Wouldn’t a greedy bank want to maximize the amount of money they are taking in? Houses, especially abandoned ones, aren’t selling like crazy right now.

    And regarding the “con and honest man” thing… an honest man does the math first and figures out how much house he can afford. People telling him that he can have soooo much more are clearly appealing to his own greed and vanity. It is up to us as responsible people to know our limits and live within them.

    1. I agree with everything you said here, but I don’t feel it’s the whole picture.  Taking out a mortgage is a sales experience.  The borrower (or customer) has a responsibility to know his/her limits and stay within them.  The lender (or salesperson) has a responsibility to respect those limitations.  There was a LOT of unethical lending behavior at the beginning of this century, and that put us where we are.

      Here’s the basic problem: many of the people involved in the bank side of the mortgage process had a financial incentive (commission, bounty, bonus, etc) to lend people money.  There was no incentive to deny a loan based on a borrower’s inability to repay the money. Compounding this, the lending institution could easily sell that mortgage to an aggregator, wiping out its vulnerability to the bad loans it made.

      Yes, this was allowed to happen by the federal government and whatever other regulators were asleep at the wheel.  But just because a system is vulnerable does not mean it should be exploited.

      That’s the key word here:  exploit.  Everyone from bottom to top was taking advantage of a vulnerable system.  No single player should be absolved of their responsibility.

      I don’t know the details of the homeowners in question here.  This story says they were not asking to be absolved.  This story says they were (and are) willing to shoulder the responsibility of a mortgage and pay what they owe.  It says they are attempting to refinance, which I think a lot of readers equate with a haircut for the bank.  That’s not necessarily so.  They may simply be looking for relief from a high interest rate.

  10. Atlanta has been hard hit economically.  They don’t have that much really proping up their economy.  They have one of the largest Airports in the US and with travel down and the economy going down banks don’t see ‘people’ as good investments so they are cutting their loses before they even happen.

    This is an example of a shell shocked economy.  This is very bad.  While I’ve been reading about wrongful foreclosures; I really feel for her.  The bigger picture is more troubling.  With banks unwilling to lend people don’t have the opportunity to invest in themselves.  This is what made the depression worse after WWI.

    I would like to point out a quid-pro-quo to ‘the 1%’ who say we all enjoyed the gamble when the going was good.  I say to the banks ‘You really enjoyed the gambling on us when we were a sure bet.’

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