Community Members block auctions in Brooklyn court; 9 activists arrested.
Date: October 13, 2011
Calling on the judicial system to institute an immediate moratorium on all foreclosures until a fair system of home loans is put into place, a group of New York City housing justice advocates disrupted the auction of several foreclosed Brooklyn properties in Civil Court on Thursday afternoon through music and song. The group, called Organizing for Occupation (O4O), was protesting what it views as a system designed to benefit financial lending institutions at the expense of homeowners and low-income communities. Although the New York judiciary instituted mandatory pre-foreclosure settlement conferences in 2009, O4O claims that these conferences do nothing to protect the rights of homeowners to remain in their homes. "No lender, be it Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank or Chase, has any intention of settling by means other than a foreclosure auction or another predatory modification," says Karen Gargamelli, a housing attorney and spokesperson for O4O. "These auctions displace our neighbors and destabilize our neighborhoods. We need a stronger system for dealing with foreclosures, one that holds banks accountable for making bad loans and then speculating on them as 'securitized instruments'." And until the Legislature passes more protective laws, O4O is calling on the courts to hold all foreclosure auctions, and encouraging New Yorkers to raise their own voices in the courts to stall these auctions through concerted direct action such as Thursday's disruption.