When we started Jeremy Griffin’s eviction campaign at his South Park home, it seemed only reasonable to discuss our concerns with James Gorman, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley. When Mr. Gorman’s staff learned we were sullying their good name in the streets of Seattle, they called Jeremy to assure him that they in fact have nothing to do with his property (even though the King County Recorder’s Office lists the owner as “Deutsche Bank National Trust, as Trustee for Morgan Stanley Loan Trust 2005-7”). The real property owner, Morgan claimed, is Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank then tells Jeremy they also have nothing to do with his home, and the real owner is Wells Fargo. However, Wells Fargo, who serviced Jeremy’s loan up until last year’s foreclosure auction but whose name has since dropped off all of the eviction-related paperwork and court motions, says they are almost certain they are not the owner of Jeremy’s home, but it’ll take them until June 5 to be sure. If it weren’t tragic, it’d be the stuff of farce.
That Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Wells Fargo, with combined assets of $4.9 trillion, are so befuddled and afraid of the goings on in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, is a small indication of our power and their vulnerability. We cannot compete with them financially; we cannot, and will not, force their hand by violence; we cannot out lobby them in Congress; but we can expose them for who they are. Nothing frightens a board of directors like the truth. The very last thing these profit-obsessed titans want to see on TV is the Sheriff on the orders of their bank throwing families onto the street. It doesn’t make for happy viewing after a day of golf at the country club.
What we need to expose is the sociopathic mercilessness of the banks. At his first eviction hearing after Jeremy pleaded that the bank should at least have had the human decency to talk with him before selling his home, especially given that he is now working and can afford to pay them rent, the lawyer for the bank said in a tone consistent with someone reading a phonebook, “My client had no legal obligation to do so.” (If there is a psychiatrist reading this, please let me know if such a cold-blooded response to the evisceration of a human being is generally considered a good thing.)
As more homeowners see eviction notices posted on their doors, we will expand our blockades from Jeremy’s home to other homes throughout Seattle. Sadly, every homeowner in SAFE has a story as heartrending as Jeremy’s. We fully expect that the more we reveal the bank’s mistreatment of Seattle families, the more the banks will try to discredit us. The more panicked they will get, the harder we will fight.
Given the thousand of families the banks have crushed in Seattle alone, there is plenty to expose. Summer’s coming, the weather will soon get hot; let’s undress the banks.
— Stephen, SAFE Volunteer
Housing is a Human Right!
News: COURT ORDERS EVICTION STAY
SAFE Suspends Blockade Until June 25
May 31: 4:00 PM: Demand Deliveries to Seattle Banks: Meet at SW corner of Third Ave. and Madison St., downtown.
June 14: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services in Bellevue for Jen
June 21: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services in Bellevue for Larry
Jane’s foreclosure auction has been postponed indefinitely!
Depending on the outcome of Jeremy’s next court hearing, we are prepared to recommence the eviction blockade on June 25. If you have yet to join SAFE’s Rapid Response Network, so that we can alert you as soon as the sheriff arrives to evict, please visit www.SAFEinSeattle.org, click on JOIN RRN, and sign up.
This Past Week:
May 15 – 21: SAFE supporters conduct effective phone and fax blast to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. Morgan Stanley claims they’re innocent. (See Thoughts and Opinion below.)
May 21: The Stand the daily newsletter of the Washington State Labor Council gives SAFE’s blockade front-page coverage!
May 22: Great press coverage from in The Stranger!
May 23: SAFE members attend contentious town hall meeting with King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski and Attorney General Bob Ferguson
May 24: Following a 10-day eviction blockade, King County Superior Court grants Jeremy Griffin a stay of his eviction until his next hearing on June 25
May 24: SAFE suspends its blockade in Jeremy’s yard. Celebrates to the wee hours!
May 28: Members from Nickelsville and Share attend SAFE’s meeting. Discuss how we can forge an alliance. Stay tuned.
May 30: Front-page coverage from Real Change (their second cover-story on SAFE)
Other Upcoming & Ongoing Events:
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!
If you have a letter or comment you’d like to include in the Thoughts & Opinions section of this Newsletter, please e-mail info@SAFEinSeattle.org. Opinions must be informative, relevant to the foreclosure/eviction crisis, and consistent with SAFE’s mission and principles. The opinions do not necessarily represent those of SAFE.