The second video in Jason Cherkis and Sara Kenigsberg's Occupy Y'All Street series for Huffington Post takes a look at the story of Tawanna and Christopher Rorey, a Gwinnett County, Georgia, couple facing eviction at the hands of Fannie Mae. Christopher is a police officer and the family had done nothing wrong:
In the spring of 2010, the Roreys decided they wanted a loan modification. They had managed to pay their mortgage each month. They just wanted a little more breathing room. When they made the request to their mortgage servicer, then-called Everhome, the Roreys say they were told that unless they could prove financial hardship, they couldn't get the modification.
A foreclosure consultant they hired told them to stop paying their mortgage. Counterintuitive as it may sound, it's common advice in the industry.
The Roreys took the advice that summer. In September, Everhome entered into foreclosure proceedings on the Roreys. On Oct. 5, they were foreclosed on.
Their foreclosure consultant has since been arrested for allegedly breaking into foreclosed homes and renting them out.
"Fannie Mae is committed to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure whenever possible," Amy Bonitatibus, senior director for Fannie Mae corporate communications, stated in an email to HuffPost. "We have a Mortgage Help Center in Atlanta where homeowners can meet with a trusted housing counselor to discuss their mortgage situation and options to avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, the homeowner did not seek assistance from our Help Center."
The Roreys' attorney Asim A. Alam says it was unknown that Fannie Mae was the lender until well after the foreclosure. Everhome never mentioned Fannie Mae's involvement. Shortly before the foreclosure proceedings started, the Roreys expected that the consultant would file a modification request. They are unsure if he ever did, Alam says.
Everhome did not return a request for comment.
"I am very happy [this case] is receiving this much publicity," Alam tells HuffPost. "It is a representative case. Most of my clients are not poor, lazy people who get in over their heads. They are getting screwed over by the bank. They were given inaccurate information by their lender. What happened to the Roreys can happen to anyone in the community."
Once again, the video tells a powerful story of a family whose life is being devastated by the policies and actions of the 1 percent, when there is no reason for the crisis that is taking place. The Roreys did nothing wrong and they played by the rules and it didn't matter.
Beyond that, this video highlights a couple of important things about the movement. While the Roreys ultimately lost their battle, despite the help of Occupy Atlanta and the newly-formed Occupy Gwinnett County, something bigger is going on. The first thing is that many people, in the movement and outside the movement, have had a vague idea for a long time that things are going wrong in this country without being able to put their finger on what exactly it was. Stories like this are helping many new people figure out what's wrong with the system. And once that knowledge is out of Pandora's box, it isn't going back in. Change can't come in any significant way until the masses start to learn about the wrongs that are being done.
More importantly, though, is that thousands of young activists across the country are not only being brought into the political system through the Occupy movement, they are also learning how to organize and more effectively fight the problems they see. While the Occupy movement couldn't save the Roreys' home, there is no doubt that a lot of people learned from the attempt what things work and what things don't work and they're going to try again. And they will increase their success rate because they will learn from their mistakes. And this process is being repeated over and over all across the country.
That's something that should really scare the 1 percent and something that should help cheer up the 99 percent. Change is coming.
More like this
- AOL Hot Seat
- Suburban Guerrilla
- rude pundit
- Steve Benen at MaddowBlog
- Taylor Marsh
- Brad DeLong
- Naomi Klein
- Arthur Silber
- Mock, Paper, Scissors
- Vagabond Scholar
- Zaius Nation
- Talk Left
- Nicole Sandler - Radio or Not
- The Political Carnival
- James Wolcott
- Juan Cole/Informed Comment