Mar 24, 2009

Toledo Foreclosure Defense League Takes Aim at Evictions

Left: Members of the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League with today's list of Sheriff's sales from foreclosures

I attended a press conference this afternoon held by local residents who formed a group that plans to fight the record number of foreclosures in the area. The Toledo Foreclosure Defense League plans to use non-violent tactics of civil disobedience in an effort to keep Toledoans from being evicted from their homes, according to group spokesperson Keith Sadler.

The group plans to establish "community defense teams" that will arrive at homeowner’s property and risk arrest by non-violently interfering with evictions. If the eviction has already taken place, noted Sadler, the group plans to "move those people back in."

"If we have to, we will make the Sheriff's Department look like the Nazis they have to be when they evict people," he said.

Sadler said the group will consider such options as picketing, directly blocking foreclosure and eviction actions, and even "interfering with Sheriff sales" in order to keep people in their homes. The group is also studying the option of finding vacant properties to move homeless people into.

Left:Ben Konop

Also in attendance today was Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, who said that Toledo-area residents have gotten a "bum deal from the powers that be for a long time."

Konop noted that the proposed actions of the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League were "not unprecedented," and that this sort of grass-roots activism is occurring throughout the Midwest.

"What we see is a serious imbalance of power here," Konop added. "In DC there are thousands of lobbyists descending on the halls of Capitol Hill, and they are getting trillions of taxpayer dollars."

Konop issued a similar call to the Sheriff earlier in the month for a 90-day foreclosure moratorium, but Lucas County Sheriff James Telb so far has refused to follow the lead of sheriffs in jurisdictions such as Cook County, IL, Butler County, OH, and Wayne County, MI in halting evictions.

Left: Elsie Jarrin of Toledo

Among the attendees were a number of people who face imminent foreclosure and eviction. Elsie Jarrin attended the event on behalf of her daughter, Dawn Price, whose home is in foreclosure. Price, a single mother of three children who is also eight months pregnant, has been rebuffed by Deutsche Bank in every effort she has made to get an extension.

"Dawn offered to pay rent until June, after her baby is born, but the lawyer for Deutsche Bank said his client refused," she said. "Deutsche Bank gets $11.8 billion in bailout money, but they can't help a pregnant mother with three kids. Unbelievable."

Jarrin also noted a new phenomenon that lurks as a result of the rash of foreclosures and evictions: escalating rental costs. Her daughter missed out on three rental properties in what amounted to bidding wars between potential tenants.

"This weekend she received an email from the landlord advising her that even though she was the better candidate, some people came along with $2,000," she said. "Wit the economy the way it is, they had no choice but to rent to them."

Manuel Gonzales described how the three homes he owns are in foreclosure after the collapse of his contracting business. Gonzales called for greater activism to end the foreclosure sales.

"Power comes in numbers, and we have to stick together," he urged. "The only way we can fix this is to stop those Sheriff sales. Period."

If you are facing eviction or foreclosure, you can contact the Toledo Foreclosure Defense League by email at foreclosuredefenseleague AT gmail DOT com. You can also call 419-931-6517 or 419-304-2098 to speak with a representative of the group. The Toledo Foreclosure Defense League will also be hosting a public meting on March 31 from 5-7PM at the Mott Branch Public Library (1085 Dorr Street).


Anonymous said...

If people worked and paid their bills on time they wouldn't be in foreclosure.

Elizabeth said...

It's great to see acts of solidarity like this popping up. It's about time we all start working together and stand in solidarity to fight against corporate greed.

historymike said...


That's a pretty simplistic view of the current situation. In Northwest Ohio we have tens of thousands of people who purchased homes on good faith who find themselves in dire straits through no fault of their own.

And what about renters being evicted because the landlord went into foreclosure? Or criminal sleazebags like this who purposely put owners into default? Or predatory lenders who scammed unsuspecting borrowers?

The problems we face in the housing and credit markets are not the fault of individual homeowners. I grow weary of righteous and sanctimonious twits who place the entire blame for the economic collapse on overextended and reckless homeowners buying houses they could not afford.

historymike said...


Unfortunately, most folks have no other option than solidarity at the street level. It is apparent that even our "hope and change" President is not willing to extend much effort to help homeowners, as the vast majority of bailout and stimulus money is going to corporations, NGOs, and state and local governments.

Exploring American Anarchism said...

I appreciate your coverage of this event. We hope to see you take part, in some shape or form, in the coming struggle for community control of our land. Everyday we receive more emails, phone-calls, and comments on how empowered people are becoming thanks to this effort. While the coming battle will be difficult, I'm confident we will make great gains in this process.

Peahippo said...

Hey, Mike! Boy, I'm glad I caught this LIBERAL NONSENSE so early in the discussion cycle. You can read my reply to your nonsense here, on Swampbubbles:

Debate me there if you dare. Toodles! :^D


historymike said...

E.A.A. -

You are welcome. This is an issue that should transcend politics, though of course our elected leaders are busy making political hay without actually adressing the underlying systemic problems.

historymike said...


Welcome. I already answered your comments on debt, probably as you were heading over here. In short: I do not blame average Americans for being products of a toxic consumerism any more than I would blame a dog for lapping up antifreeze.

We grow up trained to be wage slaves and brand-obsessed, impulsive consumers, and it takes a lot of hard work to unplug fro the consumerism matrix.

Most folks are woefully ignorant of their enslavement, just as the metaphorical frog in the boling pot of water did not notice as the heat was raised.

dr-exmedic said...

I think it's awesome that people realize they can band together to take on .gov. I just hope that none of the people doing so are of the "what don't you understand about illegal" persuasion...hypocrisy is more disgusting than any other sin.

microdot said...

Mikew, your comment about a dog accidentally lapping up anti freeze as an analogy to the mechanisms which triggered the foreclosure crisis is very good.

It is way too easy and simple mined to blame the victims of this mess.
I support community and people action when it is for the good of a society. This is noble.


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That "Coaching by Peter" thing is a strong part of the problem: FLIPPING HOUSES. They are supposed to be personal property and shelter, not stock certificates.

We are a LONG way from the real-estate bottom. We have yet to pass through the 2009-2010 schedule of ARM resets. People squatting in "their" (i.e. the BANKS') houses isn't going to do anything but compel banks to avoid lending ANYTHING here. It's already fairly awkward when you can't get a loan for that $20K house, regardless of your circumstances. The banks want to loan out $100K, not $20K. So the banks are strongly trying to keep prices HIGH ... which benefits THEM but terrorizes YOU.

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rowelawllc said...

I am a foreclosure defense attorney and I can tell you that the issues in Northwestern Ohio have little to do with irresponsible homeowners. Of course there are some of those, but most of the people I see are having hard times because the job they had for 20 years is gone. Or the 70 hours they were working has been cut to 25 or 30. Many of these people were current on their mortgages for months after the lost work because they had saved. But savings don't last forever. And jobs are hard to come by, as most people know.
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