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Foreclosed On Denver Veteran Finds Foes And Friends In Search For Help From VA

posted Aug 21, 2014, 2:36 PM by Darren O'Connor

August 21, 2014


Denver, COArt Perreault, like too many Veterans of the modern era, is homeless.  He served his country, worked hard his entire life, and bought into the American dream, only to find himself on the wrong end of a home modification loan.  Health issues ensued, Art’s wife left him, and he was left alone to wage battle to keep the home he had known since 2006.  Despite a valiant effort, Art eventually lost his home.


Art’s story is not entirely unique.  While the number of Veterans identifying as homeless in the Denver metro has decreased over the last 4 years, Veterans still make up an inordinate amount (>13%) of those living on the street.  Therefore, it is significant that President Obama has issued an Executive Directive to end Veteran homelessness, by December 31, 2015.


The directive calls for the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher program to serve as the primary tool to eradicate homelessness.  Similar to the HUD Section 8 program, the VASH voucher provides for subsidized rent and supportive services, through case management. 


After losing his home, Mr. Perreault turned to the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC), an all-volunteer group, for assistance.  The CFRC connected with Leanne Wheeler, the Colorado Pathways Home Veteran Advisory Group Co-Chair, herself a former homeless Veteran, to assist Art in accessing his Veteran benefits; to include a VASH voucher.


Ms. Wheeler referred Art to the VA Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), where a case manager was assigned and his immediate medical needs were attended to.  However, despite his heart condition, diabetes, requirement for oxygen, multiple strokes, a blood clot in his foot, and his illegally squatting in his former residence, Art was denied VASH voucher eligibility.


(It should be noted that Mr. Perreault was issued a Section 8 voucher two years ago, which he hoped to use to stay in his home.  The mortgage lender – Chase – rejected that proposed arrangement.)


Ms. Wheeler personally accompanied Art to the Denver VA Hospital Homeless Prevention Program, and ultimately connected with the Deputy Director, Michelle Lapidow (a colleague on the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative Board of Directors), who denied Art’s eligibility.


Mr. Perrault was contacted the same evening, by a VA employee, who refused to identify herself.  She did, however, advise Art that his denial of eligibility was not based on a true assessment of his need (he was, indeed, eligible), but on the case manager’s perceived slight by Ms. Wheeler making inquiry about his progress higher in the leadership echelon.


The Veterans Administration already faces indictment along this line:  retribution, cover up and the like.  In the recent past, these activities have led to the untimely death of Veterans.


This cannot be Art Perreault’s fate.


And if the CFRC and Ms. Wheeler have their way, it will not be the fate of Art Perreault, or any Veteran experiencing homelessness, in Colorado.


Nonprofit programs require Art to literally spend the night on the street (illegal per Denver’s Camping Ban ordinance), or spend one night in a shelter, where he would likely not find a bed, before he is considered homeless.  Therefore, the CFRC, Ms. Wheeler, and other supporters will spend that night on the street with Art, in solidarity.


In doing so,  Art’s supporters wish to highlight the subjectivity and disparity in the VASH voucher eligibility determination, while calling attention to how this process shows deference to one illegal act (sleeping on the street) over another (squatting illegally in a house).  The law is one thing, but there is also the fact that there are currently 200 VASH vouchers in Colorado that have not been issued and that are at risk of being lost. 


We ask you, the media, to join us on August 25, 2014, at 2200L, directly across the street from the CRRC, at 3030 Downing Street (Denver), to cover this event.  It is our intention to escort Art Perreault to the CRRC, at the open of business on August 26, 2014, to sign the sworn affidavit required of him, to finally be considered homeless.



Darren O’Connor

Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition

Cell: (720)961-3869

[email protected]

Denver Magistrate Upholds Citizen's Right to Challenge Politicians

posted Nov 27, 2013, 8:49 AM by Steven Bailey

Darren O'Conner - 1st Amendment Victory!
November, 27th, 2013

In Denver yesterday, a county court magistrate struck down the attempt of Colorado State House Rep. Angela Williams to silence one of her many outspoken critics. By striking down an unwarranted restraining order Williams filed against her well-spoken critic the magistrate affirmed the right of Activist Darren O’Connor to hold Williams accountable for her actions to kill a foreclosure reform bill during the 2013 session.  

O'Connor is a lead organizer and activist with the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC) which includes Denver Metro Move-On and Occupy Denver. CFRC was part of a large citizen group led by the Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC) working to support foreclosure reform bill HB-1249. The bill would have addressed the unconstitutional aspects of Colorado’s foreclosure laws that were recently questioned by U.S. District Judge William Martinez.

Leading up to consideration of the bill Rep. Williams met with the Colorado Bankers Association while refusing to meet with victims and advocates working to stop foreclosure fraud that has resulted in the devastation of the community William’s represents.

Williams’ House District Seven includes two of Denver’s neighborhoods most devastated by foreclosure fraud. One district 7 neighborhood, Montebello, has suffered 56 percent of its homes being foreclosed on in the last 10 years according to Denver’s GIS records. This incredibly high foreclosure rate is due to unscrupulous and fraudulent mortgage practices perpetrated by the banks that was proved in the 25 billion dollar National Foreclosure Settlement.

O'Connor, appalled by Williams’ actions, determined to hold her accountable for her failure to represent and protect her community. He has been present at every Angela Williams event to ask her to address the foreclosure crisis. Mr. O’Connor’s efforts have inspired a larger group of citizens to take action to hold her accountable through protest and political debate.  In an attempt to silence Mr. O'Connor representative Williams filed a restraining order against him, and her spokespeople described him as a criminal at subsequent public meetings. Perhaps most disturbing is that, although all witnesses at the hearing for the restraining order, including police officers, testified that Mr. O’Connor was polite and well spoken, Rep. Williams claims she has obtained a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

In the ruling yesterday the magistrate determined that for a politician to file a restraining order against a constituent for questioning their actions is a violation of that constituents First Amendment rights whether or not that constituent lives within a politician's district. Expressing that when a representative holds a committee position that their responsibility is to represent the entire state not just their own district.

Mr. O'Connor was confident his name would be cleared, stating “When the law is clear we win. 

This ruling comes at a critical time in activist history. Throughout Denver groups have begun to hold individuals who take action to oppress or restrict the rights of citizens accountable for their actions. Since the passage of Denver's oppressive Urban Camping Ban, which criminalizes homeless people seeking shelter while sleeping on the street, protests have been held every week at local businesses that testified for the ban.

Protests of Snooze AM eatery every Sunday morning for 11 months helped lead the owner to recognize that the camping ban was misrepresented to them by the city and not helping the homeless community. Snooze AM eatery has now reversed their position on the ban and called for its repeal to the City Council and the Mayor.

Protest organizer Janet Matzen’s position on her right to protest is clear. Stating, “The ban is wrong. It's just plain wrong, and we will protest until it is repealed.”

The protest then moved to the Palm Restaurant where after 7 months and just before an organized International protest was to be launched, the Palm reversed their position on the ban and asked for its reform or repeal.

Both Mr. O'Connor and Miss Matzen’s actions show the old adage is true. One person can make a difference.

Green Shadow Cabinet Shows Solidarity with DOJ protesters

posted May 23, 2013, 8:52 PM by Steven Bailey

HOUSING: DOJ should be locking up bank execs, not housing rights protesters

May 22, 2013

The Green Shadow Cabinet stands in solidarity with the millions of homeowners who have lost their homes during the economic collapse.  I was pleased to seehomeowners standing up at the Department of Justice and non-violently occupying DOJ overnight.  That nearly 50 people were arrested standing up for their rights should give courage to others to join in calling for housing justice, and give pause to the current administration in continuing policies that favor corporate profits over people. I in particular applaud those protesters who used Jaime Dimon as their name when they were arrested to highlight the crimes of the CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

The Green Shadow Cabinet affirms the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is committed to the recognition that housing is a human right. We seek housing justice and a country where no one is homeless.

I join the Home Defenders League, Occupy Our Homes and others in their calls for the prosecution of the banks that are the root cause of the problem of the economic collapse and foreclosure crisis.

I hope these protests will become the beginning of a wave of resistance actions that will continue to build and pressure Department of Justice for criminal prosecution of the top executives at JPMorgan Chase and other exploitive banks. I join other members of the Cabinet in insisting that we break up the banks that were declared “too big to fail and jail.” We support a Green New Deal that ends foreclosures and homelessness in America, and that lowers mortgage principles to the real value of homes, not the inflated value. 

US Bank walks away from foreclosure on Aurora woman

posted May 12, 2013, 10:36 AM by Steven Bailey


US Bank walks away from foreclosure on Aurora woman

POSTED:   05/11/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
UPDATED:   05/11/2013 11:54:49 AM MDT
By David Migoya
The Denver Post
Lisa Brumfiel leaves federal court on Monday after a hearing to stop foreclosure on her Aurora home. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

US Bank on Friday backed down from its efforts to foreclose on an Aurora woman whose federal court battle against it has taken on the constitutionality of Colorado's foreclosure laws.

Just days after lawyers for the bank told a federal judge they've always had the original documents necessary to foreclose on Lisa Kay Brumfiel's tri-level house legally — and U.S. District Judge William J. Martínez said to produce them — the bank rescinded the whole thing.

Despite the move to make a nearly two-year nightmare to save her house go away, Brumfiel on Friday insisted she's pressing on.

"I would rather risk losing my house again than to selfishly watch this corrupt process continue for others," said Brumfiel, a 43-year-old part-time saleswoman who took on the court battles without a lawyer. "I know too much, and I don't want the blood of it on my hands."

But the ultimate decision might now be out of her hands.

US Bank on Friday told the Arapahoe County public trustee to withdraw the foreclosure case it filed in September 2011, then filed a request with Arapahoe County District Court Judge J. Mark Hannen to dismiss the order he signed last December to sell Brumfiel's house.

Closing the foreclosure case is automatic. The motion to the judge is not.

The bank's move could be a tactical one, legal experts said, designed to make not just Brumfiel's foreclosure go away, but her federal lawsuit, too.

Theoretically, US Bank could get Hannen to dismiss his order — whether Brumfiel agrees or not — and then ask for the federal case to be dismissed. Should Martínez agree, the bank could start a new foreclosure case against Brumfiel, forcing her into a whole new cycle of court battles.

But Martínez could also choose to ignore the request and move ahead with Brumfiel's claim that Colorado foreclosure law violates her constitutional right to due process.

Brumfiel's federal lawsuit initially sought to enjoin the county foreclosure sale of her house. To obtain that, Brumfiel must first prove she's in danger of imminent harm if the sale occurred.

Martínez issued an interim preliminary injunction Monday and scheduled a hearing for Wednesday.

But with no foreclosure, there might be no case.

"It's a tactic that would allow you to argue there's no longer any immediate harm because there's no longer a foreclosure," Keith Gantenbein, a foreclosure lawyer not involved in the case, said of the bank move to rescind.

"But then you turn right around and file again, forcing the homeowner to go through it all for another two years. It's designed to wear you down," he said. "Sadly, it happens a fair bit."

Attorneys for the bank refused to comment.

Brumfiel said the bank's initial offer to rescind, sent through its foreclosure attorneys at the Castle Law Group, came at midday Thursday and was sent to the lawyer who represented her in the original foreclosure proceeding 18 months ago.

That proceeding, known as a Rule 120 hearing, is at the core of Brumfiel's battle. The hearing is the only time a homeowner has the chance to challenge a bank's right to foreclose without having to file their own costly lawsuit.

Colorado's foreclosure process requires a state district judge to sign off on the sale of a property but first must determine whether the homeowner is in default of their loan and that they are not in the military.

Brumfiel tried to challenge that US Bank didn't prove it had the right to foreclose on her house because it had not shown how it acquired the rights to her loan and or that it had been assigned the deed of trust to the loan.

(The loan note is the promise to repay; the deed of trust is the lender's right to foreclose on the property if the borrower defaults.)

Brumfiel eventually waived her right to the hearing and signed a stipulation that she was likely to lose, mostly because Colorado law allows foreclosure lawyers to sign a statement saying — without having to prove — that their client, typically a bank or other lender, properly has the note and deed of trust.

It is that law Brumfiel is challenging in federal court, saying it violates her 14th Amendment right to due process.

But she needs the injunction first.

In a hearing Monday, attorneys for US Bank and the Castle Law Group, the Denver firm that handles the most foreclosures in Colorado, waved papers they said were the original deed of trust and note on Brumfiel's house, a $169,000 loan she took out in 2006 with First Franklin Financial.

At the time, First Franklin was the nation's fifth-largest subprime lender. It halted operations in 2008 and was acquired by Merrill Lynch.

The lawyers said all the documents carried the proper indorsements — legal transfer of ownership based on a signature, different from an endorsement, which is the signature itself.

Martínez agreed to have a full hearing on the matter Wednesday.

In Colorado, signatures showing transfer of ownership in a loan and deed of trust are not required. Known as "indorsed in blank," it is normally signed by the loan originator and left blank where the name of the bank to which ownership is transferred should be.

"The Rule 120 is harming Coloradans by eliminating almost any chance of due process, and relying on foreclosure attorneys to be ethical in the process of acquiring your home," Brumfiel said Friday.

In an order filed Thursday, Martínez told US Bank that he wanted to see original endorsements on the note and deed of trust by Friday. Endorsements are the signatures that appear on the back of the documents showing the chain of ownership.

The bank told the court Friday that it had only the blank undated indorsement on the loan from First Franklin.

David Migoya: 303-954-1506, [email protected]

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Clear Creek Courant Letter To The Editor (Darren O'Connor and Sahara Donahue)

posted Jan 2, 2013, 11:29 AM by Darren O'Connor

October 30th saw the most violent police response to a peaceful eviction resistance seen in the entirety of the United States since the crash of the mortgage market and the greater economy in 2007. Sara Donahue, having fought in court to stay in her home for nearly two years, turned to the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC) and Occupy Denver (OD) to help her stay in her home long enough to find an alternate residence and leave with dignity. The day before the eviction, after an action by CFRC and OD at a branch of the foreclosing U.S. Bank, Ms. Donahue spoke with their attorney by phone and was told, “We're going to evict tomorrow, the weather will be real nice for it".

That morning, two CFRC members attempted to speak with Sheriff Don Krueger to petition him to delay the eviction. They were told that the sheriff was unavailable to see them. They also requested to speak to the judge who had been formally petitioned to stay the eviction

During the day, one of the protesters was livestreaming the activity via the Internet. He videoed one of the activists holding a BB gun pistol that morning. He spoke clearly on air to say that it would not be present if the police showed up. Clear Creek County Sergeant Spraley, interviewed on the Pete Santilli show, confirmed that the police learned of the BB gun through the live stream. Captain Bruce Snelling has repeatedly described the BB gun only as a handgun, and has stated it was the reason for the storming of Ms. Donahue’s property and home by over 20 sheriffs and Clear Creek County SWAT team members.

Ms. Donahue’s door was smashed open and she found herself facing Snelling and a sheriff pointing his rifle at her.  The sheriff was dressed for a war zone, not the home of a 63 year old grandmother. Faced with Snelling yelling at her and a combat rifle pointed directly at her, Ms. Donahue told the latter, “Don’t point that thing at me,” which enraged him. He then picked Donahue up and threw her to the kitchen floor.

She feared being kicked or otherwise beaten, and quickly tried to stand up. Shaken, she was then escorted out of the house, where she witnessed the large number of similarly equipped SWAT members outside. Her voice still shakes when she tells the story, and the shock and frustration that such a group would be called in to evict her continues.

Regarding the alleged handgun, it was never found. It was a poor excuse for an even poorer response to a group of peaceful activists. No one denies the presence of a BB gun early in the day. But it was certainly NOT worth calling a SWAT team. Snelling should have phoned Donahue and began deescalating the situation, rather than putting the lives of his officers, the activists, and Donahue at risk.

How a Bank Stole My Home: Why I was Supporting Donahue

posted Nov 25, 2012, 10:02 AM by Steven Bailey

Submitted by SteveBailey on Sun, 11/04/2012 - 8:14pm.

My name is Steven Bailey. I am a professional land surveyor and I have owned and operated a successful small business. I was also involved in supporting Sahara Donahue in trying to get the Sheriff to not evict her that day. I would like to let you all know why.

As a business owner I was proud to able to employ my people, sponsor several youth soccer teams and donate several thousand dollars worth of services to local parks and recreation projects. I was able to become an asset to my community. I was what many consider the independent entrepreneur that is the foundation of job creation in the American Economy.

That is until, like tens of thousands of others, my home and place of business, was fraudulently foreclosed on. As most small businesses begin on kitchen tables and in garages, the effect of rubber stamped, fraudulent, and forced through foreclosures on the American economy is crippling. There have been over 15 million foreclosures since mortgage fraud crashed our economy in mid 2007. These foreclosures are not the calling in of debts that can not be paid. They are the result of many banks and attorneys taking advantage of the broken system for personal financial gain at the expense of the rest of American society. I support this bill not only because it will help those directly facing foreclosure, but also because it will help all of us affected by the collateral damage from the existing process. There has to be a point at which the members of our communities start standing up for one another. That point is now.

We explained the fraudulent nature of this foreclosure to the Sheriffs department prior to the eviction. We hoped they, as officers sworn to serve and protect the community, would choose to do the right thing and give Sahara just an extra few days for her appeal to get filed. Unfortunately they made the decision to endanger the public they are sworn to protect by assaulting peaceful protesters armed with automatic rifles and lethal ammunition.

We understand that the Sheriffs department feel they have no choice but to carry out the orders of the clerks who sign these eviction papers. We also understand that it has been through good men blindly following orders that most great tragedies of human history have been possible. We are not at war with our own people. A small group of peaceful unarmed protesters asking for a few extra days before eviction on behalf of a friend constitutes no threat to our community.

The true threat to our community comes from the banks that have distorted, manipulated and lobbied the law to make foreclosure fraud possible. The true threat to our community comes from when the very people who have sworn to project us from criminal action turn their guns on our friends and neighbors in order to protect the interests of the criminals defrauding us.

For more information on the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis and how to protect your self please visit

Bellow is my families story. Unfortunately it is the rule, not the exception.

We purchased our home in 2002 based on the fact that it had a separate entrance, a down town location, and multi-use zoning so we could run my land surveying firm from it. We were very happy with our small mortgage company. They even gave us a “You don’t have to pay your mortgage this Christmas” present one year.

Then we refinanced our house in 2006. Under the refinance, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage became the servicer of our note. As most Americans, when the economy crashed we took a hit and were late with a mortgage payment on a few occasions but were able to double pay in less than a month. We never missed a single scheduled mortgage payment.

We were solicited into the Home Affordable Modification Program by Wells Fargo on August 9th, of 2009 when we were current on our mortgage. The program was presented as a way to reduce our monthly payments by lowering our interest rate.

I would like to state that at no time was this program presented as a means to avoid foreclosure as we were current on our mortgage.

We applied for the program over the phone and were pre-approved. We were directed not to make the current August payment and no further payments until the first of three trial period payments on November 1st. We were told that if the financial information we provided was accurate and we made the three trial period payments on time that the modification would become permanent.

We met all the requirements of the program and made all the trial payments on time or early. We were notified around new Year’s that we would receive the loan modification agreement. Very pleased we awaited the agreement we were promised but never received. Instead we were sent a written request that we resend all the documentation we had submitted prior with updated information.

We immediately contacted Wells Fargo and were told that everything was fine and to continue making the modified payments. The process could take up to 12 months or more.

Over the next several months we responded to requests from Wells Fargo for additional documents and or replacement documents over and over again. We were given reasons from they had lost our documents to they had the documents on their screen but were not allowed to print them. We promptly complied with all requests no matter how ridiculous they were.

We began receiving statements saying we were now behind on our mortgage. Very confused and in a panic we immediately called Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo representatives repeatedly directed us to disregard these written statements. We were told that the “system” sent them out automatically from another department, and that the “system” did not have the ability to see that we were in a HAMP agreement. They attributed the discrepancies to glitches in a new “government program” and that everything was fine, “We were right on track.”

Regarding Wells Fargo as a large, well known, and reputable bank made us comfortable with the statements of their representatives.

We continued to make the modified payments and send in documents as directed despite our increasing frustration.

Then our world began to fall apart.

In mid April we were notified by mail that Wells Fargo would not honor the agreed upon modification. They stated we were denied for not sending in the required documents. Wells Fargo claimed that we had not paid our mortgage in six months and that we were in the foreclosure process. They stated that we had to pay $14,000 by May 1st to keep our home.

Let me make this very clear. We had made every payment that Wells Fargo, the servicer of our mortgage, required us to make.

In order to prove this, we acquired our credit report. To our shock and disbelief, Wells Fargo had destroyed our credit. They had reported us delinquent to the credit agencies from the time that we had agreed to participate in the loan modification program.

We immediately contacted Wells Fargo. Over the course of several frustrating phone calls with several representatives we were informed that the denial for lack of documentation was in error and would be corrected.

Five days later, Wells Fargo again denied our modification. This time claiming our financial situation, that had not changed since being enrolled in the program, did not meet the investor guide lines.

Once again we contacted Wells Fargo. Through another frustrating round of phone calls, it became clear to us as well as the department supervisor that they had mistakenly shown us as having a budget deficit when in fact we had a budget surplus. As this was the reason for our denial, the supervisor assured us that it would be corrected. He told us not to make our next payment until we heard from him, and he would contact us by May 5th.

The supervisor never contacted us. We then received a letter restating the denial of our modification by the investor. All further contact with Wells Fargo was through their collections department. This department had no knowledge of our payments made through the modification program. We were treated as if we had simply refused to pay our mortgage. There would be no negotiation. They would not accept any payments less than the full $17,000.

On May 27th, Wells Fargo referred our loan to their attorneys to begin foreclosure proceedings.

We then contacted their attorney confidant that with a single responsible party looking into the matter the errors would be corrected. It was just a matter of simple addition and subtraction. The attorney made it clear that their job was not to determine whether or not a foreclosure was valid. Their job was to simply foreclose. We were told that if there was an error to contact Wells Fargo and they would catch and correct it.

We then contacted Wells Fargo several times again but they were unable to resolve the issue.

On June 23rd we received our first notice of hearing for foreclosure.

After having been misled, strung along, and frustrated by Wells Fargo over the last year we determined that our best chance of resolving this situation would be at the foreclosure hearing.

We were reassured by court staff several weeks prior to our hearing that our case would be heard and the outcome was not a forgone conclusion. We then prepared a detailed statement with all supporting documents fully tabulated in chronological order and in triplicate to present at the hearing.

At our actual hearing on July 27th the Court would not read our statement but after a verbal summary was very appalled and sympathetic. Unfortunately she claimed to be utterly powerless to help us. She then signed the order to foreclose.

On September 21st, 2010 a little over a year after we started this process our home, and my place of business, that we had never missed a payment on, was sold at auction. It still sits vacant today.

Through this entire year long process, we were never allowed to speak to the same representative more than once. Every phone call we made, we had to tell the entire story again from the beginning.

Taking someone’s home, ruining their credit, tarnishing their reputation, threatening their livelihood, and risking forcing them into homelessness is a serious responsibility that warrants being handled by a qualified professional.

By denying our repeated requests to speak to a specific representative it became clear that the communication difficulties were not unintentional. Wells Fargo had put in place a deliberate policy designed to maintain an appearance of negligence in order to camouflage their actual purpose. Defrauding people out of their homes to collect the lucrative servicing fees they charge the investment firms to handle a foreclosure.

Like most victims of fraud I look back and feel stupid. How could we not see what Wells Fargo was doing? It is so obvious now. When we signed up for the modification program Wells Fargo instructed us not to make a payment for 3 months. What we interpreted as a welcome break was a ploy to send us into default.

That then justified to the investor paying Wells Fargo huge fees to “try to keep us from defaulting”. Wells Fargo then strung us along as long as we would play ball, collecting more fees every time they reprocessed the same paper work.

When the fees being paid by the investor added up to a point that they could no longer be justified, the investor ordered Wells Fargo to foreclose. No problem for Wells Fargo, They have fees for that as well.

Now the attorneys get to take their cut. The “only looser” is the investor, who has hedged their bets, with insurance against just such a thing.

After seeing what I fell for you may think I am as dumb as I feel, but in my defense. I am not a financial professional. I am a an average American, doing my job, taking care of my family, paying my bills, and trying to help my neighbor along the way. Just as a banker does not have the time to become an expert land surveyor to keep me from steeling their land, I do not have the time to become an expert banker to keep them from steeling my house.

It is a base code of business and personal ethics that keeps an economy and society from destroying it’s self. If that code of ethics becomes too obscure in certain professions the responsibility then falls on the law to correct.

In business, renegotiation is a standard practice when the original assumptions made at the time of contract turn out to be false or incorrect. If contracts made in good faith were not renegotiated, when costs increase dramatically, very few projects would reach completion. If one party fails to take some responsibility and refuses to renegotiate they will force the other party into bankruptcy and the entire project will fail.

This is precisely the situation reflected in the foreclosure crisis. When lenders fail to legitimately work with homeowners to find reasonable solutions they force families into easily avoidable foreclosures and push the rest of our economy closer to failure.

Legitimate home modifications can go a long way to helping repair our economy. Many loans that are at risk of default can be saved with a simple renegotiation of the terms of the loan. The math is simple, when a loan is saved every one wins. The investor gets more return than they would at auction, a family gets to keep their home, a community gets to keep it’s neighbors, and the American economy gets to recover.

Please stand up for our community.

Police, protesters clash over foreclosure

posted Nov 25, 2012, 10:00 AM by Steven Bailey   [ updated Nov 25, 2012, 10:03 AM ]

 By Ian Neligh

Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm (Updated: November 5, 5:04 pm)

Some 22 SWAT officers and assorted county employees showed up at the scene of a home-foreclosure eviction after authorities received a report that an Occupy Denver demonstrator at the scene was carrying a firearm. 

No injuries were reported during the brief confrontation, and the suspect firearm turned out to be a BB gun. 

When protesters blocked a bulldozer brought in to push aside an obstruction of trees, two demonstrators were detained for interfering with police. The two later were issued summonses and released.

The incident occurred in the driveway at 170 Peaceful Valley Lane, which is 9 miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103. The Courant was unable to talk with the resident, who had lived on the property for 25 years.

Occupy Denver organized the protest of the eviction, which had been ordered by the Clear Creek County Court, according to officials.

The Sheriff's Office gave protesters the chance to leave, and the majority did.

According to sheriff’s Capt. Bruce Snelling, uniformed officers typically conduct evictions, but the office had received information that a protester was carrying a gun. The Sheriff’s Office said deploying the SWAT unit was the best way to keep everyone involved safe.

Steve Bailey, protester and organizer with Occupy Denver, said the organization was approached to help persuade the sheriff’s department not to carry out the eviction. He said protesters were surprised when SWAT officers carrying assault rifles arrived.


The incident

The Clear Creek/Gilpin SWAT unit, consisting of 22 officers, found 15 protesters blocking the driveway and the doors of the house when they arrived.

A video taken by one of the protesters shows five SWAT members coming down a dirt road while being challenged by a number of protesters, one with a megaphone. An officer yelled at the group to leave immediately. 

The confrontation became heated as it moved onto Highway 103. One man, reluctant to back away from police, was told he was interfering and was put in flexicuffs and placed on the ground. Things escalated, and a second man passed his camera to another protester as he also was arrested for interfering.


Decision to deploy SWAT

Snelling said the Sheriff’s Office had reliable information that a protester was carrying a gun in his waistband. At that point, he said, the office had to respond.

"The police have a plus-one rule: 'If there's one gun, there's probably another.' I'm now responsible for the safety of not only (the resident), I'm responsible for the safety of the protesters … the law enforcement people and ambulance folks, and Road and Bridge or whoever else we need up there," Snelling said. "I'm now responsible for this mass of folks, and we got to keep them all safe. As we saw that there was a potential for a lethal threat there, we responded appropriately."

Snelling said law enforcement provided an appropriate tactical response to the situation.

"All those people, and they knew it from the time they hit the ground there, were in violation of trespassing. The home didn't belong to (the resident any longer). It certainly didn't belong to them. Anybody on that property was considered trespassing," Snelling said.

 "At the end of the day, regardless of what anybody's opinion is, everybody was safe, nobody went to the hospital, nobody was hurt, and I was thankful that it ended in the fashion that it ended," Snelling said.


’This is a nonviolent protest’

Bailey said the Occupy Denver protesters were trying to support the resident’s wish to stay in the home.

"(We just wanted) to let them know that we were supporting her," Bailey said. "We wanted for her to have every opportunity she could to let the legal system follow its course, that it might help her stay in her home."

Without giving specifics, Bailey said there have been several instances elsewhere when successful occupations of homes persuaded local authorities to give a homeowner more time to work things out.

Bailey said the BB gun was intentionally shown on a live Internet stream of the event as not being real.

"I'm assuming that's what they saw as a firearm. … A very concerted effort was made to identify it as not a dangerous weapon. I think they even filmed them putting it away and making several statements about, 'It is not a weapon; this is a nonviolent protest,' " Bailey said. "It's unfortunate that there was a BB gun at all, (but) whether it was a legitimate excuse for coming in with live ammunition instead of making a phone call?"

Bailey said that, if asked, the group would have turned the BB gun over to police.

"We had no idea that there were any concerns about violence. Had they made any attempt to contact us prior, it would have been made very clear," Bailey said. "It's shocking. We're wondering whether it was sort of a 'Let's show them what we're capable of so that they don't attempt to help another homeowner.' "


Contact Ian Neligh at [email protected], and check for updates and breaking news.

Steve Bailey's response to the above story. 

Ustream footage of the eviction from Odarren

posted Nov 4, 2012, 2:03 PM by Steven Bailey

Occupier Michael Stedman's Article In OpEdNews Regarding The Eviction Resistance

posted Oct 31, 2012, 8:35 PM by Darren O'Connor   [ updated Nov 2, 2012, 5:59 AM by Steven Bailey ]

Sheriffs, SWAT, and Assault Rifles -- A Foreclosure Story

By  (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
OpEdNews Op Eds 10/31/2012 at 20:27:07

          Idaho Springs, Colorado may seem like a quiet, peaceful, and even quaint little town off I-70 in the mountains west of Denver.   However, in the early afternoon of October 30, 2012, the Clear Creek County Sheriff's office proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that looks can be extremely deceiving.   Make no mistake; this is not a kind-hearted Mayberry RFD type of law enforcement.   This was a tactical, military-style assault against unarmed, peaceful protesters.

          But first, let's go back a bit in order to give you a little better understanding of the events leading up to, as well as during, their demonstration of excessive use of force.

          Sahara Donahue has lived in her home for over 20 years, has been a volunteer in her community, and was a decent law-abiding citizen.   She suffered injuries from a near-fatal accident, including a head injury that was not properly diagnosed until over a year after the accident.   She could no longer perform the duties of her job, and therefore was forced to rely on the generosity of friends to help pay her mortgage for several years.   She made every attempt to communicate and work with the banks, and even retained the services of an attorney, in the hopes of finding some resolution to keep her home.   However, the banks (as well as a corrupt Realtor) apparently had different plans.

          Near the end of her financial resources, she reached out for help and Occupy Denver along with Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition (CFRC) responded.   People began sending word out via phone calls, emails, social media, and any other means possible to spread awareness of the situation.   Some even responded by travelling to stand with Sahara at her home.   A potential eviction on Thursday (Oct 25) did not occur, so even more people began to heed the call to protest the next expected eviction on Tuesday (Oct 30). Also, several of us gathered in front of the US Bank building in downtown Denver at noon on Monday to support Sahara as she attempted to gain entry into the building to physically speak to someone, and request a 60-day extension in order to find other living arrangements.

          After she was given a run-around by US Bank, several of us made our way up the canyon to stand with her and support her in case the eviction went through the following day.   Later in the day we were informed that the only compromise offered to Sahara involved her immediate eviction -- BUT -- they would be magnanimous enough to store her things for 30 days.   Those of us at the house began planning our course of action for the remainder of the night as well as for Eviction Day.

          We barricaded the driveway with fallen trees to limit access to the house, and held several impromptu meetings to discuss our tactics.   Sahara's wishes were for us to be respectful when the Sheriff arrived, since she has a history with this community.   We agreed that we would all respect her wishes and approach the situation in a peaceful manner.   We were led to believe that the Realtor would be arriving with a crew of workers to remove items from the house, and that the Sheriff would be there to "keep the peace."   Sahara had also asked one of the group's members to be a spokesman.   He would speak directly with those who arrived and deliver legal letters to the Sheriff.   This way things would proceed smoothly and help eliminate any unnecessary escalation.

          As night closed in we shared stories, discussed ideas, and enjoyed each other's company in a very peaceful, positive environment.   Eventually people began to settle down for the night.   Most were sleeping in the house on couches or on the floor, while I and another went out to sleep in our tents beside the barricade in case of any unexpected late-night surprises.

          The following morning we all began to stir as coffee was brewing. There seemed to be an overall sense of optimism among the group.   We received word of some more people coming up to join us, and we had another meeting to determine tactics regarding the expected arrivals for the eviction.   Several of us collected more timber to fortify the barricades, others were making food, and everyone was ready for whatever was coming (or so we thought).

          The first arrival of the day was a truck hauling a dumpster that was apparently to be left there for the workers to put her things in.   Seeing the barricades, he got out and spoke with us.   He was very friendly and supportive towards us, and then called his supervisor who after several minutes instructed him to bring the dumpster back.   We had our first victory of the day and the excitement filled the air.

          A while later a white van filled with workers from a "day labor" company pulled up and stopped.   These were the men who were supposed to remove her belongings from the house.   They needed to wait for the Sheriff to arrive, and since there is no cell-phone service in the area, they just relaxed and spoke with us for a while.   We even tried to recruit a few of them to stand with us, but to no avail.   Finally they decided to leave in order to go back down the mountain to find a place with better reception to make calls.   We all began a second celebration as we filled the air with singing, "Na na na na, hey hey hey, GOOD-BYE!"

          Things were really starting to look up for us.   We felt we had made some incredible progress.   Then we heard a vehicle coming.   Around the corner I saw a Sheriff's vehicle through the trees as it was approaching.   Then I saw behind it another, and another, and another.   About 10 vehicles filled with men in what appeared to be full battle gear (and assault weapons already in hand) began to fill the road in front of the house.   In all our planning and meetings, we never expected this kind of response.   After all, we were led to believe that the Sheriff was only going to be there to "keep the peace."   And don't forget that we were unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.

          The spokesman of our group got on the megaphone and began trying to get everyone to converge up at the house, but it was already too late.   The Tactical Response Team had already reacted.   As we were rushing up the driveway, we were cut off by several men gripping their assault rifles as they began shouting at us to get on the ground on our knees.   To my left, the spokesman was coming up, shouting on the megaphone, attempting to discern who was in charge since he had the letters to deliver.   The officers didn't care; in fact as the spokesman was telling them he had letters, one of the officers shouted back, "No, you don't have letters!", and they continued ordering us to get on our knees.   We remained standing and continued trying to open up some kind of conversation.

          At this point, I was standing there with the spokesman, and a few others.   I am about 6'2" tall and about 200 lbs.   The others standing with me were as big, if not bigger, with the exception of an older gentleman to my left.   Since none of us would get on our knees, these fully armed, militarized officers decided to arrest the smallest and oldest person there.   With all their firepower and intimidation techniques, they targeted the least imposing person there.   They put him face down in the dirt and gravel, and cuffed his hands behind him with their zip-tie handcuffs.

          Finally, the man in charge came forward, but when he was presented with the letters, he informed us that he would take them but it didn't matter.   He then folded them up without even really looking at them. It was obvious that those with the money and the guns couldn't have cared less about the injustice taking place, and they were ready and willing to do whatever was necessary to shut us down.

          I was offered a ride by one of the activists, since the Sheriff was so gracious to let some of us go without further incident.   As we made our way down the private drive, we saw at the bottom of the hill the bulldozer that was just waiting to tear through our barricades, and the van of day-labor workers ready to fulfill their job descriptions.   After a couple turns down Hwy 103 another realization occurred to me.   There on the shoulder of the road was an ambulance waiting on stand-by.   Maybe I am mistaken, but it would appear that the Sheriff's Department was prepared to do, and had every intention of doing, whatever was necessary to obey their bank's wishes.

          We pulled into a local convenience store after making it into town.   As we sat collecting our thoughts, and trying to decompress after the events that had transpired, I was struck by something else.   I watched the people of the town as they nonchalantly passed by and it occurred to me that this was a sort of metaphor about our entire society today.   Just up the hill, innocent people were having guns shoved in their faces, people were being evicted from their homes, and much more.   At the same time, the rest of the town went about its daily routine, completely oblivious as to what was going on just around the corner.

Isn't that what is happening in society as a whole?   People all over the world are being victimized, enslaved, oppressed, tortured, and killed.   In the meantime, the majority of people keep turning a blind and/or ignorant eye, simply because they feel it doesn't concern them.   They may not like it, but they refuse to even lift a finger to help because that would interfere with their comfortable, deluded lives.   Little do they know that there is very little standing between their comfy lives and living on the street, having guns pointed at them, or much worse.   By the time they finally do lift a finger, it will be far too late for them.

KGNU Story About The SWAT Team Evicting CFRC And Occupy Denver

posted Oct 31, 2012, 8:32 PM by Darren O'Connor   [ updated Nov 4, 2012, 5:42 PM by Steven Bailey ]

The story begins at 17 minutes in the broadcast. The image here is of Fred Henrich, released shortly after this photo was taken (though it must have felt like a long time).

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