On Saturday, May 19 at 10:40 am members of Occupy the East End carried out a People’s Foreclosure at the Bank of America branch on Newtown Lane in downtown East Hampton, New York, one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Bank of America is one of the nation’s biggest banks, a notorious “robo-signer” and one of the biggest perpetrators of the corrupt and illegal financial transactions that precipitated the 2008 economic collapse.
While some OEE members stood guard outside with their banner, others entered the bank. They demanded to speak to the manager, but were told she was out of town. They then asked for the People’s Foreclosure statement to be faxed to BofA’s CEO. “We can only send internal communications,” said an assistant manager. “This is an internal communication,” they replied, pointing out that this was going from BofA to BofA. We don’t know whether the request was carried out.
OEE members mic-checked the statement below. During the mic-check, the bank was “locked down” and local police were summoned. As it had been decided by consensus that this action would cooperate with the police request to leave, we agreed to leave upon the officers’ request.
We asked whether we would receive the customary three warnings before having to leave. The officer replied no. “You’re in their business. This is private property. You need to leave now. You can protest on the sidewalk,” said the cops, “as long as you don’t block pedestrian traffic.” So we moved to the sidewalk.
Once at the sidewalk, the mic-check continued. Officers requested one of our members to step back inside the branch where, vampire-like, the manager “retracted our permission” to be inside. Police demanded ID and a phone number for that member, who was then allowed to leave, but not before pointing out to the manager and the police that we were there to fight for them too.
Here’s the statement:
Under and by virtue of the inherent power of the 99% of the American people, we, the members of Occupy the East End, hereby notify the Bank of America branch at 14 Newtown Lane, in the village of East Hampton, in the State of New York, that we are hereby filing this notice of foreclosure and eviction.
We, the people of the East End of Long Island, New York, claim legal title to and ownership of this facility as of 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 19th day of May, 2012. Please vacate the premises immediately. Your personal possessions will be removed and sold at auction.
In addition, we demand that Bank of America cease and desist all pending actions related to eviction or foreclosure, regardless of cause.
We demand that Bank of America immediately return all evicted persons to their homes, plus compensate them for any and all losses caused by the Bank’s actions, plus interest at the highest rate charged by any credit card issued by the Bank.
In cases where new homeowners now reside in the homes of people displaced by the Bank’s illegal actions, we demand that the Bank of America provide a replacement home at, or above, the highest pre-2008 valued assessment of homes from which victims were evicted, or a cash payment in said amount, plus interest at the highest rate charged by any credit card issued by the Bank.
In June 2011 a customer at the Capitol One branch next to the Bank of America branch in East Hampton left behind an ATM receipt showing that he had a balance of $ 99,864,731.94. This customer is one of hundreds of multimillionaire 1%ers whose predatory behavior, in conjunction with the perfidy of the banks, have reduced our community and our nation to a state of permanent austerity and suffering. Bank of America has similar customers with similar balances. We therefore demand that Bank of America establish a fund in the amount of $100 million—the balance of one checking account—in order to serve the immediate needs of the hardest-hit residents of the East End of Long Island.
This eviction is predicated upon Bank of America’s default of basic civil responsibility and honest business practices, having been evidenced by, among other actions, engaging in the foreclosure and evictions of families with the goal of earning profits in the wake of a national financial crisis which was partly caused by the reckless dealings of said Bank, the greed and avarice of the Bank’s overpaid executives, who frequently resorted to “robo-signings,” and the filing of fraudulent Deeds of Trust in executing said illegal foreclosures and evictions, plus the secret and illegal extraction of at least $45 billion in public funds from the U.S. Treasury.
The greed continues. Your leader, Brian Moynihan, was ranked America’s second-worst bank CEO of 2011 by Fortune magazine, yet he paid himself an obscene $7 million the same year that he prepared to fire 30,000 employees. Meanwhile, your Bank imposed a monthly fee for people to use debit cards—cards originally issued in order to replace human tellers, whom you fired after years of loyal service at low wages. Brian Moynihan says: “We have a right to make a profit.” No, you don’t. Not when you’re breaking the law. Not when you’re evicting people from their homes illegally.
Bank of America and the other big banks illegally evicted four million American families since 2008. Bank of America was responsible for nearly half of these. But only 750,000 will get help under the new settlement—average payouts of $2000 each. You stole houses for $2000 each.
For example, in one instance, Bank of America/Countrywide caused to be filed a Notice of Default against a consumer who did not miss any payments justifying the issuance of any default notification whatsoever.
Additionally, thousands of consumers were allegedly told by Bank of America/Countrywide employees and/or agents that they will all have to “wait” in order to be allowed to modify their loans. Bank of America/Countrywide further represented to consumers that they would not be penalized for failing to make mortgage payments or any property-related payments, and indeed, told the consumers that it is beneficial for consumers to fall further behind in their payments because that will “make it easier” to modify the unreasonable adjustable loans. Instead, the moment that consumers fell three months or more in arrears (as ordered by the bank) the bank immediately began foreclosure proceedings by filing notice of defaults and backing consumers into a corner with zero options and at the mercy of the lender. These types of foreclosure practices are illegal and unethical and we demand that they stop immediately.
We are Occupy the East End.
You should have expected us.
We will not be silenced.
For delivery to:
Brian T. Moynihan
President and CEO
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporate Center
Charlotte, NC 28255