Urgent Action Needed: Stop AG’s/Obama from letting banks off the hook for fraud!
A sweetheart deal, letting the banks off the hook for fraud and absolving them of all liability is being hammered out in a room in Chicago right now! We must stop this grave miscarriage of justice and protect families and communities against the high crimes of Wall Street banks!
First, here is what you can do:
Sign the petition at New Bottom Line.
Call Attorney General Lisa Madigan at 312 814-3000.
Call the White House at (202) 456-1111
Tell them: Do not let the banks off the hook. The 50 state settlement must result in writing down all principal to current market value, no less than $300 billion in damages, and no waiver of liability other than robo-signing. If you are willing add: I will not vote for any elected official who supports a weak settlement and sides with the 1% over the 99%.
After Bank of America and the other big banks were caught fraudulently foreclosing on families in 2010, the 50 states attorneys general announced that they would file a joint lawsuit against the banks to demand restitution for those harmed and to prevent such abuses in the future. With AG Lisa Madigan on the executive committee of the suit, we all had great hopes that they would get the job done and finally hold these Wall Street banks accountable. More than a year later, after lots of back room meetings and the involvement of the Obama administration, it looks like they are on their way to handing another victory to Wall Street.
HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan is in Chicago today to convince states Attorneys General to back a settlement that would let the banks off the hook for their role in the foreclosure crisis – paying a tiny fraction of what’s needed in exchange for blanket immunity from future lawsuits.
This is unacceptable.
President Obama has the ability to stop and change the direction of this sweetheart deal. And he must choose. Will he settle for a deal that benefits the one percent and lets the big banks get away with their crimes? Or will he stand with the 99 percent and push for real accountability and a solution that will help millions of people in this country?
Here are the hard facts about the housing crisis we face:
- 3.5 million Americans are homeless.
- 18.5 million homes sit vacant.
- Since 2007 more than 7.5 million homes have been foreclosed.
- Default and foreclosure rates are now several times higher than at any time since the Great Depression.
Meanwhile, a report by New Bottom Line states that average banker pay at the six biggest banks hit an all-time high in 2011.
Instead of going to bonuses and compensation, this money could used to rebuild the economy decimated by the Wall Street banks during the mortgage crisis. Specifically:
- Just half of the banks’ bonus and compensation pools would be enough to write down the principals on all underwater mortgages in the country.
- If the six banks took half of their bonus and compensation pool and put it directly into a public service jobs fund, they could create 1.8 million jobs, and still have enough money left over to pay the average employee $60,605.
- Just 72% of the $144 billion in bonuses and compensation at the top six banks would have been enough money to plug the $102.9 billion in budget holes for all 50 states for the current fiscal year.
1) Only with bold and courageous action, can President Obama restore our economy, provide real relief and opportunity for millions of people, and hold those accountable for who have unfairly and illegally taken so much from us. The Administration needs to use all the options at their disposal, from the Department of Justice to the SEC and the regulators to stand up for the 99% and hold Wall Street accountable. President Obama must:
a) Enact a full investigation into the fraudulent and illegal activities of the big banks.
b) The 50 states Attorneys Generals are negotiating a settlement with the big banks on their mortgage fraud activities-but reports say the deal will only result in $20-$25 billion for principal reduction. There can be no “sweetheart deal” percent deal with the big banks.
c) The big banks, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase, must agree to a minimum of $$336 billion in principal reduction for underwater homeowners nationwide-especially for communities of color who were most targeted with fraudulent mortgage practices.
2) While banks, government officials and AGs meet behind closed doors, homeowners are left out in the cold.
a) The administration and the Attorneys General must recognize homeowners as a party of interest to the settlement, and give us a seat at the table.
b) Before any settlement is reached, the terms must be shared and discussed with homeowners and the public. We all have a stake in this settlement, and we should all have a say.
Our Actions Today:
80 leaders from IIRON and its affiliates SOUL and Northside POWER along with Illinois Peoples Action, Lakeview Action Coalition, National Peoples Action, New Bottom Line and Moveon assembled at the Thompson Center and delivered a letter to the staff of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The letter demanded a deal that was fair to underwater homeowners or NO DEAL! The group then moved on to the Obama for America office in the Prudential Building where we were met by a huge detail of security and police who refused us access. The group negotiated a delegation of 5 to meet with a representative of OFA. An office manager was sent down who said he could not speak for the campaign but that he would have to talk to those who could. We asked to meet with “those who could” but were refused. We asked for a meeting with David Axelrod and were given the campaign number for the media.
About 30 of the leaders then made their way from downtown to the OHare Hilton where the AG’s were meeting with HUD Secretary Donavan and other administration officials but were denied access to the meeting room by another extremely heavy security detail. The group delivered a box of chocolates and a card reading: “Don’t give your love (and our money) to the 1%” signed, The 99%. Here is a link with video from our action today. Also Chicago Tribune coverage here and Firedoglake coverage here.
If you are reading this, we need you to move from thinking the right thoughts to doing the right thing. Please make the call and sign the petition to help us create the groundswell needed to stop one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in America’s history. If you want to get involved, go to contact us and fill out a form.
We’ll see in you in the streets….