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Main Stream Media Ignoring Foreclosure Fall-Out?

by Richard Prince, The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education 

 BLACKS, AFRICAN AMERICAN, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, AFRO AMERICANS

 

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller speaks Tuesday with community leaders and homeowners battling to hang on to their properties during a meeting on the nation's mortgage industry problems at First Christian Church in Des Moines. (Credit: Christopher Gannon/Des Moines Register)

 

"Iowa’s attorney general said yesterday that he will bring criminal charges over the foreclosure scandal. But most of the press doesn’t have the news," Ryan Chittum reported for the Columbia Journalism Review.

"Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism picks up on this story, as does The Huffington Post and HousingWire.

"But the only mainstream media coverage it got was in the Des Moines Register and Reuters.

"This is a story the rest of the press might want to report. The ante just got upped bit on this scandal.

"This isn’t necessarily just another politician blowing smoke. BusinessWeek put the longtime AG, Tom Miller, on its cover a couple of years ago with the headline 'They Warned Us About the Mortgage Crisis.' He and other state attorneys general tried to crack down on predatory lending but were preempted by the Bush administration. And he’s heading up the joint investigation by all fifty states into the scandal. It’s worth following what he has to say.

"Especially when it’s 'we will put people in jail.'

"That’s also notable, since as we discussed last week, no major executive has gone to jail for the financial crisis and its fallout. It’s unclear, of course, if Iowa will be able to prosecute executives or just the low-level employees who implemented the fraud."

At a hearing on the causes of the foreclosure crisis Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., Detroit lawyer Vanessa Fluker said she would like to address "this media perception has been that for some reason we have all these massive foreclosures because you have this multitude of people who bit off more than they could chew; who went into homes that just were exorbitant and beyond their reach.

"This is not true," Fluker said. "The majority of people in subprime mortgages are the working poor — minorities and senior citizens — and that is what constitutes and makes up the majority of my practice. Unfortunately, the scenario is such that these subprime mortgages were marketed and pushed disparately on the working poor, minorities and senior citizens.

"For instance, to give a real-life first-hand perspective, my client, Ms. Harp [phonetic spelling], works every day as a legal assistant; mother dying of cancer; been fighting for two years to get a modification with Bank of America. Who, by the way, just got $7 billion additionally in January of this year to do that.

"No go. They're proceeding to eviction on that matter right now. The only reason eviction hasn't occurred is because there may be some impropriety with the affidavits and documentation.

"My client is a senior citizen who was diagnosed with dementia in 2000, who was put in a pay-option ARM mortgage in 2007, who we're still fighting. Of course, this is family now, seeing as we've been fighting so long. He died a week and a half ago.

"My client who has a farm in Michigan who was put in a subprime residential mortgage, interest-only, but now it covers his house and his whole farm. And they're foreclosing and trying to take the whole farm.

"Or most — even more egregious, my client who is on active duty in Iraq, serving his country, comes back. He's in foreclosure. They're like, 'Oh, well, too bad. We can't work with you. We can't modify your loan.'

"This is just a sampling of what I deal with every day, and it is voluminous."

 

 


STORY TAGS: BLACKS, AFRICAN AMERICAN, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, AFRO AMERICANS



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