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"Flash Occupation" staged in L.A. to demand Wall Street pay fair share

02-10-2012 13:32 BJT

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- "Flash Occupation" was staged here at several Wall Street bank branches Thursday in an attempt to escalate pressure on them to pay a fair share and stop foreclosures.

More than 200 people from struggling communities in Los Angeles organized by Good Jobs LA, along with unemployed workers, community groups, labor organizations and Occupy LA activists demonstrated in front of the Bank of America Plaza.

They shouted slogans and raised banners to demand banks stop foreclosures.

The return to the Bank of America Plaza is part of the day of action with flash occupations occurring across Los Angeles at branches and buildings owned by Wall Street banks in Westwood, Inglewood, Compton and downtown LA.

"Those who have lost their houses and jobs gathered to send a message to the bank owners that the government has bailed them out with the tax payers' money, but they have failed to do their part to get our economy back on track. We also want to send a message to the White House that the government should put pressure on those Wall Street banks to stop their greed and pay their fair share," Refugio Mata, spokesman of the Good Jobs LA organization, told Xinhua.

He said protesters gathered at Bank of America Plaza because the bank is the most notorious in treating its customers on foreclosures.

"The 99 percent movement is spreading across Los Angeles to a building near you," said local resident Debra Taylor-Padgett who is currently unemployed and is struggling to support her daughter.

"Last December I was part of a delegation from LA that traveled to Washington DC to take our message to Congress. We marched on K Street to protest the influence of corporate lobbyists that control the politicians and we came back to Los Angeles energized. Now mothers, fathers, and people from all walks of life just like me are taking action in our own communities," said Taylor-Padgett.

According to Good Jobs LA, Wall Street banks are continuing to wait on the sidelines and failing to do their part to get the U.S. economy back on track.

When Wall Street needed help after their greed and recklessness crashed the U.S. economy, Congress rushed to bail them out with billions of taxpayer money, now Wall Street corporations and banks are sitting on 2 trillion dollars in cash but failing to invest in local communities to create good jobs, Mata told Xinhua.

He said Bank of America took 230 billion dollars in bailouts, made 4 billion dollars in profits over the past two years and paid its CEO 10 million dollars in 2010, but contributed zero in federal taxes in 2009 and 2010 while cutting small business lending by 89 percent since the economic crash.

Also, Bank of America is at the heart of the foreclosure fraud scandal. An executive at the bank admitted to signing up to 8,000 foreclosure documents per month without reviewing the information in each file to ensure that the bank had a legal right to proceed with foreclosure, according to Good Jobs LA.

On the same day, the five largest mortgage servicers in the United States -- Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and three other U.S. banks, reached a 25 billion-dollar settlement with 49 states and the U.S. government to end a probe of abusive foreclosure practices stemming from the collapse of the housing bubble.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the agreement the largest federal-state civil settlement in the U.S. history.

The agreement includes a 1.5-billion-dollar payment to some 750,000 borrowers who lost their homes due to foreclosure. About 17 billion dollars will pay for mortgage debt forgiveness, forbearance, short sales and other assistance to homeowners. Servicers will also refinance 3 billion dollars in re-financings to lower homeowners' interest rates.

According to the www.realtytrac.com, there are 1,337,816 foreclosure homes in the United States.

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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