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Did Occupy Wall Street Steal A Brooklyn Home?

Brooklyn foreclosure OWSLast month the Occupy Wall Street movement took over a Brooklyn house in foreclosure, with the stated intent of rehabilitating the property for the use of a homeless family.

The new family apparently hasn’t moved in yet, and the homeowner is claiming that he wants the property back.  Seems as if he abandoned the house and fell into foreclosure as a result of job loss, but Wise Ahadzi is looking to do what he needs to do in order to get back into the house.

Unfortunately, the OWS folks aren’t so interested in letting his take back the property. A search of the Office of the City Register shows that Ahadzi is still the record owner of the house.  That could mean that the bank hasn’t completed the foreclosure process or that a referee’s sale has yet to be recorded.

So the wrap-up appears to be that the homeless family hasn’t moved in and the do-gooders of OWS aren’t letting the rightful owner back into the house either.  One more Brooklyn foreclosure sitting empty and forlorn.

Clearly, this leaderless movement could have used a leader.  Perhaps a lawyer who could speak to squatter’s rights and the legality of taking over a house to which it had no legal rights.  Foreclosure or not, if Ahadzi is still the record owner then it’s his place to surrender or keep.

If Bank of America (or Chase, or Wells Fargo, or … well, or anyone) had taken this action, consumer advocate groups would have been screaming about wrongful foreclosure – and rightfully so.

When “the 99%” does it in the name of the public good, the press heralds it as a modern-day Robin Hood.  To me, it sounds as if there’s one more foreclosure mess to clean up in Brooklyn.

The whole purpose of the legal system is to ensure that all parties to a dispute have due process.  The homeowner is entitled to know if someone is swiping his property, regardless of whether he was using it or not.  I wonder if the OWS movement would take over my place if my family were to go on vacation?

Next time, the OWS folks might want to think this one through.  Because in my world, locking out a legal owner isn’t such a good deed.

If you’re looking for more on the subject, here are a few articles:

 

Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh

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By |January 17th, 2012|

About the Author:

I’ve been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I’m a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.

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