San Francisco Bay Area Foreclosure Summit to Discuss Options for Helping Defrauded Home Owners Combat Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Other Lenders

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A free Foreclosure Summit will be held Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, 1 – 4 PM at the New Community of Faith church, 6350 Rainbow Drive, San Jose, CA. The discussion will begin with presentations by an expert panel focusing on how people can reduce their financial risks and deal more effectively with the threat of foreclosure through (1) improved financial literacy and more effective (2) legal and (3) political action. The event is sponsored by Home Owners for Justice, Occupy San José, and the Green Party of Santa Clara County.

The banks were putting someone in a home for a few months and then tossing him out after having stripped him of his life savings.
Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Economist, Freefall

On September 15, Henrietta Burroughs, editor-in-chief of East Palo Alto Today, will moderate a panel discussion on foreclosures and homes heading in that direction. The panelists will include CJ Holmes, founder of Home Owners for Justice, attorney Thomas Spielbauer, who specializes in representing foreclosure victims, David Merritt, who has been suing Wells Fargo (Court of Appeals of California No. H036259), Bank of America, Bear Sterns, JP Morgan Chase and others over fraud and unfair business practices, and Spencer Graves, foreclosure researcher and conference organizer. The presentations will be followed by small group discussions of questions for the panelists and possible next steps.

In July 2012 in Santa Clara County alone, 137 families lost their homes to foreclosure. A recent San Francisco Foreclosure Audit "identified what appear to be one or more clear violations of law" in 84% of the 382 foreclosures they studied. However, none of these "clear violations of law" were turned into criminal referrals or other actions that could have helped the foreclosure victims. This stands in stark contrast to the Savings and Loan scandal of 20-25 years ago, during which regulators filed thousands of criminal complaints that lead to over a thousand felony convictions of leading industry executives, according to William K. Black, a litigator for regulators at that time and now a Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

CJ Holmes is a realtor in Santa Rosa and founder of Home Owners for Justice. As she saw the devastation of Predatory Lending practices, she was compelled to become an advocate and spokesperson for those without a voice. She appears regularly on KPFA radio 94.1 FM.

Thomas Spielbauer is an attorney with 23 years’ experience as a public defender representing those who could not afford a lawyer of their own when facing charges from the state. For a period now, he has been helping home owners who are facing foreclosures to determine what options they have before them, and how to navigate the legal structure, usually, for the first time in their lives.

David Merritt is a small business owner and a non-lawyer was a victim of predatory lending and after learning that it was a systemic practice to defraud millions he devoted up to 80 hours per week learning how to fight in court. Previously he has mediated disputes for businesses and social groups; conducted his own seminars and workshops on improving human relations, authored 20th Century American Century, 21st Century Hope, and currently personally prosecuting one of the nation’s largest predatory civil cases. He has been suing Bank of America (Case No.:C09-01179 JW) and others in federal and California Superior Court since 2009. His complaint alleges that senior banking executives conspired to defraud millions of Americans with predatory loans that he claims were designed to strip borrowers' income, savings, and then their home.

Spencer Graves is a PhD statistician with broad experience improving products and processes, including for Silicon Valley corporations. He is currently Executive Director of and has become passionate for contributing what he can to advocate for victims of this predatory lending waive that has swept our state and country.

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