Can you find the forgeries and other fraudulent documents banks are using to take Massachusetts homes?

Massachusetts home foreclosures — still at historic levels!

Want some fun? Can you spot the forged signatures on actual mortgage Notes and documents (PDF) that banks are using to foreclose on Massachusetts families?

  • If anyone you know faces foreclosure, it’s urgent: Get in touch with MAAPL ASAP! It’s free.
  • Most of the 96,000 Mass. foreclosures are illegal – many with multiple felony violations.
  • Largest driver of the U.S. wealth divide: Predatory mortgages and foreclosures. They hit people of color and women heads of households first and worst. Now they hit anyone: 1 in 13 MA households.
  • How to reverse the injustice, and return tens of billions of dollars of wealth, stability, and spending power stripped from our Massachusetts economy? Your awareness, engagement and help!
  • Support our Legislation: 10 powerful bills to halt and reverse the still-historic crisis!

For anyone who’s foreclosed, stay in your home after foreclosure! Only a judge’s order can evict a homeowner/tenant from a supposedly foreclosed home. And join us on any Sunday 5-7 pm info call.

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Action Alert: Another MAAPL Bill Gets a Hearing on 7/23/19

Join MAAPL supporters at the State House for a Hearing on An Act Relative to the Tax Relief of Mortgage Debt (H.2550/S.1719) this Tuesday, July 23rd!

Photo of MA State House

Pre-Hearing Lobby Session: 11:00 am

Meet Dana Rebeiro, MAAPL Legislation Organizer, between 10:00 and 10:30 am to lobby on the bill. Text Dana at 508-525-3386 if you’ll be joining us in the morning.

Hearing: 1:00 pm in Room B2, MA State House

Download a Fact Sheet on this bill ( PDF )

Let’s keep the momentum going—this Tuesday’s hearing follows a successful day of hearings last week for 5 of MAAPL’s bills and our Call-In Days in support of our legislation.

An Act Relative to the Tax Relief of Mortgage Debt is MAAPL’s very straightforward bill that has twice almost made it to a full vote. Should this bill pass, foreclosed homeowners would not be charged state taxes on the supposed profit that they made when the bank took their home and extinguished their mortgage.

Federal tax law recognizes that foreclosed homeowners have not actually realized a profit, so they don’t charge taxes on that amount. However, the MA Department of Revenue does not recognize the reality of the situation, so they expect homeowners to pay taxes on the supposed profit, adding insult (and expense!) to injury.

MAAPL has been fighting to get the state to line up with the Feds on this matter. Even if the Feds don’t continue the exemption, we want to make sure we have it in the Massachusetts state laws. It’s a matter of kicking folks when they’re down, and MAAPL believes such an action is never morally acceptable. If you agree, please join us in support of H.2550/S.1719!

Please email Grace Ross at maaplinfo@yahoo.com to RSVP for this Day of Action. We’re also looking for people to testify in support of this bill, so if you’ve been impacted by this inhumane MA law, please let Grace know you’re also interested in testifying.

Tell Your Legislators: Don’t Let Our Commonwealth Kick Foreclosed Homeowners When They’re Down—Support An Act Relative to the Tax Relief of Mortgage Debt (H.2550/S.1719)!

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MAAPL Call-In Days on July 15-17

Photo of MA State HouseYour voice gets results! Call both your State Representative and Senator TODAY, and ask them to tell the Judiciary Committee that they support MAAPL’s Bills. Call Monday-Wednesday, July 15-17

Support these Bills:

  • S964/H3300:  An Act to Establish Foreclosure Review Division of the Superior Court
  • S868/H1482:  An Act to Require Pre-Foreclosure Mediation and Judicial Oversight
  • S931/ H1373: An Act To Prevent Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes
  • S836/H3384:  An Act To Require Judicial Foreclosure In Some Owner-Occupied Residences
  • H1524:An Act to Protect Titles to Real Estate in Massachusetts

Step 1:
If you don’t know who your state Representative and Senator are, go to WhereDoIVotema.com. Type in your street/postal address. It will tell you who your elected officials are and their phone numbers.

Step 2: Call your state Representative and Senator.

What do I say?
“Hello, my name is                     . I live in [name of your town]. As my Legislator, please tell your Judiciary Committee Chairperson that you support these five specific anti-foreclosure bills:

  • S964/H3300:  An Act to Establish Foreclosure Review Division of the Superior Court
  • S868/H1482:  An Act to Require Pre-Foreclosure Mediation and Judicial Oversight
  • S931/ H1373: An Act To Prevent Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes
  • S836/H3384:  An Act To Require Judicial Foreclosure In Some Owner-Occupied Residences
  • H1524:An Act to Protect Titles to Real Estate in Massachusetts

The foreclosure crisis is STILL at historic levels. Homeowners are fighting foreclosures throughout the Commonwealth daily! A moratorium and passing all these bills in Judiciary will make a real difference in our lives.

We must stop the civil and criminal taking of homes and the destruction of our neighborhoods and the economy of our state.

Please, as my [Representative/Senator], will you tell Judiciary you support these bills?

Thank you.”

Step 3 (Don’t forget this part!):
When you have finished the call, please e-mail Grace Ross, MAAPL Coordinator, at maaplinfo@yahoo.com. Tell her who your Representative/Senator is and what they said in response to your call.


Call Monday-Wednesday (July 15-17). The Judiciary Hearing on MAAPL’s bills is on Tuesday, July 16. The Committee needs to connect strong legislative support for these bills with its Hearing! (Download our flyer with Tuesday Lobbying/Press Conference/Hearing details)

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Action Alert – Day of Hearings for MAAPL’s Bills on 7/16/19

It’s Time to Make Your Voice Heard!!!
Testify in Support of MAAPL’s Anti-Foreclosure Bills

Photo of MA State House

Tuesday, July 16​th
Massachusetts State House, Room A1
Beacon Hill, Boston

Agenda:
Arrive at 10:30am, ​t​hen
T​ell your Story to Legislators
Press Conference!
Hearing: 1:00pm


After 12 years of fighting together, our voices are being heard: Come and speak for yourself, for your neighbors… and for your community!

Support These Bills:

  • S964/H3300: A​n Act to Establish Foreclosure Review Division of the Superior Court
  • S868/​H1482:​ A​n Act to Require Pre-Foreclosure Mediation and Judicial Oversight
  • S931/H1373: A​ n Act To Prevent Unnecessary Vacancies in Foreclosed Homes
  • S836​/H​ 3384:​ An Act To Require Judicial Foreclosure In Some Owner-Occupied Residences
  • H1524:​ An Act to Protect Titles to Real Estate in Massachusetts

Come! Forward this Invitation to Your Friends and Family!
Download a flyer for this event to share with your networks ( PDF )

Can’t attend? C​all your State Rep and Senator​ to support Anti-Foreclosure bills
State House Switchboard: 617-722-2000 – ask for your legislators.
Don’t know your legislators’ names? Find out at www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com

For additional information please contact: maapl.info@yahoo.com www.MAAPL.info Coordinator: Grace Ross, 617-291-5591 Legislation Organizer: Dana Rebeiro, 508-525-3386

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Another Worcester Area Homeowner Breaks: Appeals Oral Argument 7/8/19

Photo of the Old Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston, MAThe case of Kelly Johnson and Patricia O’Dell from Worcester could be a breakthrough. The Appeals Court Full Panel has this case as a referral from a Single Justice of the Appeals of a Worcester (Central) Housing Court eviction case after (as usual) an illegal and failed foreclosure.

This is an incredibly important case since it raises the right to see the original (wet ink) Note, among others.

Amicus questions were asked,* and apparently the number of Amici (Amicuses if you prefer) is historic (for a case that the SJC has not grabbed off the Appeals Court’s Docket)! Six—all member groups of MAAPL, none from the banks’ side. Three of these are our best briefs on the right to see the Note: including the forgery and legal violations when we see Notes, the non-affidaivts the banks try to pass off rather than have to produce the Note. AND our best attempt so far to explain how the Uniform Commercial Code works with Notes and securitized assets….

PLEASE come support these brilliant pro se litigants on Monday, July 8th at the Appeals Court, Pemberton Square, Boston!

Thanks,

Grace Ross, MAAPL Coordinator

*Appeals Court Amicus questions:

Kelly Johnson/Patricia O’Dell #2019-P-0317

The issues before the Court in this case are:

  1. Where a defendant in a summary process action in the Housing Court filed a timely appeal of an adverse judgment of possession and requested that the posting of an appeal bond be waived prior to the amount of the bond being set, does her failure to file such a motion within ten days of the judgment deprive the court of jurisdiction to entertain the motion?
  2. Where a defendant in a post-foreclosure summary process action has raised as a defense, the failure of the foreclosing entity to demonstrate that it (or the party on whose behalf the entity is authorized to act) holds the original note, has the defendant demonstrated a “not frivolous” appellate issue warranting the waiver of the requirement to post an appeal bond if the defendant is indigent? See G. L. c. 239, § 5; Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Association, 462 Mass. 569, 586 n.26, 589 n.28 (2012). See also Mitchell vs. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, Appeals Court, No. 17-P-1445, slip op. at 3 (Mar. 4, 2019).
  3. Where there are multiple defendants in a post-foreclosure summary process action, but the motion to waive the posting of an appeal bond is based on the indigency of only one of them, must that defendant demonstrate her own standing to raise a “not frivolous” argument on appeal and, if so, what showing is sufficient?
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Historic Homeowner Lawsuit Reveals Constitutional Protection from Violations of Rights by a Lower Court (like the CHC) May Essentially No Longer Exist

For immediate release, May 14, 2019            Contact: WAFT, 508-614-9238

“We have a Massachusetts Constitutional right that may no longer be enforceable” explains Debra McCarthy, one of the 46 homeowners/petitioners who, collectively, have 2 cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Those cases are: Adjartey vs. Central Housing Court (CHC) and Hilton vs. Central Housing Court. “Article V of our Constitution guarantees us a right for relief from any arm of our government that is violating our rights,” McCarthy continues. “In our two cases, court rules imposed upon us procedural hoops that seem to bar relief no matter how discriminatory or unjust the systemwide behavior of a lower court is in Massachusetts. Our ability to receive redress may have been written out of our books.”

On April 10, the initial decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) came down via these two unique and historic cases – unique because multiple, self-represented petitioners came together to address the discrimination and systemic dysfunction of the Central Housing Court, formerly known as Worcester Housing Court. This Court has been stripping hundreds of homeowners and tenants, living in supposedly foreclosed homes, of their rights; the Judges have not even fulfilled the obligation to prove that they have authority to rule in these cases.

“We have experienced in what any other industry is called an ‘illegal hostile environment,’” explained Christine Hilton, one of the lead litigants, “We thought what we were submitting was a very straight-forward, yet highly unusual petition. In any place I have ever worked, this level of discrimination and rule violation would have been ruled illegal. We sued in the only court that can review the behavior of the lower court, the SJC. We simply ask that the lower courts follow the Constitution. The evidence, we hope, is chilling for anybody who reads through the thousands of pages of documents.”

“In OUR quest for relief, fairness, JUSTICE and general adherence to the procedures, rules, regulations and statutes, all of which are unattainable in the Central Housing Court of Massachusetts, we exercised our right in seeking Redress,” Petitioner Bourassa explains. “We sought guidance and clarification within the judiciary from the ultimate authority, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts itself. We did this only after having tried everything else including contacting the Chief Justices of the Trial Court and the Housing Division of the Trial Court only to be disregarded.”

“We are seeking redress (to remedy or set right) the actions of the CHC from the SJC. Although the concept may have been written out of the “books”,” Sherry Stanley, “it is still the function and duty of the SJC to guide, supervise, maintain authority and provide the interpretative jurisprudence to the lower courts of Massachusetts.”

On May 13, 2019, Petitioners completed filing 19 motions for reconsideration — including this alarming gap — raising for both the SJC and the public that without correction to the court rules and the law, the People of Massachusetts may have lost access to relief from the illegal, discriminatory and, in this case, hostile environment (or any other violation of Constitutional Rights) created by the leadership of a lower court.

“We have here a situation where our Constitutional Rights’ are not being enforced, thus denying us of the unbiased Justice we are afforded as, first, inhabitants, secondly, owners of property and, third, self-represented litigants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We call on our top Court to protect these rights,” said Petitioner Tracy Tobin.

“We are humbled and appreciative of the SJC’s efforts to accommodate our unusual compilation of 46 pro se litigants whose concerns and laments were heard in an historic oral presentation this past Dec. 6, 2018.” Ruth Adjartey, one of the lead Petitioners. “It is with dismay, however, that we find a procedural rule and a single line of statute may have discounted the means of accessing Constitutional protections against the discriminatory and rogue actions of the CHC.”

###

Petitioners’ Motions for Reconsideration to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in SJC-12380, Adjartey vs. Central Housing Court (CHC)  and SJC-12406, Hilton vs. Central Housing Court (CHC) available at: http://maapl.info/information/legalinfo/reconsideration-motions-4-10-2019/

WAFT (Member organization of the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending)
c/o 70 James St., Suite 129B, Worcester, 01603, 508-614-9238

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NOTICE: Pre-Auction Clinic Holiday Schedule

MAAPL’s pre-auction clinics are having hugely effective results in getting auctions postponed and even cancelled. In the process, we are turning up evidence of criminal actions by the banks!

Normally, our clinics are every Monday night from 6 – 8 PM. However, given that Mondays for the next two weeks fall on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, we will be holding our clinics on Sunday, December 23rd and December 30th from 6 PM to 8 PM, at the same location, 70 James Street, Suite #129B, Worcester, MA 01603.
For more information, please contact info@MAAAPL.org or call 508-630-1686.

Injustice takes no vacation for the holidays, so we are here to fight for one of the greatest gifts that we can give, which is: people can keep their homes!

Please note that our Sunday night call in sessions will be at the regular 5 PM time, and we will simply end it early. The phone number for the weekly call is 515-739-1220, and the code to join the conference call is 794420.

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Breaking News: SJC to Hear Homeowner Pleas to Stop Worcester Housing Court Injustice

Photo of MA State HouseNote: This hearing will be livestreamed at https://www.suffolk.edu/sjc/ Please join us in viewing this historic moment.

On 12/6/2018, Homeowners/Tenants Argue at Supreme Judicial Court for End to Injustice and Bullying by Worcester Housing Court in Eviction Cases After Illegal Forelcosure

On Dec. 6th at approximately 10:00 AM, the combined lawsuits against the Worcester
Housing Court, brought by 55 pro se homeowner and tenant litigants, will be heard by the full Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts.

“Being heard by the SJC is historic, and we are arriving in numbers because the laws laid out in the Massachusetts Constitution are not being followed by The Worcester Housing Court. Foreclosures, no matter what the details of each case, are a major and ignored issue in this country. Justice and a fair hearing in the Summary Process is not happening in the courts of Worcester Massachusetts,” explained Christine Hilton, one of the lead litigants on the case challenging the Judge’s refusal to recuse herself even after she had quizzed defendants openly seeking evidence to charge them with a crime. “What I don't understand is why I am not treated as fairly as the opposition's attorney if I am a Pro Se Litigant, representing myself as an educated consumer.”

Given denials of their basic due process rights to protect their right to their homes after
foreclosures (all easily proven to have been illegal but regularly accepted by the Worcester
Housing Court) these, who became the 55 litigants, are suing; they seek the Massachusetts
Supreme Judicial Court’s interventionary powers to correct system-wide rights violations by the Worcester Housing Court (AKA Central Housing Court).

“Being heard by the SJC is the first sign of our true constitutional rights being acknowledged, administered and honored. For the first time throughout this nightmare, the glimmer of hope for being heard actually exists,” expressed Nunciata Sullivan after losing her home when the WHC relied on ex parte documents inserted into her case file, by the bank’s lawyers in violation of court rule and due process, “At the very least, I hope we accomplish being considered relevant and able-bodied citizens who not only can vote and pay taxes, but can also represent ourselves against the falsehoods, misrepresentations, accusations and lies which ultimately resulted in the theft of our homes.”

The journey began with a joint attempt to redress what seemed like a simple, but
incredibly destructive, rights violation by the Worcester Housing Court, denying those who are indigent (as so many are after 2-3 generations of wealth have been stripped in a foreclosure) from accessing audio tapes necessary for appeals for redressing discriminatory interactions in the Court, etc.

That case was filed in front of the single Justice in the SJC on February 28, 2017 after 6
months of preparation. After that case was denied, reconsideration led to a denial. The litigants appealed and were accepted for hearing by the full SJC on August 11, 2017 (SJC-112380).

A year earlier, the Worcester Housing Court had begun to attack the credibility of
litigants based on whether they were affiliated with the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. Given zero resources for those who are fighting an eviction from a home after a claimed foreclosure, homeowners across the state and some tenants have had to turn to pro se documents created by the Mass Alliance Against Predatory Lending and support from a local mutual aid organization, such as the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. Since the founding of our nation, the First Amendment of the US Constitution to affiliation for the purpose of redress of grievances. The now hostile environment in the Worcester Housing Court against those who affiliate for exactly that purpose has reached shocking, chilling and unconstitutional proportions.

“I can personally state the last two years in housing court has been not only stressful but a
degrading experience. After hearing the testimonies tomorrow, the SJC will understand the major injustices that have been committed against homeowners of the Commonwealth. It will be clear that the housing court is ill equipped to try foreclosures,” stated Paulette McKenzie, also stripped of her home in the face of unquestionable evidence of an illegal foreclosure, “There will be safety nets in the future to stop the bullying of pro se litigants so those who come after us in will not have to endure being discriminating against because they choose to represent themselves. People who give up everything to fight for what they believe in must be able to trust the legal system to listen, be fair, unbiased and free of prejudice.”

On May 2, 2017, three homeowner/defendants worked feverishly overnight and filed a
petition, again, for intervention by the Supreme Judicial Court in the actions of the Worcester Housing Court, which had now announced repeatedly that it was referring WAFT members for charges for the practice of law without a license.

The Judge was now regularly quizzing people, and trying to trip them up in some perceived conspiracy by people who sought merely to effectively learn their cases together. In one case, where a homeowner had spent hundreds of hours in preparation and used 80 citations in her brief, the Chief Judge Horan had sent her brief out to the statewide Housing Court Clerk to review every citation; she, then, accused this WAFT member of having had her brief written by a lawyer and publicly shamed her by questioning the defendant’s education level.

Initially denied by a Single Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, the case – SJC-12406 –
was then taken up by the full SJC on 10-03-17. It has been joined with the other case for Oral Argument along with the individual case of Marjorie Evans also against the Worcester Housing Court (SJC-12337).

“If the SJC rules for justice it will send the message loud and strong that corruption and
obstruction of the truth will not be tolerated within the very system responsible to maintain and uphold justice. It would mean fairness to all. It would stop innocent people from being robbed simply because they don’t hold a law degree. It will speak volumes about our individual and group ability to make changes happen through perseverance and persistence. It will stop the abuse of power and give equal regard to everyone no matter who we are,” concluded Nunciata Sullivan.

[From a press release by the Worcester Anti Foreclosure Team (WAFT), a member organization of MAAPL, dated 12/5/18. CONTACTS: Lori Cairns 508-614-9238]

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Join us on Tuesday, 10/16/18 for the MAAPL Annual Meeting!

The MAAPL Steering Committee invites you to the 2018 MAAPL Annual Meeting

Date & Time: Tuesday Evening, October 16, 2018, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Location: Boston ABCD, 178 Tremont St., Boston, MA
MBTA and parking accessible
Light refreshments served
Call-in number will be posted soon for those who cannot attend in person
Please RSVP via email: maaplinfo@yahoo.com 

How Have Foreclosures Impacted Your Community in 2018?
What Are Your Hopes for What We Can Do Together in 2018?

We ask that MAAPL member groups and attendees consider these questions ahead of the Annual Meeting and prepare to share your responses.

We have plenty of exciting news to share with you about MAAPL’s work this year, including new staff members and significant investment in our legal work, strong successes with our Moratorium Now program in stopping and postponing auctions, and new funding and programs planned for the coming year to take our fight against illegal foreclosures and predatory lending practices to the next level!

MAAPL leads the only statewide coalition building a social justice movement to end foreclosures in Massachusetts. We work to support homeowners as they go beyond their individual situation to mutual support and organizing—saving each other’s homes, combining efforts to push unfriendly courts to apply law fairly, and pushing through legislation to protect Massachusetts residents from a predatory industry.

Save the evening of October 16th for our Movement and MAAPL!
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Press Release: Wrongly Foreclosed Petition to Not ALSO be Stripped of Right to Appeal

Contact: Debra McCarthy, 508-723-5364; Grace Ross, 617-291-5591

For immediate release: September 25, 2018

Today, September 25, 2018, twenty-one self-represented defendants fighting against the illegal foreclosure of their homes completed the filing and service of a petition to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, critical to the due process and appeal rights of the Inhabitants of Massachusetts under the state Constitution.

“Each ruling against us as homeowners which ignored multiple Massachusetts statutes was like a punch in the gut,” explained Petitioner Bruce Boguslav of Worcester, “To be priced out of an appeal was an affront to the sacred trust we thought we had in the justice system, and our right to an appeal of serious issues in housing court. Our health suffers terribly from the stress when you don’t know when you will be subject to an eviction with your home emptied of all your personal possessions.”

Having been stripped of their wealth and destabilized by illegal foreclosures, the Petitioners are seeking a definitive judgment by the SJC to stop Massachusetts courts from further barring access to the courts by pricing them out of justice with excessive and inapplicable bonds. The case is a multi-party petition, SJ-2018-0427

Homeowner’s constitutionally protected right to appeal is being denied based upon the Courts’ misapplication of extraordinary cash bonds in eviction cases, after a clearly questionable foreclosure. The financial bar of petitioner’s right to appeal is particularly egregious when defending against the taking of one’s inalienable rights under the MA and US Constitutions.

“Getting financially barred from the appeals process felt like a set up to me. All along Judge Fields peppered my hearings with statements like, “you can put that in your appeal, Ms. Woods” and “save it for your appeal, Ms. Woods” only to bar my appeal — $10k when I am experiencing a dire health diagnosis and living on SSI. This resulted in unlawful ouster from my home. I’ve been living in a tent since early July. Many of my possessions have gone missing and been destroyed due to improper storage. My health has deteriorated; my cancer treatments have been interrupted. The eviction process has clearly been weaponized by the courts to thwart my appeal, which has every chance of success due to case law precedent,” commented Petitioner Rorie Susan Woods of Hadley.

Overwhelmingly, these cases are arising in the jurisdiction of the Worcester Housing Court, whose credibility has been brought into question by numerous recent lawsuits.

However, the problem of unaffordable bonds and the misapplication of the strictly interpreted eviction law represent a widespread practice in too many of the trial courts across Massachusetts. The loss of access to the Appellate Courts have effectively kept illegal foreclosures from the eyes and review of the higher courts in Massachusetts.

Homeowners affected span the state and find themselves without the resources to pay appeal bonds levied against them improperly given our state’s strong laws protecting the appeals of all legitimate, non-frivolous claims regardless of financial circumstances.

Given our non-judicial foreclosure laws and In order to curtail predatory lending, the Supreme Judicial court has almost without exception, come down strongly on the enforcement of all of Massachusetts’ applicable laws but only because litigants have been able to appeal. This benefits the actual residents of Massachusetts in protecting the jurisprudence that underlies the inalienable rights to our homes.

“I want the SJC to uphold the letter of the law, not selective enforcement with great bias against wrongfully foreclosed borrowers,” Woods continued. “It’s as if the justices have their retirement funds wrapped up in mortgage backed securities sold with triple A ratings that turned out to be junk. The wrongfully foreclosed borrowers did not create the junk securities— the banks did. It’s time to lay the blame and consequences where they belong.”

Petitioners experience the injustice of these practices as indescribably unfair and painful. Long-term damage is caused to the families of our Commonwealth.

Petitioner Jim Bigelow of Oxford expressed the sentiment of all the Petitioners: “the Supreme Judicial Court is the last chance at restoring my childhood faith in our justice system.”
(END)
maaplinfo@yahoo.com www.MAAPL.info
508-630-1686

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