FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 CONTACT: Nick Sifuentes, 310-866-1692, firstname.lastname@example.org
Protests in Eight Cities Target Pimco, BlackRock over Opposition to Richmond, CA Local Principal Reduction Plan
Community groups call Pimco and BlackRock “Public Enemy #1” for opposing Richmond plan, hold protests at offices in New York, San Francisco and Newport Beach, CA
Multiple Locations – On Wednesday, October 30, 2013, homeowners and community supporters in eight cities visited the corporate offices of giant money managers Pimco and BlackRock as part of an escalating campaign by homeowners, community groups and unions who are fighting for local principal reduction programs in Richmond, California and numerous other cities across the country.
Homeowners, foreclosure victims and community supporters from community groups affiliated with the national Home Defenders League protested at major Pimco and BlackRock offices in New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach, CA, Seattle, St. Louis, Charlotte, Atlanta and Jersey City, NJ. Protesters called both companies major impediments to saving Main Street from the crimes of Wall Street and disrupted business in their offices, demanding to meet with senior officials from both firms about their attempts to intimidate cities considering local principal reduction programs, including the potential use of eminent domain.
Both Pimco and BlackRock were party to an unsuccessful lawsuit against the city of Richmond over its proposal, “Richmond CARES,” and have been central firms at the heart of the financial crisis—and like other Wall Street entities, BlackRock and Pimco both have been accused of wrongdoing in the fallout from the housing crash, including fraud and failing to adequately protect clients.
“If BlackRock isn't willing to help us, then they should sell our loan to the City of Richmond so that the city can fix it. We want a chance to live the American Dream. As it stands our loan is scheduled to go up again this year, which means eventually we're going to end up in default and lose our home,” said Richmond homeowner Patty Castillo.
Pimco and BlackRock are investors in the underwater loans in Richmond, California that the City and its community allies want to purchase, at fair market value, in order to write-down the mortgage principal and get the homeowners into affordable, sustainable mortgages.
Today’s actions are part of an escalating campaign against the Wall Street giants. The campaign began when Mayor of Richmond Gayle McLaughlin sent a letter to the CEOs of the two companies calling on them to come to the table, saying: “Your company has a choice to make - you can use the incredible wealth and influence of your company as a positive force to help people in Richmond, who are being left behind by the "housing recovery", or you can use it to crush their hopes. We hope you choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
On October 9th Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the nation’s largest union, called on Pimco and BlackRock to end the campaign of threats and litigation against the City of Richmond. The companies have stated that their actions are on behalf of their clients, including pension funds, and yet SEIU denies this. “SEIU is clearly stating that it has not asked Pimco and BlackRock to sue the City of Richmond, CA and is calling on them to drop their lawsuit and work with the City of Richmond, our members in Richmond and our community allies to find a solution that keeps hardworking families in their homes," Henry said.
On Thursday, October 3rd representatives of ACCE and SEIU disrupted a talk given by PIMCO founder Bill Gross and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, calling on them to “negotiate, not litigate.” The event was sponsored by the UCLA Anderson School of Business at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.
In the coming weeks, community groups and their allies will continue to confront Pimco and BlackRock across the country, calling on them to play a constructive role in resolving the Richmond debate over a proposed solution to the housing crisis.
The Home Defenders League is a national organization fighting against foreclosures and for a just resolution to the mortgage crisis including mass principal reduction for underwater homeowners.