September 21, 2011; Source: Jamaica Plain Patch | In Boston yesterday a number of neighborhood groups collected trash from the front yard of a foreclosed home and dumped it on the tony Beacon Hill stoop of Bank of America president Robert Gallery. The trash dump was accompanied by a set of demands delivered through a bullhorn:
- Halt all foreclosures and evictions until underwater mortgages can be renegotiated.
- Stop the crackdown on small-business lending.
- Rescind proposed mass layoffs and take steps to protect and create Massachusetts jobs.
- End its board members’ policies that exclude Bay State families from key programs like weatherization.
The trash was gathered by a dozen volunteers from a vacant property in Malden, a suburb of Boston. The bank evicted the family from the house a year ago and has let the property fall into such disrepair that the city has fined the bank $500. The volunteers first tried to deliver the trash to BofA’s Malden branch office, but for some reason the branch manager refused to accept it so the group took it over to Gallery’s house. A bank spokesman told the Jamaica Plain Patch that the bank does not “approve of any PR stunt that invades the privacy of a bank employee and their family.” I guess that goes without saying, but how does that disapproval stack up against the apparent disregard BofA has for well-being of the neighbors of its foreclosed property in Malden?
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The BofA spokesman also told the Patch, “Rather than refute this group’s baseless claims with facts, let me simply state that Bank of America has a lot to be proud of in Massachusetts, from providing $12 million in charitable giving annually to lending $393 million in the first half of 2011 to small businesses that are creating jobs and fueling the local economy.” The three community groups participating in the action did not agree with this rosy assessment, arguing that Bank of America does far too little to prevent fully-preventable foreclosures, putting communities at risk. A larger protest is scheduled for September 30 at the Bank’s offices in downtown Boston.
Are we seeing a small uptick in these kinds of actions? We’d love to hear of any going on in your neck of the woods.—Ruth McCambridge