Update: Gudiel was arrested, along with her mother and seven other protesters, at the Fannie Mae offices yesterday, about an hour into the sit-in. However, her supporters quickly bailed her out. The group is currently gathering for a march downtown, where Gudiel is planning to make “an announcement.”
Originally posted October 5 at 3:15 p.m.
While the Occupy L.A. protesters continue to camp out on a front lawn where they're very much welcome, a “parallel effort” over in Pasadena is doing the real unwanted occupying today.
RIGHT NOW — as we speak — La Puente resident Rose Gudiel is leading a sit-in at the corporate offices of dirty mortgage financier Fannie Mae.
Like the Occupy L.A. movement, she has the powerful support of labor unions, under the umbrella Refund California campaign. SEIU 721 union rep Bahar Tolou says
dozens hundreds of Gudiel's neighbors and fellow homeowners have joined the in-your-face descent upon Fannie Mae headquarters:
“These communities are all coming together,” Tolou says. “We're all getting hit — whether it's foreclosures, or our budgets are racked, or we're losing jobs.” The common factor, she says, is fury toward the 1 percent that tops America's food chain — and the monopolized banking system that keeps the remaining 99 percent down.
Refund California describes the sit-in via press release:
The Gudiel family, together with friends and supporters, have been camped out at her house, ready to resist efforts by the LA County Sheriff's Department to carry out the eviction.
Gudiel and supporters will be setting up a table and chairs inside Fannie Mae's headquarters and ask that a person with appropriate authority negotiate with them around a loan modification. She won't leave the office until she gets a satisfactory answer.
Just last night, as detailed by the San Gabriel Valley-Tribune, the hundreds-strong Gudiel clan stormed a $27 million Bel Air mansion belonging to Steven Mnuchin, CEO of the Pasadena branch of OneWest Bank.
But a OneWest spokesperson's defeatist response explains the follow-up at Fannie Mae this afternoon:
“OneWest Bank is the servicer and Fannie Mae is the owner of the loan,” he wrote in an email to the Tribune. “As the servicer, we are obligated to service loans pursuant to the servicing agreement and rules established by the owner of the loan.”
Gudiel claims Sheriff's Department officials have been saying they'll be forced to kick her and her family out of their home in the 13000 block of Proctor Avenue if they don't relocate themselves. But all she ever asked for was a reduced monthly payment for her loan; she started to have trouble paying the full amount after her brother died amid an already rough recession.
“I have the money to pay for my home,” she told the Tribune. “I didn't want any of this. All I want is for the bank to let us keep our home.”
This is the “Occupy” message in action: That there are simple steps the 1 percent can take to fulfill the very basic needs of the 99 percent. By resisting Gudiel, claims union rep Tolou, OneWest and Fannie Mae are needlessly harming the economy, the community and the country as a whole. “Whats the point of kicking her out if she can pay?” Tolou asks.
Good question. We'll update with the mortgage giant's answer, if we can get it.