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Fannie Mae Moves to Evict Cathy Lennon a Second Time, August 17!

Today, August 12, Cathy Lennon appeared in Rochester City Court to defend her home. Ms. Lennon was evicted in March and moved back into her home without permission in May.  Fannie Mae, the recipient of $90 billion of taxpayer money, aggressively moved to evict Cathy from her home a second time.  Judge Castro granted a warrant of eviction and 72 hours to vacate the home on 9 Ravenwood.  Interestingly, Judge Castro seemed most interested and embarrassed by the fact that he was the judge who originally moved to evict Cathy's family in March and seemed to take offense that she moved back into her house and was trying to save it.  What the judge didn't seem interested in was that Cathy had filed a order in a higher court to overturn the original foreclosure or that there seem to be many illegalities in original foreclosure process or that this family will be homeless again or that Rochester has thousands of vacant houses.  Judge Castro is just one of many judges pushing foreclosure-based evictions through the system as quickly as possible without scrutinizing the criminal practices of the banks. 

Currently, the eviction is schedule for Wednesday August 17, 2011.  If the Marshal comes on that day, Ms. Lennon, Take Back the Land Rochester, and other supporters will be there in protest.  Stay tuned for more information. 

Evicted Family and Supporters Protest Foreclosure and Brutal Arrest That Sent Rochester Woman to the Hospital

Courtesy of Rochester Indymedia

On Friday, July 29, 2011 at 11 Appleton St. in Rochester the family of Virginia Henry, Take Back the Land Rochester, and community members held a press conference and protest denouncing both the recent forceful eviction by Fannie Mae and the arrest, brutality, and excessive response by the Rochester Police.

The story has already received national media attention as on July 21st Virginia Henry was arrested, thrown to the grown in her own driveway, and taken to the hospital in handcuffs after presenting paperwork to the City Marshal and Rochester Police, questioning the legality of the eviction. The house is now vacant and the family of five is now homeless and staying in a local motel.

Virginia Henry Eviction Defense Story Goes National - AOL/Huffington Post

See original article HERE

When Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance -- $43,000 -- to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The bank has told her that her short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. -- with all her worldly possessions trapped inside -- is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

"This is my home," Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. "How can I be trespassing in my own home?"

Rochester Woman Arrested and Brutalized by the Police After Refusing an Illegal Eviction

On Thursday July 21, Virginia Henry, facing foreclosure and eviction, courageously took a stand for her family and her home on 11 Appleton St. in Rochester, NY.  What followed was quite a disgusting site.  Instead of trying to work out what appears to be an illegal foreclosure and eviction, Fannie Mae and the Rochester Police Department teamed up for another SWAT-like eviction arresting the homeowner on her own property in order to make another family homeless and another house vacant.
Rochester police, just like in March on Ravewood Ave., shut down Appleton St. with at least 10 police cars to tear the family of 5 out of their home.  What they weren't expecting was Virginia Henry, inspired by Cathy Lennon's March defense of her home, to nonviolently take a stand. When Marshal Sande Macaluso came to the door backed by Rochester Police he said Virginia had 15 minutes to get all of her stuff out of the house.  Ms. Henry demanded the police treat her with respect and get their hands off her home.  Immediately they slapped handcuffs on Ms. Henry and pushed her to the grown.  Ms. Henry passed out within seconds of police pinning her face down to the pavement in record-breaking 100 degree heat. She was brought the hospital in handcuffs.  When Ms. Henry woke up in Highland Hospital the police had informed her that they had forcefully taken control of the house.  The police claimed the house was Fannie Mae's now. 
As of Saturday, Virginia and her family are currently staying in a motel after being displaced from their home. Virginia Henry will appear in Rochester City Court on July 28, 2011 at 9:30pm on a trespassing charge.  

Cathy Lennon Takes Back Her Home After Being Evicted

Monday May 9, at 11:30am Catherine Lennon will publicly announce at a press conference that she has returned to her Rochester, NY home from which she and her family were evicted on March 28. Lennon did not repurchase the home, instead she was moved back in with help from Take Back the Land- Rochester, the organization which initially helped her defend against the eviction. Lennon, Take Back the Land- Rochester and neighbors are preparing to defend the home against a possible second eviction. The home is located a 9 Ravenwood Avenue.


After attempts to renegotiate the mortgage were stonewalled by Fannie Mae, Catherine Lennon made local and national news by defending her home from eviction for two weeks with help from neighbors and Take Back the Land- Rochester. On March 28, 2011, Rochester police executed the eviction with 2 dozen or so police and by arresting seven people, including a 70 year old neighbor still in her pajamas. Charges against those arrested are being dropped in exchange for 8 hours of community service. The Lennon-Griffin family of 11 has been dispersed with grandchildren living with friends and family and Catherine living in a local Motel 6.


April Fundraiser for Take Back the Land Rochester

Come Join us for an evening of good food and support

Take Back The Land-Rochester

TBTL-Rochester works to prevent foreclosure-related evictions and assists the homeless in finding secure housing. Take Back the Land Rochester is poor people's movement led by poor people.  Financial assistance is essential to continue the important work of keeping the number of homeless from rising. Please come and lend your support.
When: Monday, April 25th at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Bistro 135 Jazz Lounge & Restaurant
135 West Commercial Street
East Rochester, NY 14445

Community Groups Demand Justice for the Lennon-Griffin Family

Today, April 21, a new alliance of community organizations was formed to fight for justice for Catherine Lennon and her family, the Rochester grandmother who was evicted by over 20 Rochester police late last month. Cathy Lennon and inculding members of different community organization spoke at the press conference held at the Lennon-Griffin's Family's home at 9 Ravenwood Ave., Rochester, NY.

Catherine Lennon made local and national news after she defended her home from eviction for two weeks with help from Take Back the Land- Rochester and her neighbors. On March 28, Rochester police executed the eviction with two dozen or so police officers and arresting seven people, including a 70 year old neighbor, still in her pajamas. Charges against those arrested are being dropped in exchange for 8 hours of community service.

After her husband died of cancer in 2008, Ms. Lennon and her family has struggled financially, missed mortgage payments and eventually went into default. After meeting with Take Back the Land- Rochester, Lennon decided to fight the eviction. As the news story went viral and national, Lennon was called the Rosa Parks of the foreclosure crisis. Since the eviction, Lennon has been living in a local hotel as her children and grandchildren are scattered among friends and family.

Update from Ravenwood Eviction: Negotiations with Fannie Mae Begin

After almost a year of being stonewalled by Fannie Mae (the current owner of 9 Ravenwood), today and the day after the eviction of the family and 7 were arrested in protest, Fannie Mae came to the table to begin negotiations with the family.  This afternoon Catherine Lennon of 9 Ravenwood Ave was on a five-way call with 3 officials from Fannie Mae and staff person from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office who arranged the call.  According to Ms. Lennon the dialogue was very positive and that Fannie Mae vowed to work with her to get her home back.  They stated that the first step was to get the family's records of current income and would continue to work from there.  In addition, Take Back the Land Rochester received calls today from both Senator Chuck Schumer's office and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand saying that they would also be stepping up efforts to intervene on the family's behalf.   You can find Congresswoman Slaughter's press release below.


Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules

Representing New York’s 28th District


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Victoria Dillon(202) 225-2888

Slaughter Steps In to Help Local Family Return to their Home

7 Arrested Defending Family from Eviction on Ravenwood Ave.

At about 9:05am this morning about 13 police cars blocked off Ravenwood Ave. and stormed 9 Ravenwood Ave. to forcibly evict the Lennon-Griffen family from their home. Police put up crime scene tape and a group of movers with a U-haul showed up to empty the house. Around 10:30am a group of community members ran through the police crime scene tape and blocked the front door to the house in an act of civil disobedience. Five community members—Jake Allen, Emily Good, Crescenzo Scipione, Zora Gussow, and Ryan Gromkoski—were arrested and charged with obstruction of government administration and trespass. Currently they are being processed at the public safety building on Plymouth Ave. Jail support is scheduled to start a 1pm.

Courtesy of Rochester Independent Media Center

As of 11:15am, two more community members were arrested. Jake Spezio was arrested for trespass and disorderly conduct when he was caught cutting the corner of the police line (an honest mistake it seems) and the other, Liz Rich, a neighbor on Aberdeen St., (a 70 year old retired woman in her pajamas), was arrested for disorderly conduct when she was asking an officer why Spezio was being arrested. The police then forced all witnesses to the end of the street and threatened neighbors for walking by the house.


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