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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.

Catherine Lennon's story drew the attention of Representative Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Senator Kirsten Gilibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer. Their offices have been in touch with Catherine Lennon and Take Back the Land- Rochester. Fannie Mae, recipient of over $90 billion in TARP bailout and the entity responsible for the eviction, was compelled by the officials to negotiate with Lennon, but recently offered to sell her the home for $50,000. The home was valued at $30,000 in 2006, during the height of the housing boom and before the crash of property values. State Supreme Court documents reveal that Fannie Mae bought the house for $500 and now are trying to sell house to back to the family for a 10,000% profit.

The coalition is calling for the Lennon-Griffin family to be returned to their home and an end to the practices which provide banks with financial incentives to evict families in foreclosure. In addition, documents will be revealed which point to irregularities, and possible fraud, in the foreclosure process handled by notorious foreclosure mill of Steven J. Baum. The Baum firm is under investigation by the state of New York for fraud.

Endorsing organizations for Justice for the Lennon-Griffin Family include: Activists Against Racism Movement, Brockport Student Social Work Organization (SUNY-Brockport), Brock Social Work Center for Constitutional Rights, Community Education Task Force, Department of Social Work--SUNY Brockport, Flying Squirrel Community Space, Genesee Valley Earth First!, Green Party of Monroe County, House of Mercy, Rochester Against War, Rochester Poor People's Coalition, St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, Social Welfare Action Alliance Rochester,  Take Back the Land Rochester, Rochester International Socialist Organization, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, University of Rochester Students for a Democratic Society