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The Mechanics
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Chicago Thu Aug 11 2011

Action Now Tries to Help BofA but Member is Arrested Instead

Earlier this week Action Now board member Marsha Godard tried to deliver a stack of violation notices to Bank of America headquarters. She entered as customer trying to receive assistance and help bring attention to the plight of vacant homes on the South Side. Instead of simply accepting them and calling it a day, Bank of America called the police and had her arrested for criminal trespassing.

Action Now was a big force in pushing for legislation requiring the banks take care of foreclosed properties.

As a result of city council action on July 28, 2011, banks are now required to maintain the 20,000+ vacant properties in the city of Chicago that are destroying neighborhoods and property values as a result of foreclosure. In recent weeks, vacant properties have been the scene of thefts, shootings, rapes and drug deals.

Seems like an issue the two should be able to work on together. Action Now did some investigating in their own neighborhoods and merely wanted to bring it to Bank of America's attention. When Godard entered the Bank of America to deliver them, she was confronted by security multiple times and claims that she was never asked to leave. In an email from a Bank of America media relations person:

On Tuesday, Ms. Goddard was inside our banking center and creating a disruption. The Chicago Police made the decision to arrest her only after she had been asked at least three times to leave the building and continue her demonstration outside.

Godard maintains she did not create a disruption but was merely waiting for customer assistance. The email also said:

Contrary to claims by Ms. Goddard and Action Now that have been picked up in published reports, a bank representative did accept a list of vacant properties once all demonstrators were outside, and the bank will review the list to determine property ownership and responsibility.

It is possible Godard's folder was picked up by a bank representative after her arrest because it is at that moment she lost contact with the folder. A representative never took it from her directly.

Action Now is continuing their protest and urging others to close their accounts at the bank. A court date for Ms. Godard has been set for Sept. 22.

 
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