State rep. arrested at eviction blockade

June 22, 2012
By

(Photo by Brandon German, City Life/Vida Urbana) State Rep. Liz Malia sits inside a police van after her arrest June 14.

EGLESTON SQ.—State Rep. Liz Malia, along with five others, was arrested on June 14 following a City Life/Vida Urbana-organized eviction blockade on Mendell Way.

Homeowner Heather Gordon was evicted after a standoff with Boston police, having already moved her belongings out of her 3 Mendell Way home.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” Malia told the Gazette during a phone interview following her release. “There was no alternative left for [Gordon]. I don’t think it’s good public policy to throw people out of their homes.”

Jamaica Plain residents Ken Tilton and Maria Christina Blanco were also arrested, along with three others. Tilton and Blanco are also active with City Life.

The case against the six people arrested was reduced to a civil infraction the next day, June 15. They were each fined $50.

Huntington Bank is the mortgage holder and went to court to get the motion, according to City Life.

A Gazette phone call to Huntington National Bank was not returned.

The three-and-a-half-hour eviction blockade ended with a full police van and an empty truck driving away—Gordon had moved her belongings into storage the previous day.

“Nothing was there to be taken. They [the movers] were really stunned and angry about that,” Gordon said.

Gordon rented her own storage space and moved herself and her family out of the house before the bank-hired movers arrived last Thursday morning.

This was the second eviction attempt this year. Another attempt, in April, ended with Gordon filing for bankruptcy, giving her a 30-day stay from any repossessions, including eviction.

The bankruptcy court judge denied her an extension of the stay. It expired May 21.

Gordon told the Gazette she immediately filed for “adversarial proceedings,” hoping to meet her creditors in court. She maintains that her foreclosure was illegal due to chain of title and notice issues, in which paperwork was not properly filed.

Huntington Bank was sent a summons, with a June 25 reply date. Gordon received a 48-hour eviction notice instead.

“They’re supposed to wait until the adversarial proceeding is closed to file 48-hour notice,” Gordon said. “They’re just being spiteful. They’re in a rush to cover whatever they did.”

Gordon actually received the 48-hour notice almost a week before the eviction, courtesy of a kind constable, she said.

“I’m grateful for that time. I’ve gone ahead and rented storage space, just to get some piece of mind,” she told the Gazette two days before the eviction. “I’d rather move out on my own than have them move me out. Even if I win the case and have to move back in, I’ll do that.”

Gordon tried to enlist the help of state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and Malia to postpone the eviction, or to get the bank to negotiate at all, she said. Malia called Huntington Bank to arrange negotiations, to no avail.

“The bank was determined to evict me,” Gordon said.

“I wanted to do everything in my power to get the bank to negotiate,” Malia said. “Civil disobedience is not my favorite thing to do, but Heather’s out of options. She’s homeless.”

Legislation that would protect foreclosed homeowners like Gordon is currently being reviewed in the state Senate.

“My hope was to finish legislation before her time was up,” Malia said.

Gordon bought her home in 1992, after it had been vacant nine years as a result of the last banking crisis. She is currently staying with her 91-year-old mother while she looks for a new home. She said she’s hoping to stay in JP.

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