An ugly foreclosure story, starring Bank of America
Dirma Rodriguez wonders how a house she’d been paying on for years, and which is specially modified for her severely disabled daughter, could be taken from her.
Dirma Rodriguez had five minutes to gather her things and vacate the West Adams house she and her severely disabled daughter had lived in for more than 25 years.
As a property manager changed the locks, Rodriguez fluttered back and forth from the yard — where a pile of stuff lay by the kitchen stove — to her car, where her daughter, Ingrid Ortiz, sat screaming and crying.
How Rodriguez and Ortiz ended up in this predicament is a long, messy story that resounds with a misery all too common in this age of foreclosure.
Rodriguez took out a loan to retrofit her house for her special-needs daughter. After she fell behind on her payments, the Bank of America lowered her monthly obligation, but then sold the house at a foreclosure auction last September. The new owner, a house flipper from El Segundo called West Ridge Rentals, moved to evict the family.
I came upon Rodriguez’s story through Occupy Fights Foreclosure, the latest offshoot of the 99% movement. Occupy interceded to stop her eviction March 26, and it just may have saved her home for good. Bank of America said last week it is considering a loan modification that would return the home to Rodriguez and her family.
But how did it come to this? Bank of America took a $45-billion bailout from taxpayers when it got into financial trouble. Why couldn’t the bank have shown Rodriguez — a widow whose life was already a trial — the same courtesy when she got squeezed?