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Protest to support Dot family's foreclosure fight

Sandra Larson | 12/9/2009, 4:10 a.m.

Repurchasing a foreclosed home at its current value is a solution City Life believes in, not only for the Brewingtons, but for many homeowners in foreclosure.

The Brewingtons have been saving their old mortgage payment amount each month and would have no trouble continuing to pay that amount or even a little more, Brewington said.

But OneWest Bank, the servicer for Deutsche Bank (who owns the house now), has so far rejected the purchase offers and plans to continue with the eviction and then sell the house on the open market.

“The bank doesn’t care about the human circumstances,” said Jim Brooks, one of City Life’s tenant organizers who has worked closely with the Brewingtons. “These are elderly, disabled people. They’ve been stable members of the community. They’re in this situation through no fault of their own.”

Brooks said it’s a mystery why the bank is not willing to accept the purchase. “It’s not like they’re asking for a bailout,” he said. “They just want to pay the real value of their property.”

A representative of OneWest Bank reached by phone declined to comment. The bank’s public relations firm, Sard Verbinnen and Company, was unavailable to comment.

The Brewingtons have little hope of recovering any money from the relative that initiated the second-mortgage process. She spent the loan money “living high off the hog,” according to Brewington, and has since lost her own house to foreclosure.  Brewington said he filed a complaint, with no result yet.

But Cohen said that pursuing the relative is not the most important step. “Right now it’s the bank who owns the property,” said Cohen. “Banks have to step up and take some responsibility. They lent the money while ignoring red flags that this might be fraudulent.”

The Dec. 19 justice/holiday party is intended as a demonstration of support for the Brewingtons and an effort to keep public attention on the fight, said Brooks. City Life members will bring food, invite members of the press and decorate a tree outside with symbolic ornaments like house keys. One organizer suggested they might even set up a nativity scene with a “foreclosed” sign on the manger.

The family is looking forward to the event, said both Vanita and Hildreth Brewington, though Hildreth has some work to do before then.

“I’m trying to get my living room straightened up,” he said, “because I’ve been packed up for two years….I even gave my dog away because I thought I would have to move.”

They are not sure what the next step in their case will be, but Brewington said he doesn’t expect anything to happen until after the holidays. Not that the holidays offer much peace for him.

“The last couple of Christmases, I haven’t felt like doing anything,” he said. “It’s hard when you don’t know day to day where you’re going to live.”