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Protesters fail to stop eviction of Malden woman

Posted by Marcia Dick  October 18, 2011 10:05 AM

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Justin A. Rice photos

Protesters march outside Rose Kyeswa's Malden home attempting to prevent her eventual eviction.

After spending the last three years fighting to stay in her home, Rose Kyeswa spent all day yesterday fighting outside it.

The Malden resident whose home is being foreclosed on by Fannie Mae was joined by about 50 activists, including members of City Life/Vida Urbana and Occupy Boston, in an attempt to block the eviction from her home at 39 Wyllis Ave.

A judge, though, refused her lawyer’s attempt to block the eviction.

Kyeswa’s lawyer, Zoe K. Cronin of Greater Boston Legal Services, rushed her client to Malden District Court just before the court closed at 4:30 p.m. to ask Judge Michael Uhlarik for an injunction. Uhlarik granted an injunction and allowed Kyeswa 30 minutes to retrieve her personal items. He said a constable had to move the rest of Kyeswa’s possessions to storage by 10 p.m., according to Cronin.

“She did, unfortunately and sadly, get evicted,’’ said Cronin, whose motion to have the eviction notice resubmitted was denied by Uhlarik. “We’re still trying to buy the house back. It’s such a waste to have somebody go through all this drama when they should have to negotiate. She’s a very brave woman, but she’s feeling shaky.’’

Earlier in the day, Kyeswa was buoyed by the show of support outside her home.

“I’m so happy, I was expecting there to be two or three people,” the mother of five said shortly before Malden Police gave activists a few extra hours to iron out negotiations with Fannie Mae and the nonprofit lender Boston Community Capital to buy back the home. “To see all these people supporting me, it’s a good thing.”

But her tone changed around 2:40 p.m. when activists began alleging that police allowed a Middlesex court-contracted constable to enter the home. They said Jason Burke  of Lowell-based AAA Constable Services and Court Investigations entered the back door without properly serving Kyeswa the eviction notice. 

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Rose Kyeswa's addresses protesters outside her home at 39 Wyllis St. in Malden.

“They went in the back and they changed the locks, now they are inside,” said Kyeswa, whose wallet, medication, and identification was in the home. “They just sneaked in. I’m nervous because they are in my house with my stuff.”

Burke declined comment. Malden Police Captain Thomas Swanson said he took Burke’s word that the documents were presented properly.

“Take it for what it’s worth, the constable didn’t go breaking into any house without having paper work in order,” Swanson said before the injunction was issued. “We wouldn’t support them if there wasn’t an order.”

Kyeswa’s home was foreclosed on in 2008 after she lost her job as a nursing assistant. Her mortgage was inherited by Fannie Mae from Bank of America last year after the home could not be sold at auction.

“Bank of America has completed more than 900,000 modifications since the housing crisis began,’’ Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said in a statement. “During the default stage, we make multiple attempts to reach out to our customers to offer assistance with their mortgage payments. In 2009, we invited [Kyeswa] to submit documentation to be reviewed for the Making Home Affordable modification, but she did not respond to our offer. We continued to reach out to her and offer assistance in the nearly 30 months that she was delinquent. Less than a month before foreclosure sale, we did attempt to review her for a modification. But unfortunately, she was not eligible.’’

In June she was given two months to move out. Representing herself in court, Kyeswa argued that she now has two jobs and can afford to buy back the home or pay rent to the bank. The court gave her a one-month extension this summer, but when she applied for another extension in September, the judge’s decision to deny the request was never mailed to her, said Cronin, who represented Kyeswa in court for the first time yesterday morning.

Kyeswa’s foreclosure case was one of 45 highlighted during the Sept. 30 Right to the City Coalition’s protest, during which 24 people were arrested outside Bank of America’s Boston corporate office. Earlier yesterday, many of the same activists protesting in Malden said they delayed a home auction in Dorchester.

In Malden yesterday, the protesters marched in a circle in the street while holding signs that read, “We shall not be moved’’ and “Housing for people not for profit.’’

The group chanted “Up with the people, down with the banks’’ and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Fannie Mae has got to go.’’

“She still wants to buy back the house if she can,” Cronin said. “Sadly she is evicted and homeless. She doesn’t have any place to go tonight.”


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Dominic Desiata of City Life/Vida Urbana negotiates with a police officer outside 39 Wyllis St. in Malden.

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