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Malden mayor, others protest threatened foreclosure of longtime resident

Posted by Liam O'Kennedy  July 12, 2012 03:33 PM

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Protesters rallied in support of Malden resident Gary Rogers Thursday.

More than 30 people gathered in front of the Malden District Court Thursday to protest the threatened foreclosure of a Malden resident who has lived in his home for 46 years.

Gary Rogers was scheduled for hearing Thursday morning to find out if he would be evicted from his home, but the court postponed the hearing until Aug. 9.

“I just want my house back," Rogers said. "I’m willing to pay, to do whatever I have to do to stay in my house, but Fannie Mae doesn’t want to do anything with me. They don't want to negotiate at all."

Rogers, a 46-year-old junior technician at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and assistant football coach at Malden High School, has been fighting to repurchase his Warren Avenue home from Fannie Mae since the mortgage finance company foreclosed on it last November. Rogers said he could no longer afford the $1,800 per month mortgage payments on the home. He has been approved for a new mortgage by a non-profit lender but said Fannie May won't accept the offer.

The protest was lead by members of City Life/Vida Urbana (CL/VU) and The North Side Bank Tenant Association, community organizations that fight foreclosure related evictions.

“Gary Rogers’ foreclosure never should have happened," said CL/VU organizer Dominic DeSiata. "[Fannie Mae] should have worked with him on a loan modification, but instead they opt for this route and try to push him out of his house."

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson stood next to Rogers on the courthouse front steps, telling the crowd "he epitomizes everything we want in the city of Malden." Rogers also volunteers with Bread of Life and as a youth basketball coach.

"If you look at his track record of community involvement, that should account for something. These folks that are located in Washington have to come in from the mountain top and see what’s going on here," Christenson said.

DeSiata visits 65-100 foreclosed Malden homes every month. He said the city spent $3 million maintaining foreclosed homes last year.

“These houses are not selling fast. They’re sitting empty, and in the meantime this is costing municipalities tons of money in upkeep.”

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