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Occupy Atlanta protestors set up shop in foreclosed Snellville home

SNELLVILLE -- Occupy Atlanta protestors shifted a portion of their ranks Monday to a quiet Snellville subdivision that typifies middle-class placidity -- and the toll taken by a sluggish economy and questionable lending practices, the movement's supporters said.

Before daybreak, about 20 protestors unloaded from a van and two cars at 4197 Shoreside Circle, a sloping road off Ga. Highway 124, less than a mile from the DeKalb County line. They pitched a tent and tacked up a banner declaring, "This Home is Occupied." They took naps in the basement. They announced a 3 p.m. press conference.

Should deputies show up to evict the family who lives there, Occupy leaders said they won't budge.

"We'll refuse to leave, but it'll be nonviolent," said Occupy Atlanta organizer Tim Franzen, donning his signature red ski cap.

Like other protestors who've been arrested, Franzen had scribbled his attorney's phone number on his forearm in magic marker, in anticipation of an encore arrest.

The objective is to spotlight the five members of the Rorey family who call the two-story, vinyl-sided abode home, and who are bracing for Gwinnett County Sheriff's Deputies to evict them from the foreclosed property. The man of the house, Christopher Rorey, is a DeKalb police officer of more than a decade; his wife, Tawanna, a homemaker.

Though they have three children at home, including an eldest daughter in college, the Rorey family has the resources to keep pace with their mortgage, unlike many underwater families, said their attorney, Tucker-based Asim Alam.

Alam said financial woes began for the family when they were approached by a con artist who promised to facilitate a loan modification with major lenders. Having never missed a mortgage payment in seven years, the family intentionally defaulted in July 2010 in order to qualify for a loan modification, Alam said.

The process moved slower than expected, and by the third month, a foreclosure notification had been issued, Alam said. A yearlong court battled ensued.

Frustrated, the family emailed Occupy Atlanta leaders and struck a chord last week. Protestors attended a Friday hearing in Gwinnett Superior Court where the family tried but failed to convince a judge to grant an emergency injunction stopping the eviction.

"A lot of people are in this situation and don't know where to turn," Tawanna Rorey said to a bank of reporters in her front yard. "I'm hoping this turns into something so big that the federal government will begin to ask why this is happening so much in this state, and all over."

The property was foreclosed by the previous note-holder, EverHome Mortgage Company, in October last year and transferred to Fannie Mae, court records show.

Fannie Mae obtained a writ of possession from the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court on Feb. 8, which the Rorey family successfully stalled, and reissued the writ in August. Fannie Mae then scheduled a "lock-out" date for the first week in November, according to court filings.

The Roreys bought the home in July 2003 for $179,000. The property sold in foreclosure, court documents show.

Alam said the home is worth about $80,000 less than what the Roreys paid, which made refinancing their loan impossible, he said.

In an order denying the Rorey family an emergency injunction against eviction, Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers wrote she wasn't convinced that Fannie Mae lacked the rights it exercised when it sent an eviction notice.

"(The Rorey family) has also waited until well more than a year to bring this civil action, during which time no mortgage payments were made," Beyers wrote in an order signed Monday.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said an eviction hasn't been scheduled because the matter remains "in the court process."

"It's one of many evictions we have, and nothing has been scheduled yet," Bourbonnais said.

Alam, the attorney, said the Rorey's Lakeside Ridge subdivision is home to "quite a few" vacant, foreclosed homes. He's hopeful the foreclosure process for the Rorey family can be reversed, based on underlying laws, he said.

"They need to do this for every mortgage borrower who's in a similar situation or could be," Alam said.

Protestors said they view Georgia's high foreclosure rate as a symptom of economic disparity.

Franzen said some 100 protestors remained at Atlanta's Peachtree Pine homeless shelter Monday, along with a smaller contingent in Woodruff Park, site of a police-protestor clash this past weekend.

Occupy Atlanta describes itself as a social movement standing for the 99 percent of Americans under the political and economic influence of the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

Franzen predicted the Rorey's home was only the beginning.

"We're hoping to spread this all over the city, the state and the country," he said. "We will stay here until we get this house back."

Comments

rob0362 2 years, 11 months ago

I am sorry but I have no sympathy for these people they had the mean but they choose to gamble with a loan modification are you an idiot. Well you gambled and you crapped out. Hope you enjoy sleeping in the Motel Six.

This is a joke they paid 178 in 2003 and sold for 172 how are the under water for 80,000 if the house is worth 172 and they paid 178? how is that. They screwed the pooch and NOW I have to pay as Fannie Mae backed it

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 11 months ago

I could find no mention of the $172,000 that you noted, and the story said that it had been foreclosed upon, not sold for that amount as you indicated - $178,000 minus $80,000 is $99,000 that it would currently be valued at. These appear to be decent people that were victims of a criminal act, nothing like what you described.

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NewsReader 2 years, 11 months ago

LOL, well, that should be a fitting headquarters, don't you think? A foreclosed property for the foreclosed! There ya go...keep it all together. Elections have consequences. Actions have consequences. Look at the bright side though. When all of you squatters do get arrested, at least you will have three hots and a cot, and you won't be homeless anymore. Make sure you notify the post office of your change of address. It's 2900 University Parkway, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043. The accommodations don't have a review posted yet. Perhaps you'd be so kind as to provide us with one!

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SuxBeanU 2 years, 11 months ago

This Occupy crowd sure knows how to pick their battles. This family does not fit the stereotypical family in foreclosure. The breadwinner has a good job and adequate resources to pay the mortgage, unlike most situations, where a person lost there job and no longer has the ability to make mortgage payments. This is not a situation where the mortgage company did anything wrong, the homeowner simply did not do their due diligence on the scamster that convinced them to stop making mortgage payments. The Occupy crowd needs to understand that when you pick a battle, pick one that demonstrates poor judgement on the part of the mortgage company, not poor judgement and lack of responsibility on the part of the homeowner.

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Exador3 2 years, 11 months ago

These people SHOULD be thrown out. They attempted to SCAM THE SYSTEM. And a COP, no less! He should be fired for fraud. The loan modification program was set up to aid families that were going to lose their homes. Then, this COP calls for an illegal action, in the form of this protest.

Fire this cop. Throw these scammers out.

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 11 months ago

Actually, they appear to have initially been the victims of a scam. Looks like they tried their best but were desperate. I'm betting that this protest will do as it was intended, to bring attention to it, and that they'll get another chance.

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Notthe99 2 years, 11 months ago

"Looks like they tried their best but were desperate"

NO, they were able and were making their mortgage payments just fine. Then they decided to try to get a mortgage modification intended for those who could NOT make their mortgage payments. So in order to qualify they intentionally stopped making payments. They tried to scam the system. Why didn't they take the amount of the payments and save it each month so they could pay back what they owed? They were reckless and dishonest and we the tax payers will end up having to bail them out. I do not know who the 99 percent this silly group thinks they represent, but they certainly do not represent me!

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jwcush 2 years, 11 months ago

While I feel for the owners they did try to scam the system. A police officer should have more common sense than to put his house in jeopardy by stop paying the mortgage that he ahd the means to pay. As to the protesters, they should be immediately removed from the property. The sheriff could be viewed as dragging his feet since this is a police officer. That needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Our house is underwater but the reality is that is only a problem if I am looking to sell it. My hope is that by the time I want or need to do so the housing market will have recovered. I never put my family in a position that I have had to rely on the equity in my house to live. Financial and personal responsibility need to be taught to all generations. I am not part of either the 1% or the 99%.

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jimsung25 2 years, 11 months ago

This is an amazing story. Note how this family is painted as the victim. The reality is, they signed a contract with a bank to fulfill certain obligations. As it turns out, that wasn't convenient for them, so even though they weren't behind on payments, they decided to modify the loan. When that didn't work out, they somehow thought it was OK to NOT pay their mortgage for a year. The real victims here are the American people. We are the ones subsidizing Fannie Mae because of people like this. As an officer of the law, Mr. Rorey should be fired immediately for such behavior.

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nicholson 2 years, 11 months ago

Like many of the other postings, I have absolutely no sympathy for the Roreys for trying to let the taxpayers take the hit instead of living up to their responsibilities. Furthermore, I am astounded that Mr. Rorey, as a policeman, would invite Tim Frazen, a convicted felon and so called leader of Occupy Atlanta, to his house. I am sure the neighbors really appreciate having someone camped out nearby who has served time in prison for burglary and having a controlled substance. The Rorey's continual lack of judgment and poor decision making are the root of their foreclosure problem, not the bank.

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Kent 2 years, 11 months ago

This is example of the new Obamanomics. Can't pay your mortgage-no problem. Can't make a down payment-no problem. Everyone has a right to a home, even if you can not afford it. NO PROBLEM. This policeman, of all people, just decided to try to basically run a scam to get his mortgage payment lowered and it did not work out for him. There are millions of people who do the right thing and continue to make their mortgage payments as per the contract. Then along comes the people who should not have qualified for a mortgage to begin with, and bail when their house value puts them underwater. Those homeowners left in the area have the value of their home value tank even more because of these totally irresponsible selfish people. The previous owners of a home next to me walked away from their mortgage when the value of the house became less than the mortgage and the house sold for one half what the previous owner paid. Just like this cop they could afford to still make the payment yet handed the bank the key. I have no sympathy for these people who are causing the housing market to tank further.

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Sthrnldy 2 years, 11 months ago

If you go to the archived legals here at GDP, Tawanna Rorey is the only one listed on the foreclosure notice / deed / note. So, if the man of the house, Christopher Rorey, is a DeKalb police officer of more than a decade; and his wife, Tawanna, is a homemaker, why is she holding the note (loan / mortgage) as a homemaker (NO job)? The employed law enforcement officer husband's name is not listed.

The Occupy crowd should be more outraged at the Federal government for allowing banks to give loans to people that have no business being homeowners. The Rorey's seem to be "victims" alright, victims of themselves and their entitlement mentality!

But just wait, Cleanupguy will be back to tell us how we are ALL wrong about these "victims"!

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americantaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

add me to the list of the unsympathetic. in fact move me to the top of the list of outraged. the adults in this family should be prosecuted for fraud. someone should forward this story to the dekalb district attorney. anyone who has the means to make good on a contract they signed, and in fact made good on that contract for seven years, and then deliberately violates that contract should be prosecuted. what gives these people the right to live in a house for over a year without making any payments on that house. and to add insult to injury, the breadwinner in this family is a police officer, someone who is sworn to uphold the laws of this country. i wonder what other instruments of fraud this family practices. what great role models these parents are.

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