Occupy leaders turn eyes to Peach Pass angst

SNELLVILLE -- Occupy Atlanta supporters were encamped Wednesday for a third day at a foreclosed family home in Snellville, where leaders have unveiled an "Occupy Gwinnett" branch that plans to make the county's new interstate toll system a chief target.

The group pitched tents and took up residence in the middle-class neighborhood Monday in support of a Snellville family of five they feel has been victimized by the foreclosure process.

About a dozen occupiers remained Wednesday, with more tents and a hand-scribbled "No Trespassing" sign now dotting the front yard.

Occupy Atlanta organizer Tim Franzen said the Gwinnett Occupy branch was started during a nightly "general assembly" in that front yard, where foreclosures and the Peach Pass system emerged as issues at the forefront of Gwinnettians' minds. He called the high-occupancy toll system "a clear cash grab" and hinted about trying to mobilize drivers without passes to occupy the lanes en masse.

"There's a lot of interesting action that can be taken against the Peach Pass," Franzen told the Daily Post. "No one likes it -- why should something like this be allowed to exist? Those who profit from it need to be a target."

The Rorey family facing eviction in Snellville includes a DeKalb police officer and his homemaker wife. Having never missed a monthly payment, they fell into foreclosure after trying to modify their mortgage to compensate for cost-of-living increases and their eldest daughter's college tuition, supporters have said. Franzen said he's turned away supporters in Atlanta who are eager to drive to the suburbs and help.

The family's belongings have been packed into a large moving pod in the driveway. Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said an eviction has yet to be scheduled.

Franzen said his requests for a sit-down with Sheriff Butch Conway to explain his group's stance have been ignored. Sheriff's Department officials could not be reached for a response late Wednesday.

"Sheriff Conway has the power to stop this eviction, because it is unjust," Franzen said. "We sure would like to see him take a stand on this."

The Rorey's are hardly alone in their eviction plight.

Data provided by the Sheriff's Department show that deputies execute 30 evictions per day, or roughly 150 per week, in Gwinnett. Those numbers include delinquent renters and foreclosed homeowners.

But the number of evictions in Gwinnett on strictly foreclosed homes stands to climb by 18 percent this year, based on a projected total of 2,321 homes this year versus 1,966 in 2010, Bourbonnais said.

Georgia had the sixth-highest foreclosure rate in the nation through the first half of 2011, according to RealtyTrac.

Protestors have set up an operating base in the Roreys' basement and have started bombarding Fannie Mae's regional office in Atlanta with calls, demanding the company make the Rorey's mortgage work, Franzen said. The family's attorney said the home is worth $80,000 less than they paid for it in 2003, which prevented them from refinancing the loan.

Should the foreclosure still be pending late Thursday, Franzen said Occupy protestors will picket Fannie Mae's office in Buckhead.

"These houses are like a set of dominoes," Franzen said. "When one gets hit (with foreclosure), it effects the other."

As for the Peach Pass issue, Franzen said protestors are eying a scheduled Nov. 17 town hall meeting hosted by State Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) to make their voices heard.


kevin 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope they sit in the HOT lanes for a month and prevent the rich from entering what we paid for already. this project will eventually be mothballed.


SuxBeanU 3 years, 9 months ago

Now this is an interesting article. No where does it mention the facts about how this family came to be in their present position. Had I not read the original story I would have no idea that their being in foreclosure was the result of poor decisions on their part and has nothing to do with their lender. Why did the GDP decide to leave out the pertinent facts of this story? Was it to add credence to the protesters actions, or was it to evoke sympathy for the family? Either way, it is poor journalism to NOT report the facts of the story, all the facts, not just enough to slant the story. Shame on the editors for not insisting on a full and complete story.


nicholson 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree SuxBeanU, the GDP has totally turned a blind eye to the credibility of this Occupy Gwinnett crowd. When are they going to investigate Tim Frazen (or Tim McCabe, the name he went by when arrested for felony burglary)? It's obvious by the GDP's omission of facts and even untrue statements their writers have made (saying that moveon.org is non partisian), that they are biased toward these protestors.


debbiestorm 3 years, 5 months ago

whatever nicholson. biased? what? move on has been at occupy foreclosure protests


Sthrnldy 3 years, 5 months ago

Fact of the matter is that you have not stopped any foreclosures, now have you debbiestorm? Being there and actually doing something are two totally different things. Awareness means nothing without action taking place.


Sthrnldy 3 years, 5 months ago

Great reply, debbiestorm! Why have you and your massive Occupy Gwinnett movement NOT done anything to help with the Peach Pass disaster?

debbiestorm, you are being judged for not fulfilling your promises. The citizens of Gwinnett demand action!


Sthrnldy 3 years, 9 months ago

Rolling my eyes in regards to the misleading headlin as well. Should have read: Occupy leaves foreclosed Snellville family

Truth of the matter is the Occupy people should have known they would not have been able to "save" this family. Most families that have gotten this far into the foreclsure process cannot be rescued.

Occupy is now trying to garner sympathy from the Peach Pass disaster in hopes they can get some positive attention turned towards their urban camping trips. Much of the public is losing interest in them and they are gambling this is a good PR move for them. A wolf in sheep's clothing!


Don_Coyote 3 years, 9 months ago

Occupy Gwinnett appears to be down to Six Characters in Search of a Cause, with apologies to Pirandello. The Town Hall scheduled for the 17th is a response to a Republican Party fiasco advertised as a Town Hall Meeting that did not allow a voice from the town. Unlike Occupy it has a laser focus on HOT lanes and if they are needed in metro Atlanta. This is slated to be a non-political law abiding assembly moderated by a neutral party in the person of the Gwinnett Daily Post's J.K. Murphy. I would urge the media not to give Mr. Frazen the face time he seems to desperately crave as an example of those opposed to the toll lanes. The Town Hall is open for all to attend whether pro or con on the toll lanes but I for one do not want this protest anything group associated with the true grassroots movement against the HOT lanes. I am not associated with any of the HOT lane groups directly, just a fan of them who does not want the message skewed.


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