On Thursday, I posted about Lilly Washington, the woman who was visiting her son in a military hospital in Germany and returned to find her home had been foreclosed, and all her belongings sent to the city dump, including her son's Purple Heart. As part of the Home Defenders League launch, she hosted a barbecue at her home for 70 people, including her local City Council Member and news crews from four local TV stations. The above video is her local NBC affiliate coverage.
This is from Lilly's letter to HDL partner LUCHA in May 2012:
They took my home. Evicted me twice. Helped put me in the hospital six times. Threw everything I owned in the city dump. And when they sold my house out from under me back in 2010, I was in a military hospital in Germany, helping care for my son, who was in a coma from injuries suffered in combat in Afghanistan.
That’s crazy, right? But I never gave up. After Bank of America sold my home – I was already negotiating with them for a loan modification and they even told me that they would put the negotiations on hold while I cared for my son – I decided I wasn’t leaving and I reoccupied it.
The Home Defenders League fills in a lot of details here that weren't available in earlier reports:
Here’s what happened to Lilly when she came back from Afghanistan (her son, thankfully, emerged from his coma). She found a ‘for sale’ sign in the yard and a new lock on the front door. Her house had been completely emptied; the furniture acquired over years, the Purple Heart her son had earned when he was shot during an earlier tour in Iraq: all gone. Bank of America had illegally and fraudulently sold her house to Fannie Mae only days after she’d left the country. And, they’d thrown all of her belongings in the city dump.
So like David confronting impossible odds, she stood up and fought. She moved back in, fought the eviction in court, and replaced her furniture with donations from her church. When the Sheriff’s deputies came in January 2012 to evict her, Lilly won a stay of eviction. Then in April she found a judge who finally recognized that she had been robbed by Wall Street bankers and let her legally possess her home again.
The fight has cost her, though. Fighting the Sheriff’s deputies gave her a slipped disk. The stress caused her a heart attack. She’s gone to the hospital six times and is facing yet another surgery. She’s on disability. But she’s outraged that the banks can break the law, steal her house, throw away everything she’s ever owned, ruin her health without facing any consequences whatsoever. She’s headed back to court to force Bank of America and Fannie Mae to give her title to the house free and clear and make them pay damages.