March 31st was deadline day for 30,000 County families currently occupying their homes to pay property taxes or face foreclosure and auction
Speakers tell Wayne County Commission March 17 that tax foreclosures illegal due to no value re-assessments; violate Indigenous Peoples rights
Protest held outside Wayne County Treasurer’s office March 23
Federal claims filed against County citing $100 billion in domestic terrorism insurance, by Squires, Schied, acting under law as private atty. generals
Alonzo Long, Jr. acquitted Feb. 1 on murder charges for defending his family against armed foreclosure bidders
By Diane Bukowski, Cornell Squires, and David Schied
April 4, 2016
DETROIT–Wayne County residents hit their government from all sides over the last two weeks to stop the pending tax foreclosures and auctions of 30,000 homes this year. Detroit and Wayne County homes have been virtually bombed out by such foreclosures for over 15 years, leaving neighborhoods looking like war zones, they say.
“Our property is being taken away, our school system is being taken away,” Kamala El told Commission members. “When are respect and human compassion going to manifest themselves in this city and county? Stop the corruption and thievery and give us our due!”
She cited common law rights under the Wayne County Charter, and the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, finally signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010. That declaration says in Article 26, “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.” (See UN Declaration at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/UN-Dec-Rights-of-Indigenous-Peoples-1.)
Many Black Detroiters have Native American ancestry. Many also claim indigenous sovereignty as descendants of the Moors, Black Africans who migrated to Europe and later the Americas independent of the slave trade.
El noted that no one currently occupies the office of Wayne County Treasurer, and called at least for a moratorium on all foreclosures until residents have elected a Treasurer.
Also raising the issue of indigenous people’s rights has been activist and “attorney in fact” James Cole, Jr. who helps people fight foreclosures from his home. Cole and others have found numerous irregularities in the practices of the Wayne County Treasurer’s office regarding foreclosures, including the use of unauthorized personnel to sign and notarize “Sheriff’s Deeds” issued after foreclosure takes place.
The extent to which anger is rising in Detroit and elsewhere about the devastation of the area was shown Feb. 1, when a Wayne County Circuit Court jury found Alonzo Long, Jr. NOT GUILTY of second-degree murder and other counts.
Long had defended his family against a father and daughter who bought his uncle’s home at auction in 2013, then tried to force family members out at gunpoint as they were in the process of moving the uncle anyway. The erstwhile landlords had not gone to 36th District Court to carry out the eviction.
Attorney Lillian Diallo, who represented Long in an uphill battle, said that under the law, people have the right to self-defense and defense of others.
Cornell Squires, of We the People 4 the People, whose own home is on the foreclosure list, called the pending foreclosures nothing but domestic terrorism and violations of the RICO Act.
He presented the Commission with a “cease and desist” demand letter sent to then Wayne County Treasurer Richard Hathaway, Deputy Treasurer Eric Sabree and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans Feb. 23.
“We know that the County’s Treasury will soon hold public auctions of [properties], . . . many of which are being auctioned with the wrong tax bills, because the tax bills are not based on upon the true cash value. . .This poses a legal issue and the county treasury could be liable,” the letter reads in part.
“If you continue the auction of properties without notifying residents of this error on their tax bills . . . .residents will suffer irreparable harm.” (Read full letter at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Cornelltaxletter.)
Michigan law requires municipalities to conduct annual assessments of real estate values, or at the very least, reassessments every five years. Detroit had not done so for 20 years, until current Mayor Mike Duggan conducted a partial re-assessment over the past year. But, Squires said, that is not sufficient to make up for the years residents have been overbilled.
“The County and the City owe US money, not the other way around,” he said.
(See MCL 211.1o, “Annual Assessment of Property,” at mcl-211-10 Annual assessment of property and State Provisions for Property Reassessment. )
Instead, what the County has done is increase interest rates on delinquent taxes to 18 percent, while the City of Detroit is allowing wealthier neighborhoods like Palmer Woods and Sherwood to vote themselves additional tax assessments to qualify for better city services than other areas.
On March 23, protesters from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition called for an immediate end to tax foreclosures outside the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office at 400 Monroe in downtown Detroit. Among the demands listed on their flier:
- “We demand proper reassessment, and debt incurred by failure to properly assess be wiped clean! Stop Foreclosures and auctioning of homes based on “fraudulent” assessments!
- Water bills are added to the property tax. Remove all water bill debt from property tax bills!
- In a city where 43% live in poverty, the tax department does not notify people that they may be eligible for “poverty” or principal residence exemptions. Eligibility for “poverty” exemptions should be retroactive, and everyone needs to be informed of these exemptions!
“The State of Michigan has just received a new grant of $74 million in Federal Helping Hardest Hit Homeowner assistance,” the flier continues.
“These funds must be used to pay delinquent property tax bills for occupied homes, not be diverted for ‘blight removal’ as was done last year. Place an immediate moratorium on tax foreclosures . . .to allow families the opportunity to access these new Step Forward Funds. Make the Banks and Gilbert pay for the blight they caused through their predatory lending policies.”
On April 2, David Schied and Cornell Squires, acting under law as “private attorney generals,” filed updates to their federal claims against Wayne County’s $100 BILLION Domestic Terrorism insurance policy, asking to compensate taxpayers who have had their homes foreclosed on. Wayne County carries that policy through the infamous AIG (American International Group), whose collapse in 2008, losing $99.2 billion in assets, helped trigger that year’s global economic crisis. AIG was bailed out with an $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Schied wrote VOD, “Yesterday, I filed two sets of major documents in the federal court . . . official “Article III Court of Record.” First, was my “Response to….” the fraudulent filing of AIG insurance attorneys trying to get the $100 BILLION ‘domestic terrorism’ insurance policy and company out of this ongoing case. http://cases.michigan.constitutionalgov.us/david-schied/2015_SchiedvJudgeKarenKhaliletalinUSDCEDM/033116_MyResp2PlunkettCooney&AIG-Mot4SummJudg/
“Second, was my filing – as a Private Attorney General (with the support of an over 50-page “Memorandum of Law in Support”. . . .) to add 14 more people with claims against Wayne County and the $100 Billion insurance contract with AIG, with sworn and notarized Affidavits from each of the 14 attesting as FACT that they were both witnesses and victims to the domestic terrorism being carried out by the agents of the Charter County of Wayne. http://cases.michigan.constitutionalgov.us/david-schied/2015_SchiedvJudgeKarenKhaliletalinUSDCEDM/033116_PAGsSchied&Squires_Joinderof-14-ClaimantsCrimeVictims/ ”
The entire message is at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/100-BILLION-IN-DOMESTIC-TERRORISM-CLAIMS-AGAINST-WAYNE-COUNTY.pdf.
Schied and Squires, along with members of their groups We the People for the People, and RICOBusters, are recruiting those who have lost their homes to foreclosure to join the lawsuit. A special meeting will be held as follows:
JOIN $100 BILLION FEDERAL CLAIM VS. WAYNE COUNTY DOMESTIC TERRORISM
Compensation for Foreclosed Homeowners!
Saturday, April 9, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
8530 Joy Road at Ohio, Detroit, Michigan.
For further information, call Cornell Squires at 313-460-3175
#BeatBacktheBullies, #HousingisaHumanRight, #BlackHomesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatterDetroit, #SaveDetroit, #SaveOurChildren, #StandUpNow, #StopForeclosuresandEvictions, #JailDanGilbert, #JailRickSnyder, #JailCorruptWayneCoOfficals
Alonzo Long, Jr. stories
I love this story…Thanks, Diane Bukowski keep up the good work.
“Unity in the Community”
ACTIVISTS SAY WAYNE CO. TAX FORECLOSURES ILLEGAL, VIOLATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS, DOMESTIC TERRORISM
Posted on 04/05/2016 by Diane Bukowski