I Failed… and I’m So Very Sorry

Today, another victim of the foreclosure crisis took her own life.  She was a disabled American veteran and her family was counting on me to help.  And I let them down.

You see, when I returned from a trip to Hawaii earlier this summer to meet with members of the state’s legislature on how the state might better deal with the foreclosure crisis, I received a call and a letter from a couple who’s home was about to be sold by Ocwen.  The husband, afflicted by multiple sclerosis, could not be moved from their handicapped home and I couldn’t stand what watching what was about to happen… so I wrote about it… attacking Ocwen for allowing such an injustice to take place.

And Ocwen responded.  Within days the trustee sale was cancelled and Ocwen agreed to modify the loan so the family could remain in their home of so many years.  It should go without saying that the couple was joyous and thankful, although I couldn’t help but wonder about all the families about whom I would never be able to write about… and perhaps save from the pain of foreclosure.

Soon after that I received another letter and call from a couple’s daughter who lived in Hawaii… her parents were facing foreclosure in California and their lawyer who had been hired to help them had dropped the ball… they were on their way to being evicted.  They’re older… in their 70s, and they were caring for a disabled American veteran… a member of the family.

I tried to help… called an attorney friend of mine who stepped in and filed what could be filed, but acknowledged openly that it was a long shot.  Maybe some media attention would help, as it had previously, and I said that I would write about their situation.

But, the truth is that I never got around to it.  I had other pressing concerns.  And I’m only one person fighting a much larger fight.  I spent several weeks in Arizona, meeting with lawyers and homeowners… and filming a documentary that I’d come to believe is the most important contribution I can make to the war against the bankers and the foreclosure crisis that is quietly tearing about our country and destroying our middle class and our economy.

I found out today that a few days ago she took her own life.  Wells Fargo Bank had allowed the eviction to proceed; they refused to do anything else.  Maybe they wouldn’t have changed their mind had I found the time to publicize the couple’s plight… maybe not.  But, we’ll never know… I’ll never know.

The couple called me, their daughter called me… many times during the month of August, but I was away in Arizona, I needed the rest… my own health was in question and I felt I needed to rest and recuperate before I‘d be able to continue the fight effectively.  I spoke with the husband… and the wife… they sent me their story written out on many pages.  It all started when Wells Fargo said they had made a trial payment a couple of days late.  The couple said they had made it on time.  How petty a thing that could lead to such a tragic end…

I tried to calm them down… told them I would try to help them.  But, I never got back to them… never wrote their story.  And now it’s too late.

The last phone message I received was from their daughter.  I played it today when I got the news.  She was literally begging for my help.  But I didn’t hear it in time.  And now a disabled American veteran is gone.

I don’t know what to say except that I am so very sorry that I let them down.  So deeply sorry… and I’ll never forget them… I’ll try never to let something like that happen again.

But the other truth is that I’m angry.  I’m angry that I even have such responsibility… such power that my writing about someone’s situation has the potential to save their home from foreclosure.  It shouldn’t be the case.  The banks should not be allowed to lie to people, the process should be transparent… none of it should be done in secret.

God damn the bankers that continue to treat American homeowners struggling financially as a result of the global financial crisis and our country’s deepening recession that they caused as if they are meaningless souls… as if they are to be disposed of like diseased cattle.

And God damn those who have no compassion for the millions of Americans who continue to receive foreclosure notices every day… their lack of compassion comes from their ignorance of the facts involved, and at this point there is no excuse for that ignorance.

And God damn the Obama Administration for ignoring and abandoning the American middle class in favor of the banking billionaires to whom he has given a blank check as reward for their crimes.  None of this should be happening in my country.

But, again… I’m just so sorry that I let them down.  Please join in this prayer for a fallen soldier… its author is unknown…

I saw a soldier kneeling down,

for this was the first quiet place he had found.

He had traveled through jungles, rivers and mud.

His hands were scared and toil-warned.

He folded his hands and looked to the sky…

I saw his tears, as they welled in his eyes.

He spoke to God, and this is what he said.

God Bless my men, who now lie dead;

I know not what You have in mind,

but when You judge, please be kind….

when they come before You, they will be poorly dressed

but will walk proudly, for they have done their best.

Their boots will be muddy and their clothes all torn…

but these clothes they have so proudly worn.

Their hearts will be still and cold inside,

for they have fought their best and did so with pride.

So please take care of them as they pass Your way…

the price of freedom they’ve already paid.


Mandelman out.

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