Press Conference to be held 12:30 p.m., August 23, Richmond Court House
Early Saturday, June 23, 2018, Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles abruptly got out of bed responding to a call for help. Mrs. Lela Madison, 92-year-old Richmond resident and retired nurse, was sitting disconsolate on her front stoop, locked out of her home of more than 58 years following foreclosure and eviction.
Beckles hurried to the Southside Richmond site and spoke with Madison for more than half an hour while live-streaming their conversation, calling for help, and arranging for a GoFundMe site for contributions of aid. The video ultimately had more than 450,000 views online and the funding site reached its goal of $10,000.
On grounds of irregularities in the eviction process, Mrs. Madison petitioned the court to reverse the eviction. On Tuesday, August 21, Mrs. Madison won a court order from Judge Benjamin Reyes that ensured her right to return home.
“I am thrilled about this progress! It’s a beautiful victory and testament to what we can do when we unite against injustice. But we need more. Systemic solutions are needed to prevent these kinds of actions from being perpetrated by banks and speculators,” said Councilmember Beckles.
A press conference will be held at the Richmond Courthouse Thursday, August 23, at 12:30 pm, prior to a court hearing at approximately 2 pm before Judge Reyes to determine whether the underlying foreclosure case will be dismissed or go to trial.
Mrs. Madison had tried to save her home by borrowing against a family home previously owned by her deceased mother. Both homes were foreclosed by Wells Fargo and the debts sold to Community Fund, LLC, in a sequence of transactions that subsequently led to an investigation by the Contra Costa District Attorney.
Michael Marr, CEO of Community Fund, LLC, was convicted in June, 2017 for conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Alameda and Contra Costa County. In March, 2018 he was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a criminal fine of $1,397,061.59.
At the hearing on August 23, Mrs. Madison will be joined by Councilmember Beckles, Mrs. Madison’s counsel Bill Simpich, and other community leaders.