Common Ground Southeastern Wisconsin
Press Release

Common Ground to Wesley Edens: $30 Million for Our City

Mayor Tom Barrett and President Michael Murphy Meet with Nationstar Mortgage to Discuss Second Wave of Foreclosure Crisis

By - Apr 1st, 2015 10:36 am

Common Ground leaders gathered in the lobby of City Hall to encourage and pray for bold leadership from Mayor Barrett and Common Council President Michael Murphy as they prepare for their 2 pm meeting with Nationstar Mortgage which is majority owned by Bucks Owner Wesley Edens.. Over 75 Common Ground delegates held hands and bowed their heads at City Hall as Pastor Rob Ater sent their encouragement and prayers to the two most powerful elected leaders in the city of Milwaukee.  “We are pleased to see that Mayor Barrett and President Murphy will be meeting with Nationstar to negotiate around the next wave of the foreclosure crisis in the City of Milwaukee. We are confident they will represent the interest of our whole city”, said Mia Price, Common Ground leader.

Since 2008 Common Ground has been at the forefront of the foreclosure crisis. In 2011, Common Ground was able to negotiate $33.8 million from the world’s largest banks to rehabilitate and resell over 55 homes in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park Neighborhood. Since 2008 the City of Milwaukee has lost billions of dollars in the tax base. Due to tighter federal regulations on the large banks, banks have transferred many of their mortgages to non-bank mortgage servicing entities like Nationstar, Ocwen and Green Tree.  “These non-bank entities are not well-regulated and we see that the next wave of Foreclosures in our city will be caused by companies like Nationstar,” stated Randy Jones, Common Ground Leader.

In the city of Milwaukee, Nationstar is the 2nd largest mortgage holder. They service 3101 mortgages in our city. Currently, they have 298 of these houses that are foreclosed or vacant. The second wave of foreclosures could come because 1624 of the mortgages serviced by Nationstar are delinquent, underwater, or delinquent and underwater. Mayor Barrett and President Murphy will be meeting with Nationstar representatives to negotiate a solution to avert this crisis. Representation from Nationstar includes, Executive Vice President Dana Dillard, Senior Vice President James McDermott and their local hired attorney, Ed Heiser of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.

Common Ground Leader Jennifer O’Hear is resolute in the belief that, “ Our mayor and Common Council President won’t sign some token agreement with Nationstar.  We know they love this city as much as we do.  We’ve got a major problem here and we believe our Mayor and Common Council President understand this. We know Mayor Barrett and President Murphy will demand a financial response commensurate with the magnitude of the problem.”

Although the Foreclosure crisis is daunting, President Murphy and Mayor Barrett will be negotiating from a position of strength. The chair of the board of Nationstar Mortgage is Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens. Common Ground Leaders believe that Alderman Murphy and Mayor Barrett will demand that Wesley Edens and Nationstar make right by the City of Milwaukee before our city considers giving Mr. Edens a public subsidy to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here are the requests of Nationstar that Mayor Barrett, Common Council President Michael Murphy and Common Council members should be putting forward to Nationstar:

1) Nationstar donate $25 million to the City of Milwaukee Challenge Fund to foster the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.

2) Nationstar donate $5 million over five years to fund 5-10 housing counselors to go door to door to work with the 1624 families on the delinquent and underwater loans which Nationstar services.  The intention would be to prevent further mortgage foreclosures.

3) Nationstar assign a full-time person on the Nationstar staff to work with Milwaukee housing counselors to restructure mortgages.

“If a little community group like Common Ground can get five international banks to give $33.8 million to address the foreclosure crisis in Milwaukee, surely the two most powerful leaders in Milwaukee, Mayor Barrett and President Murphy, can get $30 million from Nationstar. We are praying for you.” Jennifer O’Hear, Common Ground Leader

Common Ground has invited Mayor Barrett and Common Council President Murphy to report  their progress with Nationstar at our Common Ground Spring Assembly on April 29th at 7pm at Mt. Mary University.

ABOUT COMMON GROUND: Southeastern Wisconsin Common Ground (CG) is a 501(c)3 organization of congregations, religious groups, small businesses, non-profits, schools, unions and neighborhood associations whose mission is to address critical social issues in creative, non-partisan ways. CG’s 45+ member organizations live and work in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties. Common Ground is part of a national network affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest institution for professional organizing in the United States.

For more information on Common Ground, please visit: http://www.commongroundwi.org/

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