Writer-Activist in New Fight to Save Home


By Tanya Dennis

Two years ago in 2011, I broke the locks on my foreclosed house in Berkeley and repossessed my home.
By the time the sheriff was due to arrive a month later to evict me again, I had begun working with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and with the group’s support, I told Wells Fargo it would have to arrest me before I’d vacate my property.
My defiance garnered national attention and has encouraged many others to stand up and successfully keep their homes.
Facing press scrutiny, Wells Fargo came to the bargaining table and granted a generous reduction in the principal and interest rate on my home. Since October 2011, I have never missed a payment and have helped many others keep their homes.
Unfortunately this is only half of my story.
During my battle to keep my home, I also was in court representing my mother, Curlee Dennis, a disabled 91 year old, against Wells Fargo and World Savings Bank and a notoriously toxic Pick-a-Pay loan.
Though my mother had excellent credit, she was awarded an additional $500,000 loan on a limited income of under $3,000, a clear case of predatory lending.
I bundled my mother’s property into my negotiations with Wells Fargo, and we reached an agreement to reduce her note by $600,00 and give her a modification.
I was working towards qualifying for the modification for my mother when she died on May 31, 2012. A month later, Wells Fargo informed me that all offers were off the table, and we either had to pay $1.2 million by Oct. 18 or vacate the premises.
I filed bankruptcy to protect my mother’s property and filed a lawsuit in behalf of her estate-charging the bank with discrimination, misrepresentation, elder abuse, unfair business practices, breach of contract and fraudulent concealment.
I called Cal Western Reconveyance on Jan. 8, two days before the auction of my mother’s home. The trustee told me the home was still under bankruptcy protection until Feb. 7.
My real estate broker called Auction.com the day of the auction to see if the sale had been postponed and received in writing a notice of postponement. I came home that evening to find a notice posted on my door from NorCal Investment Group in San Leandro saying that the company had purchased my home and that I should call them to discuss move out options.
In response, I have taken legal action against Wells Fargo and NorCal Investment Group.
I remain in my mother’s home, which was left in trust to my sister and me. I’m not going anywhere. Wells Fargo should know that by now.