While commending the Attorney General’s outstanding leadership in bringing the “legal and moral authority” of his office to bear on issues that directly affect American families, Mr. King outlined several steps that could be taken by the Justice Department to counter the impact of actions, including litigation, taken by certain mortgage bondholders “for the purpose of encouraging foreclosures and/or discouraging principal reductions and mortgage modifications.”
“At a time when the mortgages of more than nine million American homeowners remain under water…and with the millions of foreclosures the housing crisis has already wrought,” Mr. King asserted, “it is reprehensible that anyone today could deliberately support more foreclosures and more suffering.”
He noted that these developments directly undermine the government initiatives that have helped “more than one million struggling families modify their mortgages and stay in their homes.” The new push for foreclosures also contradicts the terms of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement negotiated under Holder’s leadership by the Justice Department, as well as attorneys general in 49 states, “specifically requiring banks and other mortgage market participants to pay significant sums to borrowers and to foreclosure prevention programs, including loan modification initiatives.”
In January 2013, Mr. King himself participated in an effort sponsored by the Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) to increase nationwide awareness of the availability of such government-sponsored assistance to those in affected communities, He spoke to nearly 8,000 members of denomination anchor churches, which in turn spread the word throughout their constituent congregations and distributed CDs that reached additional millions.
On a more personal note, Mr. King shared with Attorney General Holder a historic footnote that resonates strongly with his family. He recalled that President Lyndon Johnson secured the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 – Title VIII of which was the Fair Housing Act — on April 11, 1968, exactly one week after Dr. King’s death.
While President Johnson urged Congress to support the legislation as a “fitting tribute” to his father’s lifelong struggle for justice and fairness for all citizens, the third-generation civil rights activist concluded that “some 46 years later, there is still…much more work to be done to ensure that the promise of the Act moves closer to demonstrable reality.”
Toward this end, Mr. King has requested a meeting with Mr. Holder to explore opportunities in which the Justice Department can exert its legal muscle to fight for homeowners in minority communities to protect their interests and preserve their homes against the rising tide of foreclosure litigation.