INTERVIEW: Bobby McKenzie has the juice to turn a Red district Blue with your help


For Democratic candidate for the United States Congress in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, Bobby McKenzie, life these days is filled with events, rallies, door knocking and money raising, something that is true for most candidates. What is setting Bobby McKenzie apart from most other campaigns is that he is running against a multi-millionaire by the name of David Trott, also known as “The Foreclosure King” for his law firm’s foreclosing on more than 80,000 homes in the state of Michigan in one year alone, profiting multimillions of dollars off the suffering of mostly middle class friends and neighbors.

Trott & Trott, the firm in question, represented banks that had mortgagees who ended up months behind in their payments because of the economic downturn, people who then tried to modify their loans to make their home payments more affordable and to remove them from the threat of foreclosure. Trott & Trott then became the banks’ “strong arm”.

This is from the Trott & Trott website:

Founded in 1976, Farmington Hills, Michigan based Trott & Trott, P.C. specializes in all facets of real estate finance legal work, including litigation, bankruptcy, eviction, REO and default servicing. With a steadfast dedication to client service, integrity and innovation, the real estate finance law firm represents mortgage bankers, banks, credit unions, mortgage servicers, regional property owners, investor groups and individual entrepreneurs with mortgages in the state of Michigan.

Most of the 80,000-plus homeowners who attempted to work with Trott & Trott have shared horror stories about their processing of paperwork and outright delaying of modified loans in what is called “cash for keys” program. In some cases they just delayed modifications so that the bank got the house back, sold it for a profit, and the homeowner was then evicted, having to start all over again. Some of these people had lived in their homes for many years and now had not only lost their homes, but were broke on top if it. It gets worse, but I think you get it.

I tell you all of this so that you understand the stark difference between Republican David Trott and his Democratic challenger Bobby McKenzie. And the differences are remarkable.

I would suggest you read their backgrounds here:

For Bobby McKenzie:

For David Trott:

Yes, they took very different paths and yes, as one candidate, McKenzie, chose a path that helped to protect his country. The other candidate, Trott, on the other hand, chose a path that protected his bank account. Now, I am all in favor of successful business and I do not begrudge anyone their success, financial or otherwise. But I do take umbrage as to how they acquire that success and, with well over 80,000 testimonials that provide a bit too much light for me, David Trott has earned the label “The Foreclosure King” and how!

Over the past few days the McKenzie campaign has been getting a lot of media attention, most of it good. The McKenzie campaign aired this first television ad yesterday as was reported here on Eclectablog , even garnering some attention from the Washington Post.

With all of this activity in a Congressional district that was assumed a safe Republican seat, Bobby McKenzie seems to have some momentum on his side and a lot of talk that he just might have the juice to win this seat in 12 days.

I met Bobby McKenzie many months ago and have watched this race closely. I thought it was time to sit down and chat about this race with him, so we did this morning.

I saw you speak before the primary and after the primary and the tone was very different, much more passionate after the primary. Was the primary victory a confidence boost for you?

After the primary our campaign was able to solidify our base and put together an extraordinary ground game. I am feeling more comfortable talking about things like my younger brother who had to leave the state to find work, or my sister, who is a public school teacher in Detroit who has not had a raise in four years. Also my 76-year old father who is a polio survivor and is a small business owner. They’re some of the reasons that I decided to run and I am much more comfortable talking about that now.

It seems to me that your message is resonating with people in an extraordinary way and that you are proving something I talk a lot about which is electing people who understand our lives and live the way we do. Do you agree with that?

I couldn’t agree more. We need people who are like us. People who have compassion. People who want to move Michigan forward. Not people who are working for themselves supported by big banks. We need to elect people based on their values, their character, based on their ideals and their ideas. If you look at what David Trott represents, he represents the worst.

Your campaign put out an ad yesterday that told a story that needed to be told, but it was a story that was not easily told.

The cruel truth about the story is we had to mute certain aspects of the story. The story itself is so hard to wrap your mind around. For example, the woman was evicted in the rain so we decided it was too much. Showing her medications that were thrown away in the dumpster was too much. But what we did do was tell a story that magnified what David Trott had done and what he has been doing for over two decades.

The subject of the story was about a 101-year-old woman.

Yes, a 101 year old woman, wheelchair-bound, who had lived in her home for over 50 years, had no where else to go. Where’s the compassion? There is something wrong with this. And that David Trott has spent millions of dollars on television saying that he is a job creator and community builder is nonsense.

Listen, we magnified one story here to try and show what David Trott has done over the past two decades. In 2008-2009, when Michigan was at its worst economically, it was David Trott’s best years ever. Put that in perspective. He foreclosed on over 80,000 homes in one year.

McKenzie then shared with me that he outraised Trott 2-1 in their most recent filing and that Trott “loaned” his campaign over $1 million dollars. And a part of Trott’s filing was chartering a private jet for his personal use. Serious voters, I am very familiar with the 11th Congressional District and I cannot think of a single reason why you would need to charter a jet to get around the district.

Let’s talk about the people you have met along the campaign trail who I am guessing are giving you motivation to win.

Absolutely. Every day I am meeting people on the campaign trail across the district that have stories and hope for a better Michigan and also people who have stories of foreclosure and eviction at the hands of David Trott. David Trott is not well liked and both Tea Partiers and Occupy folks have an utter dislike of David Trott. Can you think of any other issue that would bring these two groups together?!

When it comes to issues, Bobby McKenzie is committed to making sure that his 76-year-old father gets the Social Security and Medicare that was promised to him and everyone else is honored. He will fight for affordable college and work hard to make sure that tuition is held in check and that young people do not have to leave the state they grow up in just to find a job. And he agrees that, although the Affordable Care Act is not perfect (what is?), he will defend it on its merits and fight to be sure women have equality in the doctor’s office as well as in the workplace.

The 11th Congressional District was once considered a very safe Republican district. It was gerrymandered for the now-disgraced and eccentric former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter. The current Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is a Tea Party favorite who is now running as a write-in candidate as a Republican. There is also fourth candidate, John Tattar, a Libertarian, who has run in this district for the past five election cycles. If you need a scorecard to keep this all straight, don’t bother.

My firm belief is that Bobby McKenzie makes sense for a variety of reasons, and I am not just saying that because I am a Democrat. David Trott is trying to buy the seat, Bentivolio wants to hold onto his seat, and Tattar just wants to be a place-keeper for his Party.

I ran for Congress in 2006 in this district and, although it was somewhat different, it is a district like many in southeast Michigan that is turning bluer all the time. I believe this can be the year to finally make sure that happens. So does Bobby McKenzie and many of the 80,000 who have been burned by Trott.

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