Protest — September 15, 2015 at 7:11 am

Disabled and fired from his teaching job, Baxter Jones starts hunger strike to reclaim his home

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Baxter Jones was a Detroit middle school teacher and track coach in 2005 when his car was struck from behind by another vehicle. The horrendous accident left him with traumatic brain injury and he is now unable to walk or speak clearly. Five years later, while on family medical leave, he was let go from the Detroit Public School system when former Emergency Manager Robert Bobb controlled the district. Jones, who had purchased a home near Jackson under a First Responder Program after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, kept up mortgage payments until he lost his job. Wells Fargo then foreclosed on his home, refusing to enroll him in a forebearance program for disabled people facing foreclosure. At that point, Fannie Mae, which held his mortgage, and took possession of his Napoleon home and hired the Trott & Trott law firm to evict Jones. On August 8th, 2013, they were successful.

After fighting for three years to keep his home, disabled former teacher S. Baxter Jones now has until the end of the month to leave it.

Surrounded by more than 50 friends and supporters, Jones was evicted under court order and must vacate the Napoleon Township property by Aug. 31. […]

Jones, 57, bought what he called his “dream home” in 2002. After he lost his job in January 2010, Jones said he was able to make payments until October 2010 before he ran out of money.

“My client requested forbearance on his payments in October 2010 when he was pursuing Social Security disability,” Goldberg said. “When he was awarded disability we would have asked for a modification, but was never given the chance in the first place.”

During the eviction proceedings, Jones was able to cobble together $60,000 through friends and volunteers, and made an offer to purchase the home outright. Since Trott & Trott listed the value of the home in court documents at $58,000, this seemed like a possible solution. However, Trott & Trott responded that they wouldn’t take a penny less than $254,000 and refused his offer. They later resold the home for a mere $100,000, less than 40% of the $254,000 they demanded from Jones.

Here is video from a 2013 protest in front of the Fannie Mae offices in Detroit where activists and Jones himself discuss what transpired:

Having tried everything else, Baxter Jones is now engaging in a hunger strike in an attempt to reclaim his home and to draw attention this situation. “I feel disenfranchised, constantly jumping through hoops of fire and being burned. I paid all that money and I have nothing to show for it,” said Jones. “Federal housing authorities have stonewalled me at every turn. I can no longer accept this injustice. I do not want this to happen to another American citizen, so despite my health issues, as a Godly man, I have decided to engage in a hunger strike for justice.

“I hope to shine a light on all American families in my situation,” he continued. “There’s actually a buy-back program to give people the chance to repurchase their homes at market value. I made a good faith offer, but Fannie Mae chose greed over doing what’s right. Some say, ‘Baxter, we are worried about your health.’ I will let the power of God test my life, and pray fervently that He sees the goodness and worthiness in me, an American who has worked and paid taxes and only asked that I be allowed the simple fairness the Judge requested of Fannie Mae: to work with me in consideration of the $190,000 I’ve already paid. My home is all I have in this world.”

The most tragically ironic part about this story is the Fannie Mae enjoyed a massive bailout at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. They, however, aren’t willing to cut a disabled man enough slack that he can get his home back, one that he has paid for several times over.

You can follow Jones’ hunger strike at the Advocates 4 Baxter-A4B Facebook page.

If you’d like to get involved, Baxter Jones is asking people to contact Katrina Jones, (not related) of Fannie Mae at 215-575-1400 or email [email protected] and demand that he be allowed to reclaim his home at 8789 Rexford Road in Napoleon, Michigan. Please refer to FHFA file# H-15-1408.

[Photos from the Advocates 4 Baxter-A4B Facebook page]

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