Woman Lists Bank of America's Vacant Property Violations; Bank of America Has Woman Arrested

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 11, 2011 6:40PM

2011_5_25_BofA.jpg Bank of America had a customer arrested yesterday after she tried to deliver complaints of code violations at properties the bank owns.

Marsha Godard, a board member of Action Now and Bank of America account holder, walked into a branch yesterday with five other members of the group to deliver complaints that the bank violated a recent city ordinance that makes lenders liable for the upkeep of vacant properties even when the borrower still owns the title. Action Now lobbied for that legislation.

Godard’s actions were prompted by a fire in a vacant property in Englewood which left two firefighters injured. The law goes into effect in September, but Goddard and Action Now state they were bringing the complaints to the bank ahead of schedule. At present, there are currently more than 20,000 vacant properties owned by various banks throughout the Chicagoland area.

After attempting to deliver the forms and conduct other business, Bank of America swiftly had Goddard arrested. After stating she wouldn’t leave until the bank took the forms, Goddard told the Huffington Post “Next thing I know, it’s a bunch of security guys in black suits telling me, ‘you can’t protest in here.’ I kept saying ‘I’m not protesting, I’m a customer.” She was released on bond last night.

This morning, Goddard and supporters gathered in front of Bank of America today to attempt to deliver the more than 100 vacant property code violation complaints. Goddard said (via Action Now’s website) “How can my own bank arrest me for trying to speak to them about vacant properties that are in my neighborhood and all over the city of Chicago? Bank of America is not only ruining the lives of homeowners, the safety of communities and America’s economy, they are now arresting people like me that question their destructive actions.” Action Now plans to attempt to deliver the forms again tomorrow morning at Bank of America on Lasalle and Adams.