Auto Wreck Survivor Resorts to Hunger Strike to Reclaim Home
Federal authorities sold the home despite owner’s good faith and judge’s request
DETROIT – Disabled teacher, Baxter Jones has jumped through “hoops of fire” with federal housing authorities to keep his home from foreclosure; but the quasi-governmental agency Fannie Mae sold the house out from under him despite a judge’s request. After 9 years of payments and 4 years of legal wrangling, he has resorted to a hunger strike to shine a light on the injustice of his home being taken from him.
“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 Baxter 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.”
Jones bought his home via a First Responder Program after 9/11. He paid his mortgage timely until a severe auto accident hospitalized him and left him with brain, spinal cord damage and using a wheelchair. After the accident, Jones managed to keep his mortgage current for 5 years, until he lost his job due to his disability. On August 28, 2015, Judge Joseph Filip noticed Jones’ heroic and good faith effort to pay for his home while working to overcome his injuries. He asked Trott & Trott, Fannie Mae’s lawyers to work with Jones over a 60-day period to keep him in his home. In 2013 Friends of Baxter Jones presented a letter and ability to pay $60,000 cash, which was $2,000 over market value. Trott & Trott responded demanding no less than $254,000.
“This hunger strike, like the hunger strikes of Caesar Chavez and Gandhi, places my spiritual discipline on the front lines, in hope that a higher power may compel hearts and minds to yield towards justice and humanity over greed,” says Baxter Jones.
Jones has experienced a string of bad experiences with Government authority. State authority overtook citizens voting rights at Detroit schools, where he was working as a teacher. His teaching job was taken away while he was still on Family Medical Leave by State appointed Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Bobb. Bobb would not agree to accommodate Jones’ disability. Jones feels the lack of democracy and teacher pay cuts in Michigan leaves many more DPS teachers in harm’s way.
“I hope to shine a light on all American families in my situation,” said Baxter Jones. 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 buy-back program Jones referenced was designed to stem the tide of economic and social displacement that came with the foreclosure crisis of 2007. It allows those in danger of having their homes taken to purchase the foreclosed home at market value. Fannie Mae was given a bail out by the Federal Government after the housing crash. There are several red flags with this sale:
- · The sale was abnormally quick: The entire deal including closing took place between July 28 (date of the Judge’s request) and August 31.
- · Trott & Trott lawyers for Fannie Mae declared the house was worth $58,000, but refused Jones’ cash offer of $60,000.
- · Trott & Trott demanded Jones pay $254,000 for his home despite declaring in court, the home was only worth $58,000.
- · Trott & Trott recently sold the house to someone else for $100,000 which is less than the $255,000 they demanded Jones pay.
Baxter spokeswoman, Madison Paige says, “This is a terrible situation, because no one who cares about Baxter wants him on this strike. Despite our pleas, his mind is made up, and he is putting it in God’s hands. Congressman Walberg’s staff has been attentive to concerns for Baxter’s health. We will do all we can to accommodate Baxter’s request to our office, in hopes to resolve this as swiftly and safely as possible. ”
Baxter Jones, a human rights activist says, “I have to rely on regular good folks, who believe in justice to call Fannie Mae, to hold them accountable to do the right thing. I should be able to buy back my house at market rate. I pray this happens to no one else.”
Jones’ home is on Rexford Road in Jackson, Michigan. He is asking friends and supporters to contact Katrina Jones, (not related) of Fannie Mae at 215-575-1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and demand that he be allowed to reclaim his home at 8789. Please refer to FHFA file# H-15-1408.
For more information – Visit Baxter on Facebook: