By Emma Fidel, Bloomberg News
August 27, 2012
A few dozen people people picketed outside Edward DeMarco’s house this evening to protest what they say is his unfair treatment of their own homes.
DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, didn’t show during the 1 and 1/2 hour gathering on his lawn in Silver Spring, Maryland. The protestors, who call themselves the Fannie Freddie Fighters, told stories of going through foreclosures with a megaphone and chanted, “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” and, “Ed DeMarco we’re coming for you.”
DeMarco’s agency oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he has recently come under fire from homeowners and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner alike for refusing to allow principal reductions on delinquent mortgages. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called for DeMarco’s firing in July.
Protesters, who ranged in age and ethnicity, said they hoped DeMarco would reduce principals on mortgages, be replaced, or both.
“My wife Lucinda and I are fighting to save our home,” said John Vinje, a U.S. Air Force veteran from Minnesota. “We’re here to hopefully convince Mr. DeMarco to do the right thing and save millions of homeowners and leave them in their homes.”
Antonio Ennis, a rapper and protest organizer who led the Fannie Freddie Fighters in chants, said he didn’t hesitate to bring protesters to bankers’ or bureaucrats’ homes because “they don’t have any hesitation coming to our homes.”
DeMarco’s own home is modest and brick, and was an odd backdrop for the brightly-colored Occupy school bus that brought some of the group to the Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.. The protesters, who live around the country, drove to DeMarco’s house from Washington, where they gathered at Fannie Mae’s national headquarters this morning. The turnout there numbered more than 100, and five protesters were arrested, WTOP radio station reported.
“These people make up for in enthusiasm what we lack in numbers,” Vinje said while nodding toward the crowd, which included a handful of young children and one protester wearing a giant vampire head.
After reading the group’s version of a pink slip addressed to DeMarco entitled “Notice of Termination of Employment,” the crowd sat down for a “pizza party” on the lawn. When they’d finished, they were careful to take their boxes and other trash with them.
“I don’t lead people to homes to be disrespectful or scare their children or anything like that, that’s not what it’s about,” Ennis said. “And that’s why I don’t want people leaving trash and making it like we came here to deface the neighborhood.”