Picketers try to stop eviction at Springfield home

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Three weeks after a blocked eviction, Springfield community members returned to Alexander Richardson’s Upper Hill home to try and block Wells Fargo from their second attempt to get him out.

Some protesters were taken away from Richardson’s 68 Rochelle Street home, as police arrived late Friday morning. The substitute teacher, who begins work on Monday, told 22News that he has lived at the house for a long time, and if his home is taken away, he has no idea where he will go. Richardson said he is working with a Boston bank to get him a loan to buy back the house, but Wells Fargo wants him to leave before he can do so.

“When big banks push us around, when big banks don’t allow the freedom to negotiate in a diplomatic fashion, they see it, they feel it, and they (the protesters) are my friends and they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for my issues,” Richardson said.

Tom Goyda, Vice President of Consumer Lending Communications for Wells Fargo, told 22News that Richardson had submitted an application to the bank, Boston Community Capital, less than a month ago, while the foreclosure itself was completed two years ago. He said that Wells Fargo gave BCC a price if they were interested in purchasing the house, but they have yet to hear back.

Goyda says that they had tried to work with Richardson for years, but were unsuccessful in finding a solution to keep him in the house.

“In mid-July, after losing a legal challenge, Mr. Richardson agreed to stop contesting the eviction and to vacate the property by July 25, 2014.  He failed to live up to that agreement and we unfortunately have had to move to evict him as a result. Since the foreclosure was completed, he also has turned down multiple offers of financial relocation assistance from Wells Fargo,” Goyda said in a statement sent to 22News.

Friday morning’s protest was organized by the Springfield No One Leaves coalition; a group that has held similar pickets at foreclosed homes across western Massachusetts.

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