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Anti-foreclosure protester arrested during eviction in Worcester

WORCESTER – A woman was arrested Thursday during a protest against the eviction of the owner of a townhouse at 158 Orient St.

Lorie Cairns, 58, of 16 Chalmers Road, a member of the Worcester Anti-foreclosure Team, was arrested when she attempted to block efforts by representatives of mortgage lenders at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co., or Freddie Mac, from evicting Marjorie Evans from her home.

Ms. Evans said it was the 10th effort over 10 years to evict her. In some cases there was a court-ordered delay. Other times, she said, the lender chose to stop the proceedings temporarily. She said her situation is like that of many others who are fighting what seem to be changing rules that make it impossible for them to pay back what they owe.

“This goes back to 2007-2008,” she said. “People are struggling.”

Ms. Evans’ loan has been passed through a number of lenders. In 2011, the loan was modified and she was hit with an eviction notice three months later. In 2013, she was one of many borrowers hit by the lender with a $5,000 increase in what they owed, to pay for a city assessment for filing for foreclosures.

This 10th eviction attempt proved unfortunate for Ms. Evans. With no help from the court, the eviction went through.

On Thursday morning, with Worcester police officers looking on next to lawyer Patrick Beaton of Donovan, Graves & Longoria, a law firm representing Freddie Mac, locksmith Francisco Diaz of Auburn removed the lock on the door to the garage. A constable made his way into the building to evict Ms. Evans. While the door was being opened, Ms. Cairns attempted to block Mr. Diaz from removing the lock. When she persisted, police arrested her. Police said an officer was working a private detail at the eviction to ensure the firm hired to conduct the eviction was not hindered by protesters at the home. 

Police said in news release issued later in the day that Ms. Cairns was asked to stop, and refused all lawful requests. She was charged with assault and battery, trespassing, disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a person more than 60 years old. Police said no injuries were reported, and said Ms. Cairns was arraigned later in the day in Central District Court. 

Charlene DiCalogero, a member of the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, said she and others were there to protest what they felt was an illegal foreclosure.

“This case has never been brought to court,” she said. “Marjorie Evans has never had a chance to prove her case.”

Chris Hanson, another member of the Worcester Anti-foreclosure Team, said the group has 65 members with cases in court.

“There have been 46 eviction attempts in the past six months,” he said.

Some of the attempts have involved situations like Ms. Evans’, with multiple attempts to remove a homeowner. Mr. Hanson said of the 46 attempts, only five times, counting Ms. Evans, have people been evicted. Among those was Ruth Adjartey, a friend of Ms. Evans who was evicted two years ago.

Before the eviction Thursday, Silas Senderson, a borrower advocate from Worcester, was on the phone hoping to hear that the court had issued another order to stop the eviction. He said those challenging the eviction had already had one appeal rejected. They did not hear back from the court before Thursday’s action was taken.

Once the constable went inside the home, workers from the moving company Triple M Moving and Storage of Brockton went in and began removing Ms. Evans’ belongings.

Police said in the news release that the detail officer was informed by the lawyer representing the mortgage company that he possessed a court order from Worcester Housing Court giving him permission to change the locks and to gain entry to remove the resident’s belongings. 

Ms. Evans said she plans to fight the action, challenging the process followed by the lending company when it filed for eviction.

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