If You Knew Why This Disabled Teacher Is Risking Death On Hunger Strike, You’d Strike Too (VIDEOS)

It’s not uncommon that what looks good to management on paper often turns into a rotten lot for workers, and one can bet the decisions management makes are even worse for workers when they are in a state of emergency. That certainly seems to be the case for former Detroit middle school teacher and track coach Baxter Jones, who is now launching a hunger strike to win back his own home.

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(Image courtesy of Facebook)

Jones was unfortunate enough to suffer a severe car accident back in 2005 when another vehicle slammed into the back of his own. Mr. Jones survived the accident, luckily, but walked away with a traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage. These days, he is not able to speak clearly, or even walk.

Jones was okay, though, in some respects. For five years he’d been able to hang on to the “dream home” he purchased near Jackson, Michigan, in 2002, through a First Responder Program created after the Sept. 11 attacks, thanks to his family medical leave – that is, until Emergency Manager Robert Bobb, who was in charge of Jones’ district, decided to fire him from Detroit Public Schools and hang him, and his very life’s security, out to dry just to save a few bucks. After being fired in July of 2010, Jones held out until October of that year before he was no longer able to make his mortgage payments. It didn’t take long before Wells Fargo circled in and picked the carcass clean, foreclosing on his home without allowing Jones to enroll in a forebearance program designed for disabled people as he awaited the outcome of a social security disability application.

No dice, though. Holding his mortgage, Fannie Mae moved to take possession of the then 57-year-old disabled teacher’s Napoleon home and hired law firm Trott & Trott to push Jones out his very own front door. They finally did on Aug. 8, 2013.

Jones’ attorney, Jerry Goldberg, stated at the time, “My client requested forebearance on his payments in October 2010 when he was pursuing Social Security [sic] disability. When he was awarded disability we would have asked for a modification, but was never given then chance in the first place.”

You can see Jones’ heartbreaking reaction to losing his home in 2013, below:

You can also see a video of the community protesting in front of Fannie Mae’s Chicago offices on behalf of Jones, below, along with statements from Jones and others regarding the matter:

What makes Jones’ story so much more heartbreaking, inhumane and unjust is that he was actually able to raise $60,000 to save his home thanks to friends, family and volunteers coming together to help save the day.

And as far as they knew, they were successful, because Trott & Trott listed over and again in court documents that the value of Jones’ home was only $58,000. So, naturally, Jones thought he’d won a perfectly fair compromise.

Think again. It’s never that way when it comes to dealing with banks.

Trott & Trott turned around and told Jones they wouldn’t take anything less than $254,000, virtually smacking him in the face with his own offer. Then, just to twist the knife, they ended up selling his home for merely $100,000 – a hell of a shortfall from $254,000, but not too much more than Jones’ offer of $60,000. Keep in mind, that’s $60,000 on top of all the mortgage payments Jones made over the eight years he owned and lived in the home, as well. All in all, he more than paid for that home, but the heartless Emergency Manager came in and axed him when he needed solidarity from his employer more than ever, and it was all downhill from there.

Ladies and gentlemen this is wrong. This is turning our backs on our own. This is taking advantage of workers for greed and money when the very nets, strings and parachutes that should be there in such unexpected times of need, in the wake of such “acts of God,” are most needed. That is not civil behavior. If we are indeed a civil society, such behavior should have no place here. You cannot provide the illusion of security, then snatch it away when it is most needed. Without it, what do workers have but their meager, too-damn-low wages, if they cannot really count on or believe that their retirement and health benefits packages are real? Instead, their security is an enormous question mark, a maybe the size of the Hollywood sign, all lit up in the hills of their minds.

And folks, workers are tired of climbing those hills day in and day out. We all are, aren’t we? Baxter Jones sure as hell is. That’s why, with nothing left to lose and seemingly all other options out the window, he’s embarking on a solitary hunger strike to gain attention and win his home back.

Jones states in a press release:

“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. 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 went on to say:

“I hope to shine a light on all American families in my situation. 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.”

And Jones does have plenty of people worried about him, as evidenced by the below post on Facebook:

So, this is personal. I am Baxter’s friend and I don’t want him to do this hunger strike. Back in the day he was the…

Posted by Tammy Barbour on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

 

Of course, what makes this situation all the more outrageous is the enormous bailout Fannie Mae took out of taxpayers’ pockets following the financial collapse of 2008, 2009. Fannie Mae doesn’t give a damn, though. They have that, “F*ck you, pay me,” business model, and for them it works just fine.

Yes, it’s true, the barbarians of yesteryear have shifted from loin cloths to pocket protectors, but either way they’ll chop your head off and leave you for dead.

And if you’re bound to die, as Baxter Jones knows, it’s better to go out on your proverbial feet, standing up for yourself and what’s right, than it is to bow down, even cower beneath it all and let it eat away at your self-respect until you melt into a puddle of depression and die on the inside anyway. Good for him, and solidarity to his cause. Hopefully his ploy will work and he will get the attention and help he both needs and deserves in order to restore some justice, not only for himself, but for the countless others whom Jones now starves himself for in order to bring about change.

Keep up with Jones’ hunger strike, here.

To help Jones’ cause, contact Katrina Jones (of no relation) at Fannie Mae: (215)-575-1400; or email her, here and ask that Jones be made able to reclaim his home once again. And if you do, make sure to reference FHFA file number H-15-1408.

Featured image via Facebook