LETTER: The Bartons will continue the fight
The Barton family has lived in their home in West Seattle for three generations. It is Byron Barton’s childhood home of 62 years. Byron has survived the Vietnam War and a severe stroke. He and his family continue to fight to hold onto their home. He and his wife Jean are hardworking citizens that have gone through so much stress to merely stay in their home.
It began like it does for a lot of us: in the early 2000s, Jean and Byron were responsible for Byron’s mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's. They also needed to repair their home--the chimney had been damaged in a recent earth quake.
Looking for a way to make it work, they followed Alan Greenspan’s advice and took out a loan on their home. In this way, the Bartons thought, they could pay for the loss of family, medical treatment, and repair to their home. Jean and Byron worked together doing construction.
Then, like a lot of us, they were hit with the stress of the economic crash in 2008. Their business dried up with housing market collapse, caused by the speculative grift of Wall Street. The Bartons were one of the millions of families in America that received a predatory loan they used to consolidate their debts and continue to pay their bills.
We all know the story: the government bailed out Chase bank and the Chase awarded their executive leadership huge bonuses. Chase Bank is now reaping record profits while people like the Bartons continue to suffer.
Looking for recourse in a difficult situation, Byron and Jean asked Chase bank for a modification. According to their attorney, Chase violated the Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act and callously ignored them when they requested mediation. Instead, Chase used the disreputable "Quality Loan Service" (QLS) to liquidate the Bartons’ home. According to Jean, the stress of financial assault was largely responsible for giving Byron the heart attack that led to a devastating stroke that left half his body paralyzed. We know that this pain is systemic, and has even caused others facing displacement like Phyllis Walsh to commit suicide.
QLS and Chase also committed fraud leading up to the foreclosure in violation of the Deed of Trust Act. They forged signatures and carried out other unlawful practices. Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought legal action against QLS only weeks before the Bartons’ home was illegally auctioned at a foreclosure sale in April of 2014.
Now the Bartons are fighting back. They are suing Chase and QLS for illegally foreclosing on their loan. And while Triangle Property Development claims to have bought their home, the Barton’s are appealing their eviction in King County Superior court. They are also providing hope for others as they wage a public campaign with SAFE against systemic greed and corruption.
Regrettably, Mayor Ed Murray has slandered the Bartons causing them to endure more unnecessary stress. These slanderous statements, initiated by the City of Seattle Department of Housing, claim that Jean is neglecting Byron.
We are asking public officials to join with us in supporting the rule of law in the Barton’s civil land dispute. There are already legal precedents in Washington State, where other homeowners have overturned the sale of their home and continue to live in their home after a fraudulent foreclosure.
The Bartons are going to continue to fight to live in their home. Jean works in a homeless day center and has become a spokesperson for the housing justice movement. Byron is absolutely committed to civil disobedience if people attempt to displace his family from their home. They both have overcome so much already, and are determined to continue the fight.
Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction