During the year Chase Bank tried to evict Martinez, it learned that he could not be moved without a fight. After two marches, packed courtrooms and other popular pressure, the bank officially withdrew its eviction request. By working with HUD, Martinez finally got back his home at a reasonable price in September 2013.
Chase Bank had paid $2800 at sheriff’s sale to purchase Gregorio Martinez’s home. He could have redeemed his home for that amount — if he had known it. But all notices were in English, not the Spanish Gregorio can read. Gregorio later offered to pay Chase Bank the $2800 to save his home, but Chase Bank refused to negotiate and moved to evict.
Gregorio is a retired autoworker, has lived in his home for more than 15 years, and has been active in the community even longer. After retirement, Mr. Martinez had temporarily fallen behind on his mortgage, due to extraordinary financial needs of family members.
At one point more than 60 people rallied and marched through his embattled Southwest Detroit neighborhood to picket a Chase branch. State Representative Rashida Tlaib and a UAW official sat down in the bank.