Jul 032013

Several related posts here from different sources.  But according to these reports the city has been “looted” by as much as $500 million over the last 16 years, directly contributing to major cuts in city services.

Check out this from ReinvestinOakland.com:

As City of Oakland public officials debate the City’s finances and which services to slash and which bills to pay, workers and the community are calling on City leaders to hold Wall Street banks accountable for their illegal and predatory practices that have cost Oakland taxpayers nearly half a billion dollars. A new report, The Looting of Oakland: How Wall Street’s Predatory Practices Are Costing Oakland Communities Millions and What We Can Do About It, reveals bank profits that are a result of unethical and even illegal predatory finance deals including LIBOR fraud, interest rate swaps, and other costly deals involving the City of Oakland and BART. The hundreds of millions in interest payments and fees collected on these predatory deals are money that should have been invested in Oakland communities, but instead has gone to Wall Street profits.

Oakland residents, taxpayers and workers are uniting around the call to make Wall Street pay before taking a penny more from its residents.

And this from the EastBayExpress.com:

“Our Oakland communities have been robbed blind by the banks and they need to pay back the money they took from the people of Oakland,” said Shirley Burnell, an Oakland resident and member of ACCE during a rally last week. Councilman Dan Kalb, who also spoke at the rally, called the practices of many financial companies unethical. Kalb supports renegotiating bad deals and seeking damages from any bank implicated in frauds that have harmed Oakland.

Over the past five years, dozens of investigations by bank regulators and attorneys general have been launched nationwide into the practices of the world’s largest banks. The probes have revealed numerous criminal conspiracies to steal billions from taxpayers around the globe, but local governments have yet to be repaid, even in cases where fraud has been proven beyond any doubt. In fact, some of the most toxic and fraudulent examples of bank wrongdoing are still affecting contracts and investments on Oakland’s books, constituting ongoing liabilities that reduce the city’s available funds by millions each year.

And this from CalOrganize.org:

Oakland has been hit
hard by the financial crisis. Unscrupulous Wall Street lenders convinced
long-time homeowners to refinance with risky deals and offered equally
precarious loans to new homebuyers. There have been over 10,000
foreclosures in Oakland since the economic crisis began in 2007, leaving
hundreds of vacant, often blighted homes in neighborhoods that have
driven down property values and in many cases changed historically
African American and Latino communities for good. According to a 2011
report by ACCE, Oakland homeowners are estimated to lose $12.3 billion
in home values as a result of the crisis. The crisis is costing the
city, too: Oakland is anticipated to lose $75.3 million in property
taxes and an additional $224 million from the costs associated with
upkeep of vacant, foreclosed properties.

In addition to the loss of property tax revenue, the city of Oakland –
not just its individual homeowners – has also been a victim of
predatory Wall Street loans. The city is involved in an ongoing
“interest rate swap” with Goldman-Sachs that has forced Oakland to
over-pay Goldman Sachs $32 million since the economic crisis began in
2007. Fortunately, Oakland ACCE has been fighting back, winning real
gains for Oakland residents, and setting the pace for fights for
economic justice across the country. Following is a highlight of some of
the many victories that Oakland ACCE has won, making Oakland a national
model for Wall Street accountability.