As part of its new “Days of Giving” program, Wells Fargo distributed $1,000 to eight local non-profits, including the Memphis Union Mission and the Vance Avenue Youth Development Center, at the Memphis Botanic Gardens this morning.
But demonstrators with the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center were on hand to ask the lending giant to pay the more than $60,000 it owes Memphis and Shelby County.
How is this possible? Brad Watkins of MSPJC can tell you:
By looking at foreclosures, deed transfers, as well as board-ups, demolition, and grass cutting fees, the group found 30 homes and 15 properties that Wells Fargo owes money on.
The city of Memphis also has a lawsuit pending against Wells Fargo that alleges the company engaged in predatory lending practices.
“They owe $60,000 in back taxes, fines, and fees for grass cutting,” said Brad Watkins with the Peace & Justice Center. “That’s just the data we had. That’s not the whole of it. We don’t have any data from 2010.”
City taxes are due at the end of August. Since county taxes are due this month, the group chose not to include 2010 delinquencies.
“They just kind of left these open sores in our neighborhoods,” Watkins said. “Now they want to get around it with throwing a little money around.”
Wells Fargo, which took over Wachovia last year, came to town to give out several $1000 grants as part of their Days Of Giving program, and even brought their famed stagecoach.
Wells Fargo plans to make this an annual event, but I think they understand now that while all the organizations who received grants are delighted to get them, we will be watching them CLOSELY.