by John Grooms
All over the nation, including North Carolina, squatters are trying to take possession of foreclosed homes. Personally, I wish them luck, although the real estate industry is no doubt not pleased with the squatters' actions. The daily paper reported an epidemic of people squatting in abandoned homes locally, and flashing frivolous paperwork to justify their actions. And of course, realtors and law enforcement are acting surprised that one of the most predictable results of the foreclosure fiasco is really taking place.
In the Union County metropolis of Weddington, two guys surprised a real estate agent and a couple looking at a foreclosed $700K house. The two men Asaru A. Ali, 39, and Kenneth W. Lewis, 52 (no, not that Ken Lewis) both of Charlotte, produced very imaginative, albeit fake documents that claimed the home in the name of the Moorish Science Temple, as first reported by the Mecklenburg Times. The grand sheik of the Moorish Science Temple in Charlotte, however, says he and his group have nothing to do with the squatters, who were arrested for breaking and entering, obtaining property by false pretenses, first-degree trespassing, and other infractions.
As Rob Schofield of NC PolicyWatch pointed out, the irony in this case is rich and palpable:
If two poor squatters can face such extensive charges and potential punishment for attempting to take a house that didnt belong to them, what kind of charges should the criminals who ran several major American banks face? After all, these people filed all kinds of false affidavits and used myriad shady practices in the process of taking thousands of homes that didnt belong to them. As always seems to be the case, however, its the poor shlub in the neighborhood who does the time while the big-time criminals behind the corporate veil retire to their golden parachutes.
Amen, brother, amen.