The social activism website Change.org has taken up the plight of the parents of an active-duty service member, who are facing foreclosure.
In early June, Economic Fairness Oregon, a Portland nonprofit, submitted a petition on Change.org asking JPMorgan Chase & Co. to delay foreclosing on the Bend, Ore., home of Tim Collette, whose son Pfc. Aaron Collette is expected to return from Iraq for a two-week leave in August.
So far, 79,786 signatures have been collected on the site, which enables individuals and organizations to take up a particular cause by starting an online petition.
Economic Fairness Oregon's petition is asking for a delay of the foreclosure, which is scheduled for Aug. 9, so Aaron Collette "has a home to return to," and calls the bank's decision to foreclose "reprehensible," and potentially "in violation of a U.S. law that protects military servicemen and women from facing foreclosure while on active duty."
That law, however, only applies to service members who own homes themselves, not the homes of their parents or relatives.
Tim Collette bought the home in 2006, when his son was 16. He had a $100,000 down payment, but his construction business was hurt by the economic downturn. He is more than a year behind on his mortgage payments.
Angela Martin, executive director of Economic Fairness Oregon, said JPMorgan Chase told the service member's father to default by not paying his mortgage, put him on a trial modification for nine months, then denied him a full modification and demanded $9,000 in arrearages.
"What they're forcing homeowners to do is negotiate with a gun pointed at their head," Martin said.
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, said, "We've been working with the family to resolve the situation and talked to the dad this week."