National People’s Action director BUSTED during Occupy Wells Fargo action in Iowa
Family farmer, Methodist Minister, Vietnam veteran among group of 10 CCI members arrested at Wells Fargo’s Des Moines office during civil disobedience sit-in to demand big bank put everyday people before corporate profits
National People’s Action (NPA) director George Goehl was arrested alongside nine other members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) Monday afternoon during a direct action street protest at a Wells Fargo office in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, just one day before a Wells Fargo shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco, California is expected to draw thousands of demonstrators.
Dozens of protesters attempted to enter Wells Fargo’s downtown Des Moines offices but found it closed. Instead protesters blocked the front enterance and refused to leave until CEO John Stumpf agreed to give the 99% Power coalition 1 hour of time during the shareholders’ meeting agenda in San Francisco Tuesday to present their grievances to big bank officials.
The community-faith-labor coalition demands Wells Fargo stop home foreclosures, reduce principle balances on underwater mortgages, pay their fair share of taxes, get their big money out of the political system, and stop financing payday lenders, private prisons, factory farms, and coal plants.
“Not only does Wells CEO John Stump believe his bank is too big to fail, he also seems to believe they are too big to be held accountable,” Goehl said. “We’re here today in Des Moines, Iowa and tomorrow in San Francisco ,California to prove him wrong.”
Iowa CCI members – including a family farmer, a former Methodist minister, a Vietnam veteran, and a retired Ag extension officer – say they were forced to resort to civil disobedience after Wells Fargo officials refused to grant them speaking time at tomorrow’s shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco or negotiate CCI member’s “put people first” demands in good faith.
“We’ve asked Wells Fargo four times in the past four weeks for 1 hour on stage tomorrow in San Francisco and they’ve said no every time,” said Stephanie Simmons, a former Methodist Minister from Guthrie Center, Iowa and CCI board member who was arrested Monday. “We want to talk about Wells Fargo’s shameful record on tax dodging, home foreclosures, predatory lending, political contributions, and CEO bonuses.”
Des Moines, Iowa is the national headquarters of Wells Fargo’s Home Mortgage division.
“Wells Fargo’s mortgage office here in Iowa is making billions in profits every year by kicking hardworking families out of their homes and they aren’t even paying taxes on their ill-got wealth,” said Kenn Bowen, a Vietnam veteran and retired communications worker from Winterset, Iowa who was arrested Monday. “That ain’t right. Wells Fargo should be broken up into smaller, community banks that will put people before profits.”
The ten everyday people arrested Monday for trespassing at Wells Fargo’s Des Moines offices are:
- George Goehl, NPA executive director
- Stephanie Simmons, former Methodist minister and CCI board member
- Kenn Bowen, Vietnam veteran and retired communications worker
- Jim Yungclas, retired Ag extension officer and CCI board member
- Hazel Zimmerman, 75+ year old family farmer
- Misty Rebik, Iowa CCI latino community organizer
- Shawn Gude, John Hopkins graduate student
- Jessica Reznicek, unemployed worker
- Ryan Laudick, unemployed worker
- Julie Brown, bartender
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life – urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans – CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for 35 years.
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