Two Iowans arrested at Wells Fargo shareholders’ meeting in San Francisco 

Family farmer, Latino community organizer among at least 15 arrested at big bank protest in California attended by thousands of people

IowaCCI member, Wells Fargo shareholder, and family farmer Larry Ginter from Rhodes, IA was arrested Tuesday afternoon along with CCI member Ruth Schultz and fifteen other shareholders from across the country after attempting to speak directly to CEO John Stumpf inside the Wells Fargo annual meeting in San Francisco, CA, while thousands of everyday people protested outside.

Ginter, Schultz, and members of National People’s Action wanted Stumpf to account for Wells Fargo’s awful record on tax dodging, home foreclosures, predatory lending, private prison investment, payday lending and factory farm financing, bank bailouts, record profits and lavish CEO bonuses.  Stumpf received $19.8 million in compensation in 2011.

CCI member Larry Ginter's first arrest. At the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting for confronting Wells CEO John Stumpf.

“Stumpf refused to yield the floor so we stood up and spoke out against the big bank’s anti-people agenda and were arrested,” Ginter said.  “It’s pretty bad out there in the rest of America, and Wells Fargo needs to realize that they have a responsibility to make life a lot better for a lot of people.”

Schultz and Ginter were among just 25 protesters who successfully made it into the shareholders’ meeting.  Wells Fargo reportedly turned away hundreds of other legitimate shareholders with grievances against Wells Fargo.  Following their arrest, Ginter and Schultz joined several thousand other protestors outside the shareholders’ meeting.

 

Please LIKE and TWEET if you are proud of Larry, Ruth and the thousands of others confronting Wells Fargo’s CEO today!

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.

More photos coming soon!

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Imagine a factory farm operator a mile from your local community spills 10,000 gallons of toxic manure into a tile line that runs into a nearby river, lake, or stream, resulting in hundreds of fish kills.

Now imagine instead of investigating the spill and levying the toughest fines and penalties allowed by law, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has an “informal meeting” with the operator, and sends a “letter of noncompliance” asking them not to do it again.  

Does that sound like a good deterrent to you?    

The sad thing is, the DNR already does this in too many cases.  But a new rule being pushed by corporate ag interest group, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) would formalize this bad policy in writing, making it more difficult for everyday people to ensure strong and effective public oversight of factory farm polluters in the future, even if priorities shift in two years with a new governor and a new DNR director.

If passed, ABI’s proposed new rule would signal to the industry that the DNR is going to take a “hands-off” approach to enforcement, which could lead to more manure spills and more water pollution.

The DNR has extended the public comment period. We already have more than 150 comments on record – take two minutes now to add your voice to those opposed to this backwards rule – Click here to take action now

 

Iowa CCI members aren’t ones to sit by and just let things happen.
  • April 23 – More than 20 CCI members gave testimony for more than an hour at the Iowa DNR’s public hearing on this proposed de-regulation attempt.
  • April 23 – We dropped by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Des Moines office to tell top official Mike Ralston to drop this rule.
  • March 20 – (photo above) 15 CCI members attended the Environmental Protection Commission meeting to fight back against an attempt by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), to weaken the DNR’s ability to crack down on factory farm polluters who violate our clean water laws.

Stand up for clean water and stand up to corporate power – click here to take action now!

 

>> Want to get action alerts like this in your inbox? Sign up for Iowa CCI emails.

>> Want to be a part of the group leading the factory farm fight back in Iowa. Join as an Iowa CCI member today.

 

Invite your friends to stand up for clean water. Please share this with your networks below:

Take the pledge: It’s time to “Move Our Money”













America deserves better. We’ve had enough.

I have a Wells Fargo (or other big bank) account and I’m ready, willing and able to move my money!

I want to be a part of a coordinated week of action to maximize our “Move our Money” impact. Email me the details.

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Wells Fargo has its hands deep in America’s pockets.

Having so far escaped justice for helping crash the economy, Wells Fargo has long taken more than its fair share.

The bank is making BILLIONS off the 99%, profiting at our communities loss by leading the nation in foreclosures, predatory lending and hoarding BILLIONS in unpaid taxes that should have gone to keep our schools open, caring for our elders and putting America back to work.

The American economy is broken – it works for the wealthiest 1% and large corporations like Wells Fargo, not for the 99%.

Take the pledge to move your money now! >>>

Wells Fargo and the other big banks have been running the show for too long. This spring, it’s our turn.

  • No more rules that benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
  • No more big bank money in our democracy.
  • No more record profits without paying a fair share in taxes.
  • No more profiting off of private prisons and investing in factory farms.
  • Wells must end foreclosures as we know it, resettling mortgages to fair market value.

Join the fight

Learn more

 

Click LIKE and TWEET to spread the word.

WANTED: For profiting at the expense of our communities.

Wells Fargo leads the country in tax dodging, home foreclosures, predatory lending, private prison profiteering, financing payday loans and factory farms, political contributions, bank bailouts, record profits and CEO profits.

But don’t just take our word for it. Below are fact sheets and national press articles on the topic.

 

One of America’s biggest tax dodgers

While we struggle to save our homes and schools, Wells Fargo refuses to pay its fair share, amassed almost $18 billion in unpaid taxes over the last three years, tax money that was meant to pay for schools, repairing crumbling infrastructure, and putting America back to work.

Leads in home foreclosures

As the leading mortgage servicer in the country, last year alone, Wells Fargo earned $3.3 billion in profits from its mortgage servicing business, or about 20 percent of the bank’s total net income. As families continue to struggle with foreclosure, banks need to be doing everything they can to keep people in their homes. That includes providing massive, widespread principal reduction to cover the $700 billion in underwater mortgages that 24% of all Americans face today.

Despicable predatory lending

In 2011, Wells Fargo was fined $85 million – their largest ever – by the Federal Reserve after the Fed determined that Wells had intentionally pushed borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsified loan applications during the sub-prime mortgage boom. Wells Fargo is also under investigation by the Department of Justice, and the cities of Baltimore and Memphis.

Profits off of private prisons

Private prisons are profiting from peoples’ misery and our tax dollars. and Wells Fargo has been financing one of the largest – GEO Group – for several years.  By March 2012, Wells controlled more than 4.4 million shares of GEO worth $86.7 million.

Financing Payday Loans…

Wells Fargo is the number one financier of predatory payday lenders in the United States. Since at least 2002, Wells Fargo has operated open lines of credit with dozens of payday lenders across the country.  Within the past 10 years, Wells Fargo has led the way in financing payday lenders, funding well over $1 billion.

…and Factory Farms

Wells Fargo has financed the factory farm industry (most notably the DeCoster’s Quality Egg Farms until November 2011, and Prestage Farms currently) and has a significant financial interest in corporate agriculture giant Cargill, Inc.  Former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovecevich is on Cargill’s board, and Wells purchased their hedge fund in 2011.

Political Contributions

Wells Fargo and its top executives use money to make government work for them. From 2008-2010 Wells Fargo spent: $156,841 on state ballot measures, $1,300,250 in federal candidate contributions, and $11,040,000 in lobbying expenses.

Bank Bailouts

If you ask a Wells Fargo employee about the bank bailout, they will tell you that they were forced by the federal government to take the money, didn’t need it, and paid it back right away.  The truth is, Wells Fargo took $25 billion and used that cash to fund their aggressive takeover of Wachovia Bank.

Record Profits

You may think that a big bank that had to take taxpayer bailout money and forecloses on struggling families everyday might be having a tough time making ends meet themselves. You would be wrong! In the first quarter of 2012, in fact, Wells Fargo posted a record $4.25 billion profit.

CEO Bonuses

In 2011, while families were still facing foreclosure and unemployment was still above nine percent, Wells Fargo awarded CEO John Stumpf $19.8 million dollars – a 4.6 percent raise from 2010

 

>> Read more on our  Wells Fargo work.
>> Back to the WANTED: Wells Fargo page

 

Click LIKE or TWEET to help expose the way Wells Fargo profits off our communities.

Iowans want the corporate 1% pay their fair share

 

Iowans know taxing the 1% is the quickest way to rebuild our economy so that it works for all of us.

Labor unions, community organizations, and local Occupy Wall Street affiliates held a mix of tax day protests across the state of Iowa today to demand the corporate 1% pay their fair share of taxes. Iowa CCI members turned out to these events to show support and call attention to the revenue crisis and inexcusable inequality in the country.

Photos from Tax the 1% actions in Ames and Des Moines:

 

Created with flickr slideshow.
 

 Tax day actions across Iowa held 4/17/12:

  • In Ames, AFSCME spearheaded a vigil outside one of thirty shuttered Iowa Workforce Development Office to help connect the revenue crisis and cuts to basic public services to the need to make corporations pay their faire share of taxes.
  • In Cedar Rapids, dressed as the corporate 1%, SEIU sponsored a “Thanks for paying our taxes (so we don’t have to)” event outside the Cedar Rapids post office.
  • In Decorah, the Northeast Iowa Center for Peace and Justice will held demonstrations at the Norm Smith Plaza.
  • In Des Moines, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom spearheaded a protest outside of Wells Fargo at 666 Walnut Street to demand Wells Fargo start paying its fair share of taxes (or any taxes at all, really).  Wells Fargo paid less than 4% in taxes from 2008-2011, despite making record profits.

These events corresponded with a national day of action. To see some creative and clever actions – from a Tax Dodgers baseball team, Corporate Tax Dodgeball game and banner drops  from across the country check out the99power.com and 99uprising.org.

 

>> Iowans protest at home of top Wells Fargo official.

 

Click LIKE or TWEET if you think it’s past time giant corporations and the 1% pay their fair share!