NEWARK, NJ – Following the recent legislative action by East Orange in response to Well Fargo mishandling of foreclosed properties, residents in Newark’s West Ward mobilized a neighborhood clean-up this weekend sponsored by NJ Communities United. The clean-up targeted a list of vacant homes recognized in the neighborhood as hot spots of blight. The homes – all of which have been foreclosed on by Wells Fargo and left vacant and unattended by the bank – are known by residents as properties that pose a danger to the community because of the mounting piles of trash, unlawful activity, and structural concerns.

“I know that Wells Fargo is in the spotlight right now because of the fake accounts they opened, their close ties to Trump, how they treat their workers, and the investments they make in projects that are not good for our communities,” says Andrina Sorhaindo, a West Ward resident and member of NJ Communities United. “We’re organizing this clean-up to improve our neighborhood, and to draw attention to the crimes that Wells Fargo is committing against communities like ours. These properties are unsafe and a danger to our neighborhood, and our children.”

“There’s a reason why Wells Fargo is continually in the cross hairs,” says Trina Scordo, Executive Director of NJ Communities United. “The bank routinely ignores basic morals, values - and the law - in their quest for profit. The blight they have created in communities like the West Ward is real, and it is dangerous. The garbage piling up at these properties is a public health issue. The structural issues of some of these buildings pose a real life-and-death situation for the residents. Wells Fargo is perpetuating crimes against working class communities of color – and they are going unpunished. We are not willing to allow Well Fargo to profit by creating the next housing bubble while communities continue to suffer and struggle.  We are not going to wait for an outside entity to solve the problem.  Our members know what is needed and are ready to take control of their neighborhoods.”

Over the last year, Wells Fargo has struggled to answer for a growing list of problems attributed to their behavior. In response, a national divestment movement has taken root, including a vote last month by the East Orange City Council to sever relations and divest all city money from the bank.