squatted since feb2001
Social revolution at street level
[am*dam] Squatting group visits house broker
N. Makhnov - 18.01.2006 19:39
(Original Dutch story with photos and links can be seen at http://www.indymedia.nl/nl/2006/01/33664.shtml)
Today, a delegation from the squatting group of East Amsterdam went along to the office of brokers Van Roijen, situated in the Amsterdam neighbourhood "devil's island" in Oud-Zuid. The intention was to get the broker to communicate a message back to the ING Bank, who has commissioned the broker to sell Pretoriusstraat 28 at auction. Unfortunately the broker was not in his office. However, the letter below (with accompanying information) was left behind at the broker's office, together with a bag of cash (out of our piggy banks) and, of course, the auction board was returned.
Squatting group of Amsterdam East visits auction broker
Today, wednesday 18th January 2006, the squatting froup of Amsterdam East visits the broker Van Roijen Makelaardij. The ING Bank has contracted Van Roijen Makelaardij to sell Pretoriusstraat 28 at auction.
This house has already been squatted 5 years. The official owner is J. C. McCarthy. Two years ago, the ING Bank handed him 500,000 for the purchase of the house. The bank was clearly not interested in the fact that McCarthy is well known as a notorious defaulter and as a trafficer of both people and drugs. They were equally uninterested in the fact that 500,000 a multiple is of the market price of the house.
If the bank had had her information in order, she could have known that Joseph McCarthy has been (behind the shady financial constructions) owner of the house since 1996. They could have also known that he bullied renters out, and that he used the house as a "guest house for illegals." Moreover, the house functioned as a mechanism to white-wash dirty money.
Now, finally, it has become clear to also the ING Bank that there is no business to be done with McCarthy. The mortgage was not repayed and the bank wants her money back. However, instead of realising her mistakes - which the residents of PS28 had already pointed out to her earlier - she chooses to sell the house at auction. Because of this the next speculator that comes along - even McCarthy himself onder the guise of a new, shadowy business construction - will be able to buy the house.
In 2001 the squatting group of Amsterdam East siezed control of parts of the house. Other parts were at that time in use by McCarthy's exploited illegal workers. These would mostly stay a few weeks, until they realised that McCarthy would not pay them, and after which they would be replaced by new illegal workers. Some of these workers were even removed from the house with violence by some of McCarthy's henchmen.
After several years, the squatting group has seized the whole house. During this period McCarthy has come under more and more pressure. He lost contracts with district council Oud-Zuid when it become clear that he only employed illegal labour and, so doing, involved the district council with his money-washing activities.
Another district council, Oost-Watergraafsmeer, started an "integrity investigation" in connection with a building permit requested (by McCarthy) for the house. On 3 January 2006 this building permit (which had already been granted) was withdrawn on the basis of the law "BIBOB".
In 2005 McCarthy's office (at 41 Frans van Miersstraat) was raided in a joint operation of the intelligence services with the tax services. This is, perhaps coincidentally, the house next door to Van Roijen Makelaardij!
"Completely unimportant", the bank must have thought, "business is business", and the bank only sprang into action when McCarthy failed to repay the mortage. The ING refuses to take responsibility for her contribution to exploitation, drugs trade and money laundering. She wants to wash her hands of the issue, and she wants her money back.
The bank is willing to accept the problems this causes; the pand has in any case undergone a virtual increase in price of around 300%. It clearly does not trouble the bank that a new speculator could recieve the house, taking the whole drama further and to a possibly even more grave conclusion.
The squatting group of Amsterdam East holds the ING Bank respinsible. The squatting group sees the current residents of Pretoriusstraat 28 as the only suitable candidates that are able to keep this house out of the hands of organised criminality. The residents have been the only people over the last 5 years that have taken an interest in the state of the house. Furthermore, the residents have been the only people who have been able to give the house a meaningful function, ranging from living space to a give-away-shop, and more. We will not tolerate the auction. This house is inhabited, and our right to housing is not for sale!
END PRESS RELEASE
LETTER TO THE ING BANK
We have heard that our house at Pretoriusstraat 28 will shortly be auctioned. We have understood that this is going to happen because the owner of the house refuses to repay his debts to you. It comes as absolutely no surprise to us that Mr. McCarthy refuses to pay. There are, after all, legions of people, business and organisations that have been ripped off by him and his cronies.
1/ Firstly, many of his victims have been the poorest of the poor. He has held out false hopes to people for whom the state guarantees no right to existence, 'helping' them by offering them work, accommodation and money. In fact he has done no more than used them as modern-day slaves. These people toil for 11 hours a day, 7 days a week, for slave wages, that are often in any case never paid. And he has suppled them with accommodation, in - amongst other places - Pretoriusstraat 28, the house that you financed so that this exploiter could carry on with his dirty business practices. These people, finding themselves in an environment worse than that experienced by 19th century factory workers, have to every night find a corner, where they have to sleep on rotten old matresses. Unlike you, we have known these people, and seen their misery. Unlike you, we have taken the trouble to enquire further. But you didn't want to know about this when you lent McCarthy 7 ton!!!
2/ Secondly, your 'client' has managed to rip off various business folk. For example, "straw men" such as Mr. Hamerling, that lost his assets and his house, because he let himself get sucked into helping McCarthy. Or Mr. Elshout, his book-keeper, that at first helped McCarthy with the creation of his shadowy business constructions - made possible with your money - and then consequently got no payment. And his renter, that he has had beaten up, the renter against which McCarthy has made (on many occasions) false accusations, and from who he has tried to sieze the house with false buying contracts and other tricks.
3/ And he has eventually also managed to rip of the social insurance and the tax services, which of course effects all of us! There has been a lot of money "earned" with these money laundering practises and all the exploitation, but McCarthy was of course not prepared to hand over some of this for the good of the wider society. The unpaid bill at the tax service has meanwhile risen to 1 million euro. But you, the ING Bank, didn't want to know this either when you went sitting with him around a table. Or maybe you did know, but considered this information not important for so long you benefitted from it.
We, the Amsterdam squatters, -have- managed to find out the facts. And we have brought it into the light, made it clearly visible, and the government (and others) have been so disgusted by what they have seen that they had no choice than to sever all links with your client. For example, a building permit was withdrawn from him a few weeks ago, simply because it had become all too clear that your client is not to be trusted. But we have done more than that: we have seized one of his most important assets, namely the house that he snatched from the social housing supply for his own dirty business practices. But you could have known it when you gave him money, money that he could use to more easily kick us out and so doing to still further perpetuate his dirty affairs.
And, now that it has become evident that the whole construction has been built on sand, you want to sell our living place at the auction to the next speculator who comes along. Once again, thinking that the only thing at stake here is money. A written-off loss in red maybe, or maybe a small profit in black on a nice clean piece of paper in your accounting book. But so that you know it, and so that this time you can't say that nobody told you: all this is not about profit or loss, but about a fundamental human right, namely the right to secure and stable housing. We are not going to allow this house to be further trifled with, not by McCarthy, not by the other sharks in the property market, and not by you.
As the financer of this disgusting story we (and the hundreds of thousands of house seekers) hold you directly responsible.
Money stinks, it stinks really badly!
An auction seems to us not the place to solve this problem, a problem born from greed, and it is also not the place where you can escape your responsibility!
HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT, NOT SOMETHING TO BE TRADED!
END OF LETTER TO BANK