Friday, September 11, 2009

Wayne County Circuit Judge Orders DTE Energy to Restore Power at the Highland Towers; Additional Hearings to be Held Next Week

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: Meeting to Win a Moratorium on Evictions & Utility Shut-offs
Theme: The People Must Declare an Economic State of Emergency
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 11:00am-1:00pm
Location: Central United Methodist Church, Woodward at Adams
Sponsors: Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shut-offs
Contact: 313. 671.3715
URL: http://www/

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen MacDonald Orders DTE Energy to Turn Power Back on at Highland Towers Apartments; Incident Reveals the Need for a Moratorium on Utility Shut-offs

On Friday, September 11, Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen MacDonald ordered DTE Energy to turn the power back on at the Highland Towers Apartments located in Highland Park on Woodward Avenue near Glendale. This decision will be valid for one week when another hearing will be held on the status of the situation at the Highland Towers.

The residents had been without electricity since August 31 when DTE Energy shut off their services without proper notice. The owners of the property have gone into hiding and have set up obstacles to securing justice for the tenants.

The landlords at Highland Towers had not paid the utility bills for months despite these fees being included in the monthly rents collected from the tenants. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition has worked with the tenants to demand that DTE Energy restore services pending the outcome of the current dispute involving the landlord's creditors'.

Attorney Robert Day of the Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. filed the case on behalf of the tenants at Highland Towers. The decision of Judge MacDonald was made in chambers in consultation with Attorney Day and lawyers for DTE Energy.

There is also another hearing scheduled for September 15 in a claim filed by the tenants for damages due to the negligence and fraud of the owners of the building. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is urging the public to remain vigilant in regard to the ongoing struggle to win justice for the people at the Highland Towers.

Michelle Hall-Edwards of Legal Aid & Defenders said that "There will be further letigation and they will pursue all claims." LaTanya Lloyd, a resident at Highland Towers, expressed some relief at the Judge's ruling. She is a co-plantiff in the case against DTE Energy and the absentee landlords.

Case Illustrates Why a Moratorium is Needed

The situation of the people at the Highland Towers shows clearly why the Moratorium NOW! Coalition has been calling for a halt to all foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs. Working and poor people in the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and the entire country are being grossly exploited by the criminal actions of the banks, mortgage companies, insurance firms, utility giants and absentee landlords. With the unemployment and poverty rates climbing every month, millions more will inevitably face evictions, utility shut-offs and joblessness.

Consequently, we must demand a declaration of a state of economic emergency in Michigan and in the U.S. as a whole. The interests of working people and the poor must take priority over payments to the banks, insurance firms and utility companies. Utilities, water, housing, jobs, healthcare and incomes are fundamental rights that all people should have in any civilized society.

In addition, we must demand that the federal government enact a real jobs program to provide decent employment and incomes to tens of millions of people in the U.S. who are unmeployed, underemployed and poor.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition will be holding an organizing meeting on Saturday, September 12 at Central United Methodist Church, Woodward at Adams, in downtown Detroit. The meeting begins at 11:00 a.m. We will then caravan to the East English Village for a demonstration against another illegal foreclosure by Wells Fargo Bank against Belva Davis. This action in East English Village will begin at 2:00 p.m.

Abayomi Azikiwe,
Media Liaison
Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs

No comments: