ALAMEDA -- They may have changed the locks and warned her she would be evicted, but bank officials are still facing a fight from Jodie Randolph, who has enlisted the help of activists from Occupy Oakland in a bid to save her home even as she battles cancer.
Members of the group have been staying at the Craftsman-style house at 1624 Foley St. since Election Day, keeping a 24-hour vigil to highlight Randolph's plight. About 25 people are taking part and stay in shifts.
Randolph's furniture, photographs, DVDs and other belongings are still inside the house. But the chemotherapy sessions to treat her colon cancer leave her exhausted, so she mostly stays with her daughter in San Leandro, where she can rest more easily. She has never met some of the activists who have been staying on the property.
"It's healing," Randolph said as she sat in her living room on an afternoon this week. "I don't need to worry about my home being shuttered up. They're here. It's a comfort."
The house sits across the street from the parking lot that serves the Marketplace plaza on Park Street. As customers exit the lot, they can see hand-painted signs condemning the foreclosure displayed around the front porch. The activists also leaflet passers-by, hoping to drum up support.
"Our government is just wrecking people like Jodie Randolph," said Oakland resident Mindy Stone, who has been visiting the house on-and-off since the action started. "They are allowing a woman to be kicked out who rightfully deserves to be in this house. She has made every effort to reasonably resolve this situation."
Randolph purchased the single-story house in November 1999. At the time, she was working as an accounting manager with Mother's Cake & Cookie Co. in Oakland. But Randolph lost her job in 2003 when the company moved to Bolingbrook, Ill. A year later, she ran into financial difficulties, despite setting up her own accounting business.
Randolph said she decided to sell the house to a family member, which drew her into what she called a "quagmire of events."
In 2008, Randolph approached Saxon Mortgage, then the lien-holder, about modifying her loan, but that effort fell through. Then two years ago, Randolph learned the house was purchased by FV-1 -- a trust company under Morgan Stanley -- and that she was facing foreclosure and eviction. Randolph was diagnosed with cancer in March and had surgery in May. Her chemotherapy sessions are set to end in January.
"It's stress," Randolph said. "And one thing you don't need when you are undergoing chemotherapy is stress."
What's happening to Randolph reflects what many people are facing, Stone said.
Stone took part in Occupy Oakland protests last year before she decided to join its "Foreclosure Defense Group" at the Foley Street house.
A Morgan Stanley representative was not immediately available for comment on Randolph's case. But during an Occupy Oakland demonstration Nov. 5 at the company's Oakland office, Randolph said she met with a representative who told her he wanted to try and find a solution.
Legally, she no longer owns the house, Randolph said. Her goal now is to repurchase it. But Randolph said she fears time may be running out. Last month, a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and a real estate asset manager visited the house and changed the locks when she was having chemotherapy.
It led her to turn to Occupy Oakland for help. A manager also visited the house Nov. 7 and was surprised to find activists inside, Stone said. He threatened to call police and quickly left. No officers showed up, however
"You don't know from one day to the next what's going to happen," Randolph said. "It's been quiet here lately, but you don't know. I just hope that we can have a dialogue that will come to an amicable agreement. After all, what do they want with my home?"