On Thursday morning, January 29, 2015 over 100 Common Ground leaders, students, and neighbors braved the cold and held a press conference in front of a crumbling duplex on North 44th St. No one is paying taxes on the vacant building, and it has 23 code violations. It is only one of 300 foreclosed properties controlled by Nationstar Mortgage.
Wesley Edens owns the majority of the stock and is Chairman of the Board of Nationstar Mortgage Company. According to a plan Governor Walker announced Tuesday, Edens is about to receive $220 million in Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to help him build an arena for another of his properties, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Common Ground is determined to prevent a taxpayer subsidy for a new arena without a significant investment in neighborhoods. We are demanding that Edens meet with us to talk about his crumbling properties and how they are undermining the city of Milwaukee.
Reporters from four Milwaukee television stations, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, neighborhood news services, and more media outlets were there as Lloyd Johnson, co-chair of Common Ground’s Fair Play team, explained that houses such as this not only cause problems in the neighborhood. “You and I are paying more taxes because Wes Edens is not taking care of this property,” he said. “It means that our tax money that could go to other services in our city is going to deal with houses like this.”
Participants received handouts that showed more deteriorating Nationstar properties and co-chair Jennifer O’Hear asked if they think Wesley Edens lives in houses like these. She then asked them to turn over their papers where they saw pictures of Edens’ Manhattan condominium, which is on the market for $17 million.
“We will not stop until Mr. Edens addresses his interests in neighborhoods with the same energy and intensity he gives his interests in a new Bucks arena,” O’Hear concluded. She predicted that Common Ground will be present at next May’s Nationstar Mortgage stockholder meeting in Houston
Following the news conference, participants said they were elated, encouraged, and empowered as they anticipated the re-action our action will elicit.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Common Ground calls Bucks co-owner Edens a ‘slumlord’