The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Predatory Lender in Baltimore

May 8, 2017

Oaktree Capital bought more than 600 properties in Baltimore City and Baltimore County from the U.S. Housing Department’s DASP, Distressed Asset Sales Program. Oaktree got the properties at a big reduction in price from DASP, with the agreement their investment would bring “stabilization” to neighborhoods.

What has Oaktree accomplished? Forty percent of these Oaktree properties went to foreclosure, and 20% more are threatened with foreclosure. Mortgage adjustments, when given by Oaktree, meant that half of those homeowners saw $10,000 added to the principal they had to pay back. The “distressed” properties were in majority black neighborhoods, some of the same areas where the sub-prime mortgage scandal had already meant people lost their homes over the last 10 years.

The union organization “Unite Here” described Oaktree’s practices at a Baltimore City Council housing hearing on March 30. When their members visited 320 Oaktree properties around Baltimore, they found almost half were vacant.

And what is Oaktree Capital Management? It is a one hundred BILLION dollar private investment fund. They buy up thousands of properties all over the country and put lots of people out of their homes, finding a way to profit off people’s need for affordable housing. No–they don’t stabilize neighborhoods. They do the opposite.