After being arrested for criminal trespassing yesterday, Action Now board member Marsha Godard, returned to Bank of America headquarters this morning to close her account and once again present the bank with the list of violations.
Bank of America refused her entry. Their own customer was not allowed the enter the bank and attend to her own money.
Speaking over the phone with Ms. Godard she detailed her treatment prior the arrest. With her organizations support outside she entered the downtown headquarters to present them with a list of potential violations for the impending vacant homes law requiring them to maintain and secure the buildings.
Action Now has been raising the empty homes as a safety and neighborhood concern for sometime now as a place of crime and drugs. In fact, two firefighters were injured after an empty home went up in flames.
While Ms. Godard, dressed in her Action Now shirt, waited for the personnel person to find the employee in charge of the vacant properties she was approached by security multiple times. The first time the guard asks her about an appointment and tells her she cannot protest. She replied that she did not have an appointment, was not protesting but waiting for customer assistance.
Roughly five minutes later she is still waiting as a different security guard while the personnel person asks her name and if she was with Action Now. Ms. Godard responded in the affirmative and provided her name.
Still waiting – the head of security comes over with four other guards as well as the Chicago Police. CPD tells her to leave because she has been asked to do so when in fact she had not. The head security guard then tells her she cannot protest and be a customer at the same time. Godard restates that she is not protesting but a customer waiting for help and is not leaving until she talks with someone about the violations in her neighborhood. At this point she is asked to leave.
“This is how you treat your customers?” – Godard
“We will arrest you.” – CPD
“Then arrest me.” – Godard
Action Now and other local organizations once again support Ms. Godard in her attempts to get Bank of America’s attention and close her account after being mistreated. While being taken away by CPD on Tuesday she was told by the officer she would be arrested again, spend the night in jail and would be a felon if she entered the bank again.
Bank of America executive Patricia Holden refused her entry based upon supposed BofA policy. (Holden has not returned multiple phone calls at this point – will update if she does).
According to Ms. Godard, Ms. Holden said it is BofA policy to not allow customers into the bank once they have engaged in a protest. Once again Ms. Godard, wearing her Action Now shirt, claimed to be a customer and not a protester. Refused again, Godard offers to put on a jacket. Still no. Upon asking for the policy in writing she is told she would have to subpoena the supposed policy despite pages and pages worth of rules for customers being readily available at her fingertips.
Needless to say it sounded a little fishy. Action Now is not giving up and neither is Ms. Godard. They will continue trying at 10am the rest of this week.
Ms. Godard’s court date for criminal trespassing is set for September 22nd.
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