Larry Delassus was a Navy veteran who lived a quiet life in Hermosa Beach, CA. His neighbors liked him, and he was active in his small community. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much choice in living a quiet life. He had a rare blood clot disease, Budd-Chiari syndrome, that made even the most simple tasks difficult for him and could even cause him to feel confused.
But it turns out that that was not the worst of his problems. His mortgage was held by Wells Fargo, and it killed him.
For two years, Wells Fargo had been paying taxes on the wrong property because of a typo that was entirely their fault. Larry didn’t owe those taxes, but Wells Fargo said that he did. They doubled his mortgage payments. They even demanded that Larry pay more than the taxes they said that he had owed. Larry just couldn’t afford those payments. Eventually, on the day that he came home from the hospital after an especially bad bout with his disease, they sold his condo and threw him out on the street.
Larry took Wells Fargo to court. He thought that he could get justice there. However, the judge had indicated that she was prepared to give a summary ruling in favor of Wells Fargo — as unbelievable as that may seem. Nevertheless, wrongly charged, wrongly evicted, and wrongly treated, Larry wanted his day in court. But as his attorney was arguing his case, Larry suffered a heart attack and died.
Larry Delassus died fighting a monstrous tyrant that has similarly abused countless others while its executives have collected millions in bonuses at taxpayers’ expense. Wells Fargo, one of the banks at the core of our country’s 2008 financial meltdown, which threw million of people out of work and contributed to a world-wide economic disaster which still affects us to this day, received billions in bail-out money from taxpayers but has not seen fit to share that largesse with them.
On March 19, Wells Fargo, a company that should have suffered the corporate death penalty for its crimes, will celebrate its 161st birthday. Larry Delassus won’t have any more birthdays. He spent the last of his energy and his life fighting their abuse.
From now on, March 19 should be known not as Wells Fargo’s birthday, but as “Larry Delassus Day” in honor and commemoration of a man who fought to his last breath a monster that abuses us all.
Next Tuesday, get a friend and celebrate Larry Delassus Day in front of your nearest Wells Fargo. You could even carry a sign if you want to. Larry can’t fight them for us anymore. It’s our fight, now.
Note: If you’ve got an idea for what could be painted on a sign that Wells Fargo might see, your suggestions will be welcome.