CORRECTION: WELLS FARGO PRIVATE PRISON DIVESTMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT:  Peter Cervantes-Gautschi

Enlace

(503) 705-3343

pcg@enlaceintl.org

CORRECTION WELLS FARGO PRIVATE PRISON DIVESTMENT

November 2, 2012 — In a press release dated October 24, 2012, we erroneously stated that Wells Fargo divested 75% of its Geo stock. We regret the error.

The latest SEC filings reveal that Wells Fargo has divested 33% of its dispositive holdings in the Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison company, which reduces Wells Fargo’s holdings to 4.98% of Geo Group’s common stock.

The National Private Prison Divestment Campaign noted that by reducing its holdings to less than 5% of GEO’s stock, Wells Fargo will no longer be required to disclose some financial dealings with GEO. Other SEC filings have revealed that Wells Fargo is the creditors’ Trustee for a $300 million GEO senior bond debt.

According to its current annual report, Geo Group, the nation’s second largest private prison company, depends on the incarceration of immigrants to meet its revenue goals.  The company is a major contributor to federal political campaigns and lobbying efforts impacting budgets of the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.

Peter Cervantes-Gautschi, Executive Director of Enlace, the campaign convener, congratulated Wells Fargo on its well-advised decision to dump the private prison stock and called on the financial industry giant to rid itself of the rest of its private prison holdings and to cease financing private prison companies.

Both GEO and the nation’s largest private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America, depend heavily on Wells Fargo financing as they continue efforts to acquire government contracts build, fill and manage immigrant detention centers and other private prisons.

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 For more information on Wells Fargo’s ties to immigrant detentions in private prisons go to: Jails Fargo: Banking on Immigrant Detention

National Private Prison Divestment Campaign: http://prisondivestment.wordpress.com/

National People’s Action: http://www.npa-us.org/jailsfargo

Wells Fargo Courts Latinos While Investing in Private Prisons That Profit From Detaining Immigrants: Report Calls for Bank to Break Ties

Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:05 By Yana Kunichoff, Truthout | Report

Wells Fargo has marketed itself as the bank of choice for Latinos, yet a new report details the bank’s ties to the private prision industry, which lobbies for, and profits from, stepped-up enforcement and criminalization of immigration laws, like Arizona’s SB 1070.

Jesus Gerardo Noriega Esquivel and his family were long-time Wells Fargo customers until they found out about the industry’s connections to private prisons. Esquivel, an undocumented immigrant brought to the United States at the age of nine, was saving his slowly-earned money to study as an automotive engineer. His family has held Wells Fargo accounts for more than ten years. Continue reading

EXPOSED: Wells Fargo Banks on Immigrant Detention

EXPOSED: Wells Fargo Banks on Immigrant Detention

For the last year National People’s Action (NPA), as part of the National Prison Divestment Campaign has been organizing to get Wells Fargo to divest from financing private prisons. While Wells is investing in aggressive customer outreach to the Latino community, it is also providing critical financing to private prison corporations that lobby to prevent reform of a broken immigration system. They can’t have it both ways.

NPA and Public Accountability Initiative just released the first of 2 reports, Wells Fargo: Banking on Immigrant Detention, that details Wells Fargo’s direct financing of private prisons known for their inhumane conditions and for trying to block immigration reform. Key finding include:
Prison industry giants Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group doubled annual revenue in the last 10 years to a combined $3.3 billion in 2011, in major part due to the increase in immigrant detention centers.
Wells Fargo provides critical financing to Corrections Corporation of America, including a $785 million line of credit.
Wells controls $95.5 million in GEO Group stock through its mutual funds, and serves as trustee for $300 million of the company’s corporate debt.

You can read the report here:

English

Español

Please take action and sign the petition: http://www.npa-us.org/jailsfargo

IRATE & First Friends Dumps Wells Fargo

We applaud and congratulate  Irate & First Friends for taking and closing their Wells Fargo account.  It is fantastic to see organizations taking the lead by dumping Wells Fargo because of their role in profiteering from immigrant detention.Below is their statement:

IRATE & First Friends Dumps Wells Fargo

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Irate

Wells FargoBecause of its significant investments in private prisons which profit from immigration detention, IRATE & First Friends board of trustees has decided that it can no longer, in good conscience, bank with Wells Fargo.  We simple cannot excuse the inherent immorality of providing financial benefit to some through the creation of suffering for so many.  We urge our associates & partner organizations to do the same.  Below is the letter that was sent to the Wells Fargo branch in Elizabeth.

For more info on Wells Fargo & private prisons go towww.enlaceintl.com

Dear [Branch Manager]:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we have closed our account and removed our funds from your branch.  Our organization can no longer, in good conscience, bank with Wells Fargo.

Despite pressure from advocates for prison reform, immigrant rights and faith based groups, Wells Fargo continues to be an active participant in the for-profit prison system with significant investments in Corrections Corp of America, the company that owns and runs the Elizabeth Detention Center, and the GEO Group which owns Delaney Hall.  The recent release of public bid documents also revealed that Wells Fargo is a financial advisor to Community Education Centers (CEC), the private corrections company which profits from a contract to incarcerate ICE detainees at Delaney Hall.

The people who are held at immigration detention facilities include long-time residents of our local communities.  Many are the primary breadwinners or caregivers for their families.  Their detention splits apart families and removes laborers and consumers from the local economy.

For over a decade, IRATE & First Friends has advocated for an end to the mass detention of immigrants, the use of alternatives to detention and the improvement of conditions for those currently in immigration detention.  Since 1997, First Friends has managed a visitor’s service at the Elizabeth Detention Center and has recently begun visitor’s services for immigrant detainees at both the Hudson and Bergen County jails and Delaney Hall.

Throughout this time we have witnessed the neglect and abuse that result from the conflicting interests of caring for human beings in custody and providing returns to investors.  Conditions in these facilities are shockingly inhumane. Unsanitary and unsafe conditions including lack of access to medical treatment, substandard food, and physical and verbal abuse from staff and guards are pervasive.

We simply cannot excuse the inherent immorality of providing financial benefit to some through the creation of suffering for many.  We urge Wells Fargo to divest from private prisons and to cease providing support or advice to such an immoral enterprise.  In the interim, we will urge our associates and partner organizations to remove funds from Wells Fargo as well.

Sincerely,
Greg Sullivan
Program Director

Disgruntled Wells Fargo shareholders rally in Portland

Portland Business Journal by Matthew Kish , Business Journal staff writer

Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 10:00am PDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 2:40pm PDT

Wells Fargo shareholders want to force the bank to hold another annual meeting.Wells Fargo shareholders want to force the bank to hold another annual meeting.
Business Journal staff writer -Portland Business Journal

This story has been updated from its original version.

A group of Wells Fargo shareholders wants the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission  to force the bank to hold another annual meeting.

The San Francisco-based bank’s annual meeting last month was disrupted by protesters who were eventually removed from the meeting. Twenty-four people were arrested, according to Bloomberg. Continue reading

Wells Fargo Turns Away Its Own Shareholders From Its Shareholder MeetingApril 24, 2012

With spring in the air, a new spate of Occupy-style corporate activism

By Josh Harkinson | Tue Apr. 24, 2012 3:28 PM PDT

Outside the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in San Francisco: Josh Harkinson

Outside the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in San Francisco: Josh Harkinson

Updated on Wednesday, April 25th at 11 am PST

“I would not want to work for Wells Fargo,” one woman on lunch break in downtown San Francisco loudly told her friend.

No kidding. At around noon today, some 2,000 activists launched a blitzkrieg against the bank’s annual shareholder meeting at the Merchants Exchange Building, where they blocked entrances, inflated a two-story cigar-smoking rat in the street, and deployed hundreds of shareholder activists to pack the joint.

Citing space constraints, the bank turned away many of the shareholders, a move protesters quickly decried as an illegal attempt to dodge tough questions. A press release from the activist group the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment claimed Wells Fargo packed the meeting with its own employees, and continued to let shareholders who were not part of the protest in through a side door.

A Wells Fargo spokesman did not immediately return my call.

In the building lobby, I ran into Wells Fargo shareholder Andrew Constans, who was wearing a suit and tie and holding a paper copy of his single share of stock. The 19-year-old University of Minnesota student flew halfway across the country to tell Wells Fargo that it should pay more taxes. (Between 2008 and 2010, Wells Fargo paid none, but got $681 million [1] in tax credits.) “I pay taxes, so why can’t they?” Constans asked. “I’m not a multinational corporation; I don’t have 60 tax shelters.”

The Wells Fargo protest is part of an effort on the part of 99% Power [2], a coalition of dozens of labor and community groups that plans to target some 40 corporate shareholder meetings over the next six weeks. “It’s a broader group than normally does shareholders meetings,” says Stephen Lerner, an executive board member with the Service Employees International Union. “It’s a campaign that’s saying, let’s gather all the folks who are impacted negatively by these giant corporations and lets figure out ways to illustrate that and challenge them directly at the meetings.”

That strategy was on full display today in downtown San Francisco, where demonstrators hit Wells Fargo from every possible angle. A speaker with the immigrants rights group Causa Justa pointed out that Wells Fargo is a shareholder in Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison firm that profits from detaining illegal immigrants [3]. Bob Donjacour, a freelance computer programmer and member of Occupy San Francisco, held a sign that said, “Stop Funding Dirty Power,” highlighting the bank’s investments in oil and gas. Other protesters criticized Wells Fargo’s involvement in the American Legislative Exchange Council [4], the excessive salary of CEO John Stumpf [5] ($19 million in 2010), and, of course, its foreclosure practices [6].

On the corner of Pine and Sansome Streets, I ran into artist Cheryl Meeker, a member of an Occupy-related protest group known as Don’t Just Click There. “It’s about doing things in real life, like, physically,” she explained. She was blocking the intersection with a long cloth banner with flames on it as others held up signs reading, “Hells Fargo.”

“Do you think we can get through?” asked two guys in nice suits.

Meeker declined, but did give each of them a dollar bill. It sported an image of humans pulling a stagecoach with the caption: “Debt slavery.”

According to press reports [7], 24 people were arrested at the protests, including several who disrupted the shareholder meeting from within. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo announced record profits and awarded CEO John Stumpf a $19.8 million pay package.

Link to article: http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/04/wells-fargo-turns-away-its-own-shareholders-annual-meeting

Wells Fargo Protesters Block Investors at Annual Meeting

Bloomberg
By Dakin Campbell and Mark Chediak – Apr 25, 2012

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) shareholders needed police help to enter the bank’s annual meeting yesterday in San Francisco as at least 500 people gathered to protest the company’s lending and foreclosures.

Sounds from the street wafted up to the 15th floor of the Merchants Exchange Building across from Wells Fargo’s headquarters in the city’s financial district, where Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf was interrupted at least four times by shouting. About two dozen were arrested as protesters chained themselves together to block an entrance and others made it inside, chanting as police cleared paths for attendees.

Members of Occupy Wall Street are among groups seeking to revive last year’s protests against the nation’s biggest banks for their role in causing the financial crisis and gaps between the incomes of the nation’s richest and poorest citizens. Wells Fargo is the largest provider of U.S. home loans and runs the biggest servicing operation, which handles billings, collections and foreclosures for banks and investors who own mortgages.

“We are here to put stories to the numbers and faces to the bottom line,” said Sarah Lombardo, 29, of Oakland, who joined a human chain with five others to block shareholders from entering the building. Her parents’ house in Southern California was foreclosed two years ago, wrecking her family’s credit, preventing her from getting a college loan and forcing her to work two jobs to help pay tuition, she said in an interview.

Lombardo said she didn’t know the names of the four banks that held the mortgage. The lenders foreclosed after her father was disabled in an accident and her mother got cancer, making it tough for them to make payments, she said.

Stumpf Interrupted

Inside the hall, Stumpf was interrupted less than a minute into his presentation by a person shouting that the bank should pay its fair share of taxes, followed by at least two more such protests and a disruption by several people at once. Stumpf, 58, told the people they were out of order, and security personnel and San Francisco police escorted them out.

“There has to be a desire on both sides to have a true dialogue,” Oscar Suris, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said in an interview. “We respect the protesters’ right to protest, but well before their voices were heard today we already had a deep appreciation for the many challenges our customers are facing in today’s economy.”

No one queried Stumpf during a question-and-answer period, and he ended the meeting after shareholders voted to approve the management-compensation plan and the slate of directors.

Worldwide Movement

Organizers of Occupy Wall Street are planning protests in more than 115 cities on May 1. The worldwide movement was born Sept. 17 as about 1,000 people marched in New York City and eventually set up camp in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

Demonstrators who descended on Wells Fargo’s annual meeting yesterday set up a makeshift stage on the back of a truck, chanting “Let us in” as the start of the meeting approached. Others marching in a circle near a side entrance performed a call-and-response chant: “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” Some held signs reading, “Occupy Wells Fargo, stop predatory loans,” and others brought a posterized mockup of the company’s stagecoach logo festooned with protest slogans.

Dozens of people holding what appeared to be stock certificates pressed against a police barricade at the front of the building said they were being denied access to the meeting.

Maria Guillen, a protester who declined to give her age, said she wanted to attend the meeting to tell executives that the bank should pay its fair share of taxes.

‘People Are Struggling’

Wells Fargo paid almost $4 billion in federal, state and corporate income taxes last year as profit climbed 29 percent to $15.9 billion, according to the company’s 2011 annual report.

“We know our customers and with what’s going on in the economy, people are struggling,” said Suris, the Wells Fargo spokesman.

Minutes after the meeting started, protesters outside announced they had taken over the meeting, drawing cheers. Those who had chained themselves to block one entrance departed, declaring that they had accomplished their mission. The demonstrations took on a carnival atmosphere, with people dancing to a Brazilian drum circle and donning costumes, including one woman dressed as an anti-Wells Fargo cheerleader.

Sgt. Daryl Fong, a San Francisco police spokesman, said city police arrested 20 protesters and that the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department arrested four others. Of those arrested by city police, 14 were taken into custody during the meeting and six others were charged with trespassing, Fong said.

Other Occupy protesters, taking aim at what they called Wall Street West, were arrested Jan. 20 as they sought to shut the company’s headquarters. Wells Fargo was one of the few banks to acknowledge the movement in its annual report and list the protests as a risk factor that could harm the business.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net; Mark Chediak in San Francisco atmchediak@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net