Americans For Prosperity Places Fake Eviction Notices On Detroit Homeowners’ Doors To Scare Up Support

These notices were posted on homes in Detroit.

The Michigan chapter of the Koch-backed conservative activist group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) has been campaigning against a new bridge project called the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) that the state is considering. While there may be some merit to some of the arguments against the NITC project, the tactics AFP has just been found to be using in campaigning against it are revolting.

Yesterday, numerous residents in the Delray area of Detroit came back to their homes to find eviction notices. The problem was that these notices were not authorized by any sort of local government authorities. Rather, they were mocked up by AFP to look like actual eviction notices. The “notices” sensationally claimed to homeowners that their property may be seized if the NITC is constructed. Some residents, particularly elderly ones, were physically shaken by the tactic:

Residents and a state legislator lambasted the circulars, saying they were a scare tactic by opponents of the bridge. Dolores Toth, 81, who has heart problems, began to shake after reading the notice, said her son, Steve. “How low can you go?” Steve Toth said. “This isn’t something you do, I don’t care who you are.”

“It was meant to startle people,” said AFP Michigan director Scott Hagerstrom, defending the notices. “We really wanted people to take notice. This is the time that their opinions need to be heard. We wanted people to read it.” The Detroit Free Press put together a video report covering AFP’s scare tactics and the local area’s response. Watch it:

AFP’s tactics are bad enough by themselves, but they are even worse when you consider where the fake eviction notices were delivered. Michigan has the country’s highest foreclosure rate, and Detroit in particular is perhaps the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis.