Housing Protestors Target Connecticut Hedge Fund Manager

Feb 12 2009 | 2:07am ET

If hedge fund manager William Frey decided to take lunch at home yesterday, he was in for a rude surprise: As many as 400 protestors, decrying him as a “loan shark” and “financial predator.”

The protestors, brought to Frey’s Greenwich, Conn., home in a pair of buses and 52 vans from Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack’s Rye, N.Y., home—where they had protested earlier in the day—arrived on Glenville Road at around 1 p.m. The demonstration, organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, a Boston-based non-profit housing advocacy, chose Frey because his Greenwich Financial Services hedge fund has sued one mortgage lender—and threatened others—over renegotiating loans that back securities it owns.

“The greed they are showing is just beyond the pale,” Bruce Marks, CEO of NACA, told the Hartford Courant. “To sue lenders who are trying to do the right thing is outrageous.”

The protestors at Frey’s wore yellow shirts chanted “fix our loans, save our homes” and carried signs reading “Stop Loan Sharks” on the first two stops of what NACA calls its “Predators Tour.”

“No one has ever gone in such huge numbers to these guys' homes,” Marks told the Courant. “If they don't do the right thing, we'll be back. We are the junkyard dogs. Once we grab on, we will not let go.”

It is unclear whether or not Frey or anyone else was at the home to enjoy the spectacle. But the opprobrium offered by the protestors isn’t the first criticism of his tactics toward mortgage lenders. In October, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) wrote a blistering letter to Frey and Harvey Allon, head of Denver-based Braddock Financial Corp.

“For the hedge fund industry, which has flourished for much of the past decade, to take steps so actively in opposition to what is currently in the national interest is deeply troubling,” Frank wrote.


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