A group of California and Nevada homeowners traveled to Lennar Corp.’s annual shareholder meeting in Miami on Wednesday to protest the builder’s practices, which they alleged have contributed to foreclosures.

The Miami Herald reported that Lennar Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller defended the company’s practices. "It is not in the interest of this company to have any more foreclosures," he reportedly told shareholders, adding that he has pressed Congress to take more actions to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

About 50 activists, part of the Alliance for Homebuyer Justice, attended a rally in front of the company’s headquarters. The protest was organized by the Laborers’ International Union of North America, a union of construction workers that created the alliance.

The group earlier this month had organized a similar protest against KB Home (see story).

LIUNA had protested a Senate bill last year that included tax cuts for builders and other businesses, and the group released a report in April 2008 detailing alleged contributions of the corporate homebuilding industry to the nation’s mortgage crisis.

In addition to the protest at Lennar’s annual meeting, the union reported that it filed a Fair Housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alleging that Lennar targeted subprime loans at Latino buyers through its mortgage subsidiary, and the Miami Herald reported that a Lennar spokesman said the company had no knowledge of the complaint at that time.

Miller, the article states, "said he took offense at any suggestion the company engaged in discriminatory practices."

Lennar on Wednesday reported a quarterly cash dividend of 4 cents per share. The company on March 30 reported a net loss of $155.9 million for the quarter ended Feb. 28, 2009, compared with a net loss of $88.2 million in first-quarter 2008. Revenues fell 45 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, to $522.8 million.

Alicia Howe


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