82-year-old fights predatory lending eviction - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

82-year-old fights predatory lending eviction

NEW YORK (CNN) - After 42 years of living in the same home, a Brooklyn great-grandmother may soon get kicked out thanks to what she calls predatory lending.

Mary Ward, 82, locked herself behind a fence made of chicken wire and a crowd of supporters who rallied outside of her home.

A marshal was due any minute to evict her from the only home she's known since 1969.

"It means everything to me because I have put everything into this house," she said.

Ward ran into trouble in the mid-1990s when she refinanced in order to raise cash to fight for custody of her great-granddaughter. She was hoping to cash out $10,000.

"I turned and looked at the check when they handed it to me I almost passed out," she said.

The check was for $1467.51.

It was far less than the $10,000 she expected, and she still has a copy of the check.

"The very next day, I went to the District Attorney's office because I didn't know what to do," she said.

The lender turned out to be shady, but Ward couldn't get the loan rescinded and the house fell into foreclosure. After a long legal battle, her home was sold at an auction three years ago. The new owner wants her out.

"I have no intention of leaving. Now, if they break in and take me, I won't resist," she said.

Ward's local assemblywoman, Annette Robinson, interceded and set up a meeting with her and the new owner.

"We spoke to the Marshal. The Marshal will not be taking any action today," Robinson said.

After the closed door meeting, the owner said he's considering a proposal from Ward's lawyers to hand the property over to a non-profit that would allow her to stay in her home.

"I had a meeting with them, and we tried to work out together as much as we can," owner Shameem Chowdhury said.

He said he did not get a chance to speak with Ward, but he hopes that she will come to an agreement.

Ward, the proud great-granddaughter of a slave, returned home from the meeting to cheers.

She's safe from eviction for a few more weeks, but after that, her fate depends on whether her lawyers can strike a deal with the owner.

"It will be hard, but justice is going to be done and soon dignity for all. They try to take away our dignity, but they'll never take away my dignity," Ward said.

Area politicians said it's often African-American women who are targeted by predatory lenders. The shady company in Ward's deal was forced out of business, but other key players in the battle are still in operation.

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