Community supports family fighting eviction from condo

MEMPHIS, TN (NBC) - In March, a judge ordered the eviction of Christopher Reyes and his family from their Downtown Memphis condo of 25 years.

The family is now fighting to stay in their home as their neighbor, The Madison Hotel, pushes to expand.

"They are threatened to be expelled from their downtown home in the name of so-called progress," supporter Pat Mitchell Worley said.

Artists and friends of Reyes and his partner, Sarah Fleming, said they no longer could sit in silence watching the family get booted from their condo.

In front of City Hall on Monday, they banded together, their frustrations heard loudly echoing off buildings.

"This is more a message for Aparium [Hotel Group]," Worley said. "Welcome to Memphis, but be a part of the community. They still have an opportunity to change things, and we hope that they will."

The battle to remove Reyes and Fleming from their home started last summer when Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group purchased the Madison Hotel and the neighboring property on Main Street, the same building the couple said they've owned since 1993.

On March 27, a judge ruled against the family of four saying they failed to prove they owned the condo.

Reyes and his family were told they must pack up and leave, and they must also pay a $102,000 judgment to Aparium Hotel Group.

"Our message to the Aparium Hotel Group is that we want you to make this right," supporter Joann Self Selvidge said.

Reyes and his partner are well-known throughout Memphis' artist community.

"If you have lived in the city of Memphis at any point over the last 25 years, you have experienced something that is amazing and beautiful that is a creation of Christopher Reyes or Sarah Fleming," Selvidge said.

The couple said to have paved the way for the downtown renaissance is now packing up their downtown home to make way for new development.

WMC5's calls and emails to Aparium Hotel Group were not returned Monday.

The couple has also filed an appeal in an effort to stay in their home.

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