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Help stop eviction of disabled woman

Published Dec 7, 2008 7:17 PM

Vida Brown has lived in her home in Sturgis, Mich., since 1992. Sturgis is in south-central Michigan, near the Indiana border, about 160 miles southwest of Detroit. The 2000 census recorded the town’s population at 11,285, with only 1.23 percent African-American residents.

Brown is a disabled African-American woman in her 50s. A chemical exposure at work left her with feeding tubes and severe medical challenges. She became a victim of mortgage fraud when she attempted to save her home after she fell behind on payments due to medical expenses.

A bogus mortgage company, which subsequently had its license revoked, tricked Brown into signing her house over to them. She continued making what she believed were the mortgage payments.

Recently, after being served with eviction papers, Brown learned she had been scammed and the house was in foreclosure. She discovered she had lost her property rights and was only a tenant in her own home. She filed complaints with the FBI, police and the State Office of Financial Services.

Despite these facts, District Court Judge William Welty, Deutsche Bank and its eviction attorneys at Trott & Trott, P.C. have refused to even hear or review this information. Instead they have forged ahead to throw Brown out into the street.

Brown contacted people’s attorney Vanessa Fluker in Detroit seeking assistance in her eviction case after she had been denied help by a local Legal Aid office. Although Fluker was unable to represent her, since Sturgis is so far from Detroit, she immediately contacted the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions. She also helped Brown obtain legal counsel from attorney Richard Black in Holland, Mich.

The coalition put out a statewide email blast on Nov. 24 to thousands of people asking them to support Brown. National emails were also sent, and people responded from cities as far away as New York and Baltimore. Brown’s supporters flooded the Deutsche Bank headquarters on Wall Street with calls demanding they stop the illegal foreclosure and eviction.

The coalition’s email blast noted: “In light of the fact there has been fraud, and despite the fact that the eviction of Mrs. Brown could cause severe medical damage and possible death, pursuant to letters from her physicians—the bank and their attorneys don’t care. Voice your support for Mrs. Vida Brown of Sturgis, Mich. Demand that Deutsche Bank stop the eviction. It’s time to force the banks that are being bailed out every day with billions of our tax dollars to respect the human rights of the victims of the current crisis.”

Because of the pressure applied to Deutsche Bank, Brown and her attorney were able to win a stay of eviction in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The struggle to save Brown’s home is not over. Supporters are urged to contact Deutsche Bank at 212-250-7125, the bank’s media communications representative Mayura Hooper at 212-250-5536, and Trott & Trott law firm at 248-642-2515 to demand justice for Vida Brown and to stop the illegal foreclosure and eviction.