A great number of readers have expressed sympathy for 82-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Ms. Mary Ward—a reported victim of a predatory lending scheme that has led to the sale of her home and impending eviction.
However, many others still question the basis of recent organized efforts to fight for continued home ownership on behalf of Ms. Ward, in light of what they're characterizing as a legal sale of the property to a new owner, Shameem Chowdhury, in 2008 at a mortgage auction.
According to Karen Gargamelli, a lawyer for Common Law, who is representing Ms. Ward, the sale of Ms. Ward’s home, technically, was not legal for three reasons: an initial illegal loan agreement, a shoddy paper trail and no present and clear title holder.
Ms. Ward rescinded the original loan agreement made in 1995, and so “The loan should have been taken off of Delta’s books, since she did not accept the money,” said Gargamelli. “So as it moved forward from bank to bank, all sales were improper.
“There’s a lot of shoddy paperwork, without a clear title holder. Wells Fargo Bank eventually claimed the mortgage, but there’s no evidence anywhere that they have the title, so there’s no reason they were entitled to make the sale.”
Repeated attempts to reach Mr. Chowdhury at Dean Inc., the corporation that purchased the property on his behalf, have been unsuccessful (repeatedly, someone at the office picks up the phone, but does not say anything).
Currently, Common Law is calling for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate predatory lenders, using Ms. Ward’s case for special examination.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is one of only three attorney generals in the country calling for the investigation of predatory lenders and trusts that profit from investing in subprime loans.
On Wednesday, August 31, beginning at 4pm, Organizing for Occupation, an all-volunteer-run non-profit of fair housing advocates, along with Common Law, will hold what they’re calling a “March for Ms. Ward and the Attorney General.”
They plan to march through Bedford-Stuyvesant, from Ms. Ward’s home at 320 Tompkins Avenue, past the new owner’s office, at 168 Fulton Street, and back to Tompkins Avenue.
“The idea is to make a statement that this is a community wide problem—not just a Tompkins and Gates problem,” Gargamelli said.
*Finally, Shameem Chowdhury talks! Click here to read the exclusive interview he gave Bed-Stuy Patch: Housing Speculator to Ms. Ward: "I'm Innocent"