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Bed-Stuy Great-Grandmother Still Praying for a Deal

As of late this afternoon, no agreement had been reached

A few dozen neighbors and housing advocates over the weekend traded shifts in and around the Bedford-Stuyvesant home of , a reported victim of a predatory lending scheme, following Friday's successful .

And still today, outside of the home a handful of neighbors, along with members of Common Law and Organizing for Occupation (O4O) continued to mill casually around the property.

Inside of the home, an 82-year-old Ms. Ward sat patiently in her living room flanked by a small group of supporters, speaking only occasionally, to remind visitors that she wasn't crazy, "I've been doing this all by myself all these years, I know what I'm talking about," she said with quiet reserve.

Lawyers for the organizations sat inside Ms. Ward's kitchen weighing strategy after alternative strategy, in the event there's a disagreement on the terms of a property transfer settlement between Ms. Ward and Shameem Chowdury, the property's new owner.

A discussion around the settlement was scheduled for today. But as of late this afternoon, no meeting had taken place, and no agreement had been reached.

Still, they were hopeful about the outcome: "It sounds like he really wants to settle," said Karen Gargamelli, a lawyer from Common Law. They had made a formal offer on behalf of Ms. Ward to Chowdury for $70,000 -- money Ms. Ward had in escrow -- and where he could donate the property to a land trust as a tax write off, Gargamelli said.

In fact, both parties had yet to meet in person. Lawyers called Chodhury, who expressed more interest in negotiating who he was willing to meet with -- he insisted Reverend Robinson be present -- and less, the actual terms of the settlement.

A few more phone calls and finally, another meeting was set for Wednesday.

But, according to Ms. Ward, if Chowdury's past actions are any indication, he's not planning to go down without a fight: "He used to come to my house and knock on my door, and say, 'You've got to leave here. This is not your house. You've got to get out,'" said Mary as she held up an enlarged photo she took of him during one of his visits at her door.

Her tiny frame shook with indignance. She appeared more unstoppable than anyone else in the room.

"But I have confidence everything is going to be alright," she said. "Because I know the almighty God has sent you all here. So we're going to be victorious."

Marina Stanley August 23, 2011 at 02:32 PM
This may be a stupid question but at this stage of the game... what would happen in the event of Ms. Ward's death? Would the house go to heirs of Ms. Ward or Mr. Chowdry? Is there any legal papers drawn for her heirs? Just wondering how that would play out.
Christina August 23, 2011 at 03:14 PM
I feel for this woman as we can see the greed in people. This all began when she wanted to adopt her great grand daughter, where is the rest of the family are there known relatives that could have helped her with this matter. I live on a block with several homes people just walked away from I don't see anyone trying to buy those houses but you are trying to push an old woman out of hers. If she were to pass on this situation wouldn't be so heartless she wouldn't be here to be treated like she's irrelavant. The least someone can do is consider this woman, this can happen to anyone who is a home owner who hopes to one day be 82 living alone. KARMA!
pat August 23, 2011 at 04:52 PM
This is happening in Bedford Stuyvesant, but I only see two Blacks in the photos. Some on this forum like to speak in less favorable terms of the Whites in the area and gentrification, but look who is there to help, mostly Whites. Might make some of you think twice next time you have a negative comment about the NEW residents of Bed Stuy.
Christina August 23, 2011 at 05:49 PM
@Pat I agree you I said the same thing when I looked at the photo. Yes, the NEW residence are more community minded. We (Blacks) don't get involved unless situations like this affects us personally. I will do my part this Thursday by stopping by to lend my support. Thank God for the Patch otherwise I would have never known about this. I will print this article and discuss this at my next block meeting or share with the elders on the block.
Claudette Brady August 23, 2011 at 09:24 PM
@Pat and Christina - The people in the picture are not Bed-Stuy residents, they are from the Common Ground the organization helping Ms. Ward. There were many Black residents of Bed-Stuy peacefully protesting on the day the marshal was expected to show. Black folks took off from work and other responsibilities to support Ms. Ward.
Monifa Bandele August 25, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Delta Funding has robbed enough people in our community. Enough is enough. I stand with Ms Ward. http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/documents/deltasettle.php
Christopher john August 29, 2011 at 12:09 AM
This is not a black or white issue, it's all about the green! These mortgage banker are thieves! They need to be regulated and held accountable! Spread the word and keep up the good fight!
Darren August 29, 2011 at 12:27 AM
This is not a black/white racial issue, nor an older/ newer resident of Bedford-Stuy. This is a issue of good/evil and greed. The world needs more people like Ms. Ward, and fewer people that feed off the elderly
marie c August 29, 2011 at 03:48 AM
Take the story to AC 360 on CNN: spredd. She will need a lot ad it evrywhere; create a Facebook page to draw support for Ms Ward. She will need a lot of media attention to survive this assault.
Gary Lloyd August 31, 2011 at 11:32 PM
The supposed "predatory loan" incident happened 15 years ago. This means she's been living rent-mortgage FREE for 15 years! Meanwhile, after buying the property Chowdary gave her three years to move out. This is ridiculous. Who are these people who've turned this into a case of an 82 year-old grandma being tossed into the streets when it's a story of a deadbeat who just refuses to pay rent -- for 15 years!

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