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 .
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."