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Friday, August 9, 2013

Time and Place: 'Don't buy this house!'

11:02 a.m., August 6, 2013, Fulton County Courthouse
  • Joeff Davis
  • 11:02 a.m., August 6, 2013, Fulton County Courthouse

Call me crazy, but there's something medieval about auctioning a person's house on the steps of the county courthouse because they can't pay their bills. Nevertheless this is what happens once a month on the steps of the Fulton County Courthouse in Downtown Atlanta. CL has covered this extensively along with the foreclosure crisis and protests which sometimes happen during the auctions. Last Tuesday, while running to City Hall to cover Mayor Kasim Reed's press conference about reaching a deal with Friendship Baptist Church, I saw something I had never seen before - a woman protesting the sale of her house while the auction was going on.

Latonia Wilson spent all day on the courthouse steps, shouting "Don't buy this house, it comes with a fight," and "It's off limits unless you want a fight." She held a handmade sign with a photo of her family that pleaded for people not to buy the northwest Atlanta house, "the only home [her] kids have ever known." In between shouts, she told me while fighting back tears that her eight children live in the house.

"No one has done anything for me," Wilson said. "I have done upgrades and repairs and they're trying to take it from me and now they are not responding to me."

She says she got behind in her payments and suddenly received a letter saying her house would be put up for auction.

Wilson later told me that her house was not sold at the auction. She said no one bid on the property when it came up for sale. She believes it did not sell because she and her supporters were there protesting and because "people had compassion for me and my children."

"I feel this is the first step but I know it's a long road ahead," she said.

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