Staff Photo: Tyler Estep
Signs posted outside Snellville's Parkwood Farms Therapy Center on Monday call to "stop wrongful foreclosure" and "occupy our homes." The center, which provides therapy for autistic children, recently received an eviction notice but is fighting the process in federal court.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Parkwood Farms hopes a Gwinnett County judge will help it stave off eviction by issuing an injunction this week.
The Snellville farm -- an equine-focused therapy center for physically and developmentally challenged students -- is fighting eviction following what founder Marilyn Peterson has called a predatory loan and subsequent foreclosure.
After a turbulent 10 days since the original eviction notice was served by Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies, Peterson said Friday that waiting on a local judge was the only thing left.
"It's been quiet on the old homestead," she told the Daily Post.
Peterson has been battling foreclosure by HSBC Bank and EverHome Mortgage for nearly two years, since she said her mortgage was unexpectedly sold and converted to an adjustable rate mortgage. When her rate doubled, the founder of Parkwood Farms said she was advised to miss a few payments to "qualify for some programs."
The foreclosure process "wrongfully" began when she did so, Peterson said.
As the farm argues against the foreclosure, Peterson and Kelvin Watson -- a mortgage consultant and self-described "advocate for homeowners" -- are attempting to get an injunction filed in Gwinnett to prevent an eviction.
Watson attempted to get the case before a judge on Friday, but, due to a paperwork technicality, will have to wait until Monday, he said. If granted, the injunction would essentially give the farm a temporary protective order against eviction.
"We just got wind of all this stuff last week," Watson said. "It's been a tornado trying to put it all together."
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Sean Smith said earlier this week that the department had an order to evict and is waiting for the bank to contact it to schedule that action. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
Everhome spokesman Michael Cosgrove released a statement to the Daily Post.
"While we are sympathetic to Peterson's situation, it is Everhome's policy not to comment on individual cases and we remain committed to honoring the privacy of our customers," he said. "Everhome analyzes the circumstances of each homeowner for appropriate alternatives to foreclosure."
The community has come together to support Parkwood Farms during its tough times.
A rally that Occupy Atlanta helped organize was held at the farm Monday and attended by students, volunteers, family and the entire Snellville City Council. A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday.
An online petition -- available by searching "Parkwood Farms" at start2.occupyourhomes.org -- had more than 2,100 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
Peterson said that, if the injunction is granted, the farm's horses could be brought back to the property within a few days. Classes could theoretically be reopened to begin the week after Thanksgiving.
All that remains up in the air, but she remained hopeful.
"We feel very confident that we're going to get this temporary protective order," Peterson said.