The Coconut Creek family threatened with two eviction notices earlier this month will be able to spend the rest of the holidays at home after the Occupy Fort Lauderdale movement set up camp at the residence to support them.
Wells Fargo - which holds a second mortgage on the home - faxed a letter to the Bien-Aimé family letting them know that the eviction had been put "on hold” late Monday, just hours after the Occupy Fort Lauderdale members protested outside the house.
"They gave us the run around, but we finally pressured them into sending the information (to stop the eviction proceedings) to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, said Occupy Fort Lauderdale spokesperson Christine Weinbrecht.
Now, the Occupy movement vows to keep pressuring Wells Fargo until they reverse the eviction altogether and work with the family to settle an ongoing dispute. A march on one of the bank’s Fort Lauderdale branches is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.
"We’re going to meet at City Hall and (march) to Wells Fargo to deliver letters of support for the Bien- Aimés,” Weinbrecht said.
Natalie M. Brown, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo, said the bank is now in discussions with the family to resolve the dispute.
“We are currently in active dialogue with the Bien- Aimé family to consider all viable options to avoid eviction,” Brown said. “To allow ample time to try and work out a resolution, we have put the eviction order on hold.”
The Bien- Aimé family has lived at the home for 11 years and insists they never missed a loan payment to Wells Fargo but they say they have not been allowed to make a payment since early in 2010. The family says Wells Fargo told them they owe $27,000 – money the family has and is willing to pay.
“I have the money to pay them. Please, let's make them take the money and they tell me, 'denied.' They tell me they cannot take the money, they have to take the house," Marie Bien- Aimé had told NBC Miami.
Although they visited local branches, spoke with numerous bank officials trying to resolve the dispute and even sought a court order for Wells Fargo to take their payments, the Bien- Aimés say they had been denied at every turn.
While family members say the bank assured them that they would not be evicted until Jan. 3, eviction proceedings had been scheduled to move forward by the BSO on Monday. Until, that is, Occupy Fort Lauderdale stepped in to help publicize the issue.