A Minneapolis woman who has publicly refused to leave her foreclosed house was ordered to leave the property this afternoon by Hennepin County sheriff's deputies. But a group of supporters is in the house and has vowed to stay despite the order.
Rosemary Williams has been fighting eviction for months, and last week a deal that would have allowed her to stay in her south Minneapolis home fell through.
Deputies remained on the scene for about an hour, to allow Williams to collect some belongings before leaving the home. Private locksmiths hired by GMAC mortgage then locked the doors to the house and left the scene.
Shortly afterward, a group of supporters then broke into the house and reopened the doors.
More than two dozen people are at the home, and have vowed to remain on the property and engage in civil disobedience if law enforcement officials arrive to remove Williams from the premises.
The sheriff's department has said that any enforcement action would need to be taken by the Minneapolis Police Department, and so far the police have not arrived on the scene.
Williams has declined to comment to the media. Her supporters say that she is in the house and is distraught. The group is also moving some of Williams' belongings to a friend's house.
"Rosemary Williams has been a symbol, she has been on the front lines, and at this moment, it is absolutely vital that we stay here," said Mick Kelly, a supporter of Williams.
Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer did not indicate when his department would take action.
"If the police department is dispatched to a trespassing issue, we will address it," Palmer said, and declined further comment.
Williams' house is owned by Aurora, a mortgage servicing division of Lehman Brothers, according to GMAC Mortgage spokeswoman Jeannine Bruin. Bruin confirmed that the investor asked GMAC to follow through with the eviction proceedings.
GMAC Mortgage has been servicing the mortgage on behalf of Aurora.
"We would say that anyone who is in the home at this point is in violation of no trespassing orders," said Bruin in a statement. "It's unfortunate we weren't able to reach an agreement that would have allowed Williams to remain in her home. It was the investor's decision to proceed with the eviction."
Jeanine Estime, who's running for the Ward 8 Minneapolis City Council seat, was on the scene for a while this afternoon, saying she wanted to show her support for Williams.
Elizabeth Glidden, who currently holds the seat for the 8th Ward, was also in attendance to show her support.
Estime said she believes the state of Minnesota should issue a moratorium on foreclosures.