Gwinnett therapy horse farm saved from foreclosure

A therapy horse farm in Gwinnett County celebrated closing on a deal that saved it from the threat of foreclosure.

Parkwood Farms owner Marilyn Peterson closed the deal with Everhome Mortgage on Tuesday. Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and Peterson held a “victory press conference” to celebrate months of hard work.

Peterson said she had been fighting foreclosure through the court for nearly two years.

The owner’s problems began when she bought what she called a “predatory loan” in 2004 and tried to refinance it in 2011.

“They only saw the life of the loan as two years. After that, it went to an ARM [adjustable-rate mortgage]. They sold it to another company and our mortgage payment more than doubled,” Peterson said. “And at the same time, the economy took a turn for the worse. It was a double whammy.”

Peterson began the farm to treat children like her autistic son and felt that closing the farm would end a beneficial public service.

She reached out to Occupy Our Homes Atlanta the day sheriff’s deputies showed up in November and threatened to evict her because her case was in litigation in federal court.

“It’s a clear injustice,” said Occupy Our Homes member Tim Franzen. “We have a few fights that we’ve taken up that are just a no-brainer. When those kinds of fights land on your doorstep, then I think that’s an obligation.”

In late November, Occupy Our Homes and Parkwood Farms moved the previously evicted horses back to the farm in defiance of a court order and resumed its program for disabled children.

The group organized candlelight vigils on the farm, held protests at the bank law firm’s office, launched online petitions and raised money before striking the deal with Everhome.

Everhome declined to comment on the deal, saying the company can only provide loan information to its customer. Franzen and Peterson also declined to comment on the details of the deal, except to declare it a victory.

“We never consider anything safe and sound until the ink is dry and that actually happened today,” Franzen said. “The farm is safe and Dr. Peterson … is now the owner. We’re very excited that all the work that has been done up to this point has made the farm safe forever.”

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