By Ruth Ferguson, NDG Editor
Local protesters gathered in support of Ruth Mae Sanders, 93 years-old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, and facing an uphill battle with Henry S. Miller in a battle over an unpaid commission. Following several days of negative publicity the company’s CEO privately met with Mrs. Sanders and her daughter Leena Sanders over the weekend. They reportedly reached an agreement regarding the mounting debt and legal fees related to a commission they were attempting to collect on a sale of the property that was never sold.
The battle between Mrs. Sanders and Henry S. Miller revolves around a contract she signed with the company in 2012. She agreed to allow the realty broker to sell her house and rental property next door to an investor who planned to build a 7-11 in what is now Uptown. However, her daughter and medical professionals have countered that Mrs. Sanders was already exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s and therefore not qualified to enter into a legal agreement.
The sale fell through when the investor backed out, dropping plans to build the convenience store where her home is located. However, Henry S. Miller claimed the contract Mrs. Sanders signed included a clause that would require them to pay their commission anyway. The debt has grown from $53,700 to $125,000 with legal fees and judgements added on.
Although local attorneys volunteered to step in and help and they successfully filed a protest with the Texas Supreme Court, the two parties are hopeful no further legal action will be necessary.
Arthur Fleming, the NAACP Dallas Chapter President, spoke by phone with the North Dallas Gazette and when asked why he felt the protest was necessary after the two parties came to an agreement he pointed out, “The NAACP has a historical position against gentrification. This is going on in Oak Cliff and South Dallas. We are supporting her because we are highlighting that when gentrification goes down and we don’t benefit, that this is what it looks like.”
Fleming expressed concern about the future of South Dallas saying, “South Dallas is just 15 years away from becoming like North Dallas. They have gone as far as they can North, they are almost in Oklahoma. The hallways are already in place – the highways already exist.”
According to Fleming it starts and ends with the quality of schools.
“If you can’t get in good schools, of course you are going to move. We are trying to educate the community that they are on valuable property, but the anchor for that is good schools.”
Referring to charter schools, Fleming called them a neighborhood destabilization tool.
“They call it is choice, if the choice you have is worse than what you’ve got. That is not a choice,” Fleming declared. “The staff is not qualified and once they become qualified they go to public schools.”
The solution in Fleming’s eyes is getting proper funding for the schools.
“Put STEM programs in our schools to get our kids ready for the next economy,” Fleming said. “Schools with technology is what we are pushing for. We can be stable from that instead of getting money and moving out.”