Flood victims accuse property owner of discrimination

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Families recovering from devastating flood damage are accusing their property owner of lying and keeping them in the dark about getting their lives in order.

Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park residents say they are trying to get answers. The owners say, they are treating the residents like family members.
Warning signs are posted on crumpled homes, the debris is in Whitehaven where dozens of families remain homeless after this month`s sweeping flash floods.

Through a translator, mom Maria Del Pillar tells News Channel 3, she could only grab a few things from her home when water rushed through.

“The first thing I got was my daughter`s documents. I got one set of clothing for myself, one for my daughter and one for my husband,” said Del Pillar.

But what’s even more upsetting for many families, isthey say the land owner is being deceitful and won’t tell them what’s going on.

“We can`t ask for what we need, or want because of the language barrier. So we feel discriminated against,” said Del Pillar.

News Channel 3 stopped by Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park to speak with the owners about the floods and allegations of discrimination.

“Some of the families told us if they came in here and tried to speak to someone they were told you didn`t have time for them,” said WREG’s Elise Preston.

“Ok I`ll tell you what; I`m not going to get into this. This is a family run home here,” said Patsy Madewell. She and her husband Wallace own Wheel Estates.

Wallace Madewell served as interim Mayor of Memphis in 1982, before Dick Hackett was elected. Madewell says they have spent thousands of dollars to feed the families left with nothing. Their homes are behind Nonconnah Creek.

“You must have insurance, you`ve got to have that,” said Madewell.

“They also told us, they were told they did not need flood insurance, because this area does not flood. Is that true?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.

“No, not that`s not true. If you excuse me, I came here on my day off, I think we`ve talked enough,” said Madewell.

But for these families who live here, they say they haven`t talked with the land owners.

“We would like property owners to stop taking advantage of us and tell us the truth. We are hardworking people. We just want a chance in life and an opportunity,” said homeowner Marisela Masias.

Another big concern for the families is that they fear the severe flooding can happen again. This is not the first time; they’ve lost things due to flooding at Wheel Estates. They tell News Channel 3, they were told in the past, everything is fine.

Currently, the families are staying in a makeshift American Red Cross Shelter. The shelter shuts down Monday.



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