South Memphis apartment complex accused of predatory practices

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Management of a South Memphis apartment complex is partaking in predatory parking practices, according to a local advocate for women and children.

Elaine Sanford came to the Hillview Village Apartments to help a single mother in need Tuesday.

“I work with a ministry. I received a phone call from a mother in desperate situation with her children,” Sanford said.

She brought diapers, food and clothing.

“It was too much for one person to carry so we helped her take it to the door,” she said.

She was in the mom’s apartment for five minutes, she said. But when she came out, she was shocked: a towing company had her car.

“I raised a holy fuss! I got out here said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, 'You are towing a vehicle. I came here to help this lady and you’re towing my vehicle.' He said, ‘There is a sign.’ I said, ‘Where is the sign?’”

The "permit parking only" sign was barely visible, posted in the middle of a bush which covered most of it.

Sanford also got frustrated knowing most of the people who live in Hillview Village Apartments are poor.

“They know we can’t afford to get it back," said one resident who did not want to be identified because she was afraid management would evict her for speaking to the news.

She said they towed her car weeks ago. She can’t pay the fines, so she now doesn’t have a car. She recently got a new job, but has no way to accept the offer because she can’t get there.

WREG went to the Hillview Village management office to get answers, but management said they had "no idea" about the parking situation and closed the door.

Sanford said someone passed her story on to Mayor Jim Strickland, who would direct Memphis Police to investigate the potentially predatory practices.