An 84-year-old New Hampshire woman on Friday will be out of the modest mobile home where she’s lived in for the past 27 years after the state’s highest court upheld her eviction.
“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Leona Berger said Thursday. “I’ve redone this house inside from paint, paper to floors, and I don’t know what I’ve done. I bother nobody. My house is probably the neatest one.”
Berger will pack up her belongings, put her furniture in storage and move in with a daughter.
In a brief order filed in April, the Supreme Court said Berger failed to prove her case that a lower court had made a mistake in allowing the West Hill Cooperative to evict her in 2012.
The lawyer representing Well Hill did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Robert Phinney, the chairman of the cooperative’s board of directors, has said the eviction was a business decision.
The case began in August 2011, when Berger got notice that the board was going to increase her rent from $400 to $900. Her daughter, Shelley Crosby, became her mother’s advocate and negotiated the rent to $575. Berger had to sign a lease for the first time – a lease the board opted not to renew a year later. They sent an eviction notice effective September 2012.
The case sent ripples through the town. The Board of Selectmen even held up approval of a $400,000 grant for a well system at the trailer park for nearly half a year hoping to leverage a deal with the cooperative to keep Berger in her home.
A lower court ruled the co-op’s board had the right to obtain and sell the rental property. When Berger’s lawyer declined to appeal the ruling, Crosby, who has no legal training, argued the case in front of the Supreme Court. April’s order marks the end of the road.
On Thursday, Crosby sat in front of the mobile home community protesting the decision. When her mother is evicted Friday as expected, she will live with another daughter.
“I’m trying to get the (cooperative) board members to change their minds and let my mom stay so she can have some peace,” said Crosby. “I’m not giving up.
“She was crying today about it because she’s so independent,” Crosby said. “She’s strong and she’s spunky and she wants to stay in her own home.”