Florida: Evicted 94-year-old woman spends birthday in Lake County motel

Orlando Sentinel: TAVARES — Juanita Fitzgerald woke up on Friday, her 94th birthday, in an $80-a-night motel wearing the same clothes she had on when she was arrested three days ago.

Fitzgerald spent two nights in the Lake County Jail after being evicted from her home and refusing to leave, and now she sits in her motel room and wonders where she will live.

“I don’t care if it’s just one little room,” Fitzgerald said, as long as she can plant some pickled beets.

She has bruises and scratches on her ankles, which she says she got from the shackles she wore in jail. A spokesman for the jail said he doesn’t know if Fitzgerald was shackled, but it is protocol for inmates to wear restraints.

FItzgerald says she’s overwhelmed by the media attention.

“My daughter said, ‘My God, mother, you’re all over the world!’” Fitzgerald said.

Advocates with the Mid Florida Homeless Coalition met with Fitzgerald on Friday to make plans for where she will stay the next few nights, until they can agree on a more suitable place for her.

“We’re working with her to try to accommodate her as soon as possible,” the organization’s board member B.E. Thompson said.

The Eustis independent living community where she’s lived in since April 2011, according to court documents, argues that the eviction is the result of months of litigation that began with safety concerns. A spokeswoman for Franklin House, Karen Twinem, did not say what those safety concerns were.

But Fitzgerald says her relationship with management at Franklin House had soured long before the arrest.

Fitzgerald said she would occasionally call authorities and complain to management about other residents. She thinks the practice made her neighbors resentful, and she would be blamed every time something went wrong. She claims her unpopularity strained her relationship with the property manager.  read more

21 Comments on Florida: Evicted 94-year-old woman spends birthday in Lake County motel

  1. Heartless Bastards. If she was an illegal thief, people would pool their cash and show her some love. God help us and bless her.

  2. It does seem heartless to throw her out like that, but what the hell was going on? Was she aggravating the neighbors that bad? Because 94 or 49, sorry, other people don’t have to put up with that. Still, it does suck to be out at that age.

  3. I don’t know. At 94yrs old, she’s probably set in her ways. Don’t like her ways, find a workable solution. Not paying rent, find a workable solution. When my grandma was in her 90’s, she stopped reliably paying her bills. Not on purpose mind you, this were starting to go askew in her. It was up to us, her family,to step in to keep things right. Yes, her family wasn’t there. That’s what social agencies are there for. There had to be a way to do this without jail and homelessness.

  4. All the money wasted dumped into
    illegals and lazy bums pockets
    and this is how the elderly can
    wind up.
    God help ya if you need long term
    care. Nursing homes are monstrous.

  5. She should find her way to a DHS or related office. Swear she’s a recently arrived Muzzie from Aleppo who hates Americans. Before nightfall they’d have her on a flight to an unknown town with a waiting all expense paid apartment & a monthly income.

  6. “Fitzgerald said she would occasionally call authorities”

    She’s in the habit of hiring people to put a beat down on people that won’t worship her hard enough. Hiring people to “pay” themselves by shaking down people she targets for a beat down.

    The shame here is that her victims denied a poor, hungry, unusually documented, alligator a snack.

  7. “not paying rent” “find a workable solution”
    The land lord did that.

    I’ve had Aunts in their 80’s and 90’s that were impossible do deal with. As a nephew I did what I could do. It is not up to the land lord. Gee wiz I can’t believe the liberals on this thread that think it is.

    94 is nursing home time. not mooching on an unrelated property owner.

  8. I always read these stories and know there are two sides to every story. Whatever the real truth is though, a better solution by somebody should have came about, because even if the living center’s side is the closer to the truth side, they now look like horrible people who would have an old lady put in jail. Cops look bad for jailing an old woman.
    So if this old lady was hell to deal with and didn’t pay her rent they have succeeded in her looking as the victim and them as the villains.

  9. I’ll probably get flamed for this, but I’d like to know the full story. Cops are people, too. She could have been evicted without being arrested. If they arrested her I want to know why. The story mentioned her daughter. Where is she at now? If this was my mom I’d be on the road or on a plane heading her way.

  10. While caring for my mother near the end of life, I recall her stating, “Golden Years My Ass!”
    Life begins with dependency.
    If you live long enough it ends the same way, an unbroken circle.

  11. @jpm – Don’t think I’m a liberal, working out, as you say, getting her set up in a nursing home sounds like a solution doesn’t it?

  12. @deplorable TWP. I was also confused about the growing of pickled beets. I think I’ll plant bread and butter pickles if my fried chicken and waffle crop doesn’t do well.

  13. it is up to the relatives here, not the landlords.
    my aunts were senile impaired and horrors to do business with. I can assure you the landlord was out of options. Getting old sucks.

  14. Her kids (son and daughter) are in their 70s. She claims they have health problems and she doesn’t want to burden them. Well, try your grandkids, hun. Or swallow the pride and go back to the living center and behave. That rent was cheaper than paying $80 per day at the motel. Or there’s always the county. Sucks, but what else?

  15. Those curious about pickled beets she’s talking about, you have to buy the Ruby Queen beet seeds. Those are grown for pickling. I have no use for beets other than to dye fabric. lol.

  16. “…as long as she can plant some pickled beets.”

    That’s totally adorable! There’s no way a 94 year old woman can put away that many beets, so you know she’s gotta be making them for others. So sweet.

    But look, if she didn’t cause troubles for her neighbors and if she paid her bills, then she wouldn’t be in this sorry mess she made for herself. We know her daughter is in touch with her since she told her mom she’s a hit on social media, yet can’t pay the $161 in back rent to keep her mother in her home?


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