WSVN — She is simply special. That’s the best way to describe a South Florida woman who is 100-years-old. That’s the great news. The bad news: She is being told the county may throw her out of her house. Why? It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
I had never been lucky enough to talk to a 100-year-old person and then I met Ruby Parrott/
Ruby Parrott: “I am 100 and a few months old.”
Ruby was born in November 1914 and, of course, my first question is the obvious one…
Patrick Fraser: “What to do to live to be 100?
Ruby Parrott: “Yeah, live right and treat everybody right.”
Patrick Fraser: “No special foods? Nothing you avoid?
Ruby Parrott: “No, no. I eat everything you put before me.”
Ruby enjoys watching TV in the home she bought in 1962. And she still likes to get out to an obvious place and a surprising one.
Ruby Parrott: “I go to church every Sunday and sometimes I go out to parties.
Patrick Fraser: “You do? You party?”
Ruby Parrott: “Yeah, I go to Jai-Alai.”
Patrick Fraser: “You like Jai-Alai?”
Ruby Parrott: “Yea I do. I like the Miami Jai-Alai.”
When you are 100 you have seen a lot. But Ruby had never gotten a letter like this one from Miami-Dade County.
Ruby Parrot: “I don’t know what I did wrong.”
The letter was from the county’s credit and collection section regarding a fine for some trash in her yard in 1994.
Ruby Parrott: “I don’t remember that.”
Ruby was 79 back then. When she didn’t pay the fine a lien was placed on her property. The interest and penalties started growing and today Ruby had to pay Miami-Dade County $2,389.
Patrick Fraser: “You got that money in a cookie jar?”
Ruby Parrott: “No, I ain’t got nothing in a cookie jar.”
Ruby lives on about $700 a month. So one of her daughters called the county collection section and she says they told her if Ruby didn’t pay the $2,389. The county would foreclose on her property. No-one, especially a 100-year-old wants to hear that.
Ruby Parrott: “Yeah, that really would scare me — to live here all this long time and they throw me out.”
Ruby feels blessed to have made it to 100-years-old.
Ruby Parrott: “Every time I live a year or a month, I thank God for it.”
She says she doesn’t ask for much, but she would like to put in a request to the people at Miami-Dade County.
Ruby Parrott: “I would like for them to leave me alone. Let me live in peace. After all this long time, let me live in peace for the balance of my life.”
Well Howard the 100-year-old Ruby has lived in her home for 53 years. Can the county try to collect a 21-year-old fine and if Ruby doesn’t pay it, throw her out?
Howard Finkelstein: “Those numbers are amazing, Patrick. First, the good news: the county can’t foreclose because Ruby has a Homestead Exemption, which blocks a government agency from foreclosing on a lien. You also can’t collect after 20 years. The fine is 21-years-old but the lien was recorded 19-years ago, so technically they have one year to collect.”
I called Miami-Dade County’s waste management department. They sent me the citation from 1994 and a receipt signed by Ruby that she didn’t remember getting. More importantly, the county worked with us. They offered to wipe out the $2,398 fine if Ruby paid the original $100 ticket and a $93 fee to release the lien. Ruby’s daughter paid it. Everything is cleared up.
Ruby Parrott: “Thank you for your help.”
Patrick Fraser: “Glad to do it.”
It’s great to be able to meet and help a 100-year-old person and we should all take Ruby’s advice: Enjoy each day.
Ruby Parrot: “I am just going to go on and let time take its place.”
Patrick Fraser: “But you got a lot of time, I hope.”
Ruby Parrot: “I hope, too.”
One-hundred years old. I’d like to make it that far. Now if you have a lien on your property, don’t ignore it. Not every agency will be as nice as Miami-Dade was to the 100-year-old Ruby. Plus, if you don’t have a Homestead Exemption, the county could foreclose on your property.
And why did the county wait so long to try to collect? I tried to get the answer, but there is no clear answer as to why the collection letter went out to her.
Got an old problem you want to foreclose on? Need someone to lean on? We aren’t a century-old treasure like Ruby, but we do move like a couple of spring chicks — or so we tell ourselves.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser 7News.