Rudd's Trailer Park, just off Jefferson Davis Highway, is among the largest of Richmond's nine mobile home communities. After the city enforced a code and condemned the trailers, its residents now face eviction. (Photo by Tina Griego)
A South Side trailer park at the center of a federal housing discrimination lawsuit lodged against the city is now on the auction block.
Rudd’s Trailer Park, located off of Jefferson Davis Highway, is up for auction on March 2nd, according to an online listing. Ronnie Soffee, the trailer park’s co-owner and manager, said he placed the listing last month. Bidding for the 9.2-acre property will start at $160,000. It’s assessed at $2.46 million, city records show.
The 117-pad mobile-home park currently has about 50 trailers, according to the listing. It once held about 120, most of which were decades old.
“Many people have moved out, one or two at a time, over the last 18 months,” Soffee said. “It’s just reached a point where we can’t pay the bills anymore.”
In August 2015, 32 current and former tenants from Rudd’s and Mobile Towne on Midlothian Turnpike filed a federal lawsuit against the city claiming its "comprehensive" code enforcement practices, which including condemnation of some homes, violated the civil rights of park residents, most of whom are Latino. The city has denied any such violation, saying it has only acted out of health-and-safety concerns for residents.
Phil Storey, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center of Richmond’s immigrant advocacy program, is representing the residents, and says a sale of the property would not affect the lawsuit. A trial is set for June.
State law requires that a property owner of a mobile home park who wants to close or change its use must give tenants 180 days notice.
“[The auction] shouldn’t mean anything immediate for the residents, except for hopefully that it will be purchased by somebody who has a little more money to invest in maintaining the park,” Storey said.