Monday, November 14, 2016

City Scores Injunctions Against Notorious Milwaukee Landlord That Temporarily Wrestle Away Control Of His Real Estate Portfolio & Block Him From Buying More Rental Homes While Lawsuit Seeking $1.25 Million In Unpaid Property Taxes, Damages Proceeds

In Miwaukee, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:
  • The City of Milwaukee [] won two motions in its recently filed civil suit against one of the city's most notorious landlords that temporarily block him from acquiring more real estate and place his properties under receivership.

    The city alleges the landlord, Mohammad Choudry, created a scheme to defraud city taxpayers by paying cash for distressed properties in the city, then not maintaining the properties and not paying the property taxes or municipal court fines, all while collecting rent from tenants.

    The city also claims Choudry used straw buyers, intentionally misspelled the names of people and businesses on deeds, and opened multiple limited liability companies in attempts to conceal his role in the purchases of dozens of properties.

    Choudry, 56, was one of several landlords profiled in April in an ongoing Journal Sentinel investigation about how some inner-city landlords game the system in order to avoid paying fines and property taxes while continuing to buy new properties at weekly sheriff's sales.

    The city is seeking a total of $1.25 million in its racketeering suit against Choudry — more than $400,000 in delinquent property taxes and $850,000 in damages.

    The ruling [...] temporarily prohibits Choudry from purchasing or otherwise obtaining any more real estate in Milwaukee County. The judge also temporarily placed properties owned or managed by Choudry under court-appointed receivership, meaning a third party will collect rent from tenants at the properties, maintain and repair the properties and pay city taxes and fines to the degree possible with the rent collected.

    Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker told the judge the injunctions were necessary because Choudry is "either struggling to manage his properties or is engaging in criminal activity." He added that despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars Choudry owed the city in delinquent property taxes and municipal court fines, the landlord has paid cash to acquire a dozen properties so far in 2016 alone.

    Choudry appeared at the hearing without an attorney, and when called to testify, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to the majority of questions from the city attorney.

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