Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lawsuit: Homeowners Were Tricked Into Signing Over Their Title, Equity In Co-Op Townhomes To Real Estate Operators, Leaving Them Homeless

In DeKalb County, Georgia, WXIA-TV Channel 11 reports:
  • Some residents of a DeKalb County town home co-op have filed a class action lawsuit alleging fraud and racketeering that has left them homeless.

    They claim an investment firm and the board of directors for Eastwyck Village Towne Houses deceived them into signing-over the homes, which were then turned into apartments.

    "This is an emotional, real life issue. Of someone coming to steal you. Just rob you," said Keva Scott, who lived in Eastwyck Village Towne Homes for 9 years until last November. "I purchased a place for me to be and it had potential in my mind because of the ownership aspect of it, but I was displaced.

    Scott, Duncan Hansford and Vivian Robinson-O'Neal have filed a lawsuit individually and on behalf of about 100 people who lived in the complex as shareholders in the town home co-op.

    They said they paid their mortgage regularly for 30 years.

    "I had them print out where I paid and it was always on time," said Robinson-O'Neal.

    "Every month, on time. Never late," said Scott of her mortgage payments.

    But they claim that, in October, the investment company, Saleem and Company, LLC and the Eastwyck Village Town Houses Board of Directors told them the mortgage and taxes for the co-op had not been paid for two years and they faced foreclosure.

    "They told people, if you don't sign this document, you're going to lose your home, either way, why not give it to us," said Scott.

    The women said many people signed thinking everything would be okay but then learned they no longer had equity in the property.

    "They said, you get nothing. You're renters. You're basically renters," said Scott.

    The townhouses are now called The Legacy at Eastwyck apartments.

    The class action complaint alleges racketeering and fraud.

    "The fraud they committed has taken a significant amount of property (and) has divested people of their ownership interest in a co-op," said Jeffrey Sakas, attorney for the plaintiffs.

    "They neglected the people that were there in order to rehab the spaces that were available, so they can rent to other people," said Sakas. "The fraud they committed has taken a significant amount of property… the value of 56 acres of prime real estate on Candler road next to I-20 is a very nice amount of money."

    An email was also sent to the company requesting a response.

    A drive through the property shows many of apartments appear occupied and work is taking place on upkeep.

    In November, a DeKalb County judge will hear arguments on this case and decide whether this class action lawsuit will be allowed to go forward.