Robbed by the Government

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While we are watching the television ads and listening to the different political candidates jockey for votes, the homeless or houseless situation in New York City continues to rise because of the low interest in affordable housing – and the school system is still failing our children, but that’s another story.

Over three decades ago under former Mayor Ed Koch – real estate value in NYC was expected to boom.  Koch went on television talking about empty lots being filled with opportunity. Today that opportunity is in full effect with the assistance of “City Tax Liens.â€? Another form of corruption during the Koch era was the Parking Violations Scam, which seems to continue today with the seizure of one’s property. I cannot believe how corrupted the housing problem is NYC. I have been researching how different City agencies position themselves in the snatching of homes and land grab. 

The housing problem in NYC has gotten to the boiling point – many are in fear of losing their home, condo, or rent-controlled apartment due to this new eviction called – ‘gentrification.’ Having made countless visits to the “Housing Courts,� in different boroughs, in my opinion, these courts are nothing more than lawless dens. However, in one Queens County courtroom a judge did appear to have a heart and made an effort to explain the process to tenants who often appear in these ‘courts’ without legal counsel.

Last July I wrote an article, ‘Does NYC abet private property theft with bogus liens?’ I can now answer that question with a big fat ‘Yes.’ NYC has agents with titles, i.e., Commissioners, Lawyers, Officers, Clerks, etc. It appears some of these agents have involved themselves in the thievery of real property in many NYC neighborhoods. A lot of money must be paid under the table for this task to succeed. The real dinosaurs in most of these neighborhoods are being uprooted as gentrification takes its toll. A lifetime of memories lost and the displacement continues as many community members are being faked out, kicked out or priced out of their neighborhood.   

It’s clear, the movers and the shakers in this town had their eyes on communities like Harlem, downtown Brooklyn and the lower west side just to name a few – for a very long time. The last time I checked, claiming stolen goods was a crime. There are many realtors appearing with different names and corporations, under the protection of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to steal real property. And in many cases, large and small law firms are on the attack with these realtors and there don’t seem to be any real protection net in place for these Common Peoples. 

This scandal has struck right at my home. A realtor working with NYC, calling itself ‘J.E. Roberts,’ approached a member of my family for the purchase of a brownstone in Harlem on West 129th Street. J.E. Roberts’ money offer was turned down because the property was not for sale. After that exchange, different NYC agencies, i.e., Department of Buildings (DOB), Environmental Control Board (ECB), Department of Sanitation (DOS), Department of Health, (DOH), and Department of Water (DOW), bombarded the structure with all types of violations and fines creating what is known as a “New York City Tax Lien (NYCTL).â€?  Is this stuff really legal?

To prevent any adverse action from the NYC Department of Finance (DOF), the family paid the alleged City Tax Lien to the DOF. The payment was not recorded on the DOF record as being paid – yet there’s evidence of the check being cashed by the DOF. However, prior to being billed for the alleged tax, a DOB agent wrote a letter stating ‘they meant to bill 27 West 129th Street, not 127 West 129th Street’ and this mistake was never corrected.

In 1997, J.E. Roberts, a realtor operating out of Connecticut through their attorneys Boland & Tighe, entered a “Tax Lienâ€? foreclosure on the property. The lawyers changed the name of their firm to Boland & Moskowiz LLP, moved their office to White Plains, New York and then to Connecticut. Recently these lawyers have abandoned their case in State Supreme Court after fraud was raised. 

The private real property known as, Block 1914 and lot 21, in section 7 located in Manhattan County listed as 127 West 129th Street was fraudulently foreclosed on by these attorneys in 1997 – because of the NYC agencies created fines and mistakes. Fraud can be seen alive and well in this case and in NYC when property can be stolen so easily. 

These alleged ‘legal’ documents were filed in State Supreme Court before Judge Herman Cahn, in part 49, at 60 Centre Street and the case was removed off of the courts calendar. In 2003, the DOF record shows a name being used, the same as my aunt’s, having a Florida address and a forged “Notarized,â€? signature – transferring the deed for 127 West 129th Street over to Boo Boo Realty Corporation. There are several problems here. My aunt passed away in 1993 and never lived in Florida. This makes the quick-claim-deed fraud at best and criminal on its face. And there are documents, which shows NYC agents having interest in the property. 

However, the case is still pending before Judge Cahn and the fraud has yet to be ruled on. Further checks of the court’s records show several foreclosure hearings being held in this same court with only a dummy corporation (NYCTL) appearing as the plaintiff, ‘ex parte,’ which is clearly very questionable.

When the behind scene players steal real property – then try to pay a small sum of money for their thievery calling it a “foreclosure surplus,â€? this is fraud.  It’s criminal. It’s plain crazy. I can’t rob a bank in the morning – get caught with the money in the afternoon and then try to pay the bank back a small sum in the evening. The money wasn’t mine in the first place. So, I would be looking at nothing but a jail cell – and the same should happen to the different players in this case and a lot of other cases like this one.

This is modern day thievery, “white-collar crime,� in its highest form that has been running amuck in NYC since former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s time. It is very interesting how someone can steal a building, put legal claims on it in the County Clerk’s office, get the stamp of approval in a ‘Court of Law,’ and after being caught red handed with the dirty deeds – try to pay the victim for their crime. Is this how “Justice,� was meant to be dispensed in the court system?

This is not an isolated case by far. There are hundreds stories like this here in NYC and across this country. A Brooklyn homeowner, Sue Simmonds, lives in her Queen Ann mansion which the City is trying to steal. I have been helping Ms. Simmonds’ efforts to expose tenants, lots of NYC’s agents, lawyers and court personnel who are involved in this, ‘land grab.’ 

Joann Johnson, a businesswoman, is another victim; she lost several buildings in Harlem—stolen from her. She eventually won a judgment; she has been trying to collect for years. Mrs. Johnson said court documents have been tampered with and court personnel have misplaced records, and are now labeling them as, “NIF,� meaning not in file. (I will bring a full account of these women’s stories and more on the housing situation in NYC and the different law firms who coldly put real Peoples out of their homes and in the street in upcoming columns.)

The New York State Attorney General’s (AG) office headed by Eliot Spitzer, was given these stolen real property complaints, which involves the department of finance. Somehow his office has referred these complaints to different NYC agencies, including the Public Advocate’s office, to be investigated. Now we know from past corruption, NYC cannot investigate itself. A spokesperson from the AG’s office stated, “This office does not have any jurisdiction over the City’s Department of Finance and that’s why we sent the complaint to them that they may review it.�

This is really ludicrous – I can’t believe it. Does Mr. Spitzer really want to become governor while turning away stolen real property complaints? These are criminal complaints the police stations refuse to take and now the AG’s office is ducking them with that same, “not in my jurisdiction,â€? line. The AG’s office had no problem going after Black organizations when fraud was alleged and closed them down. What is the problem here? 

If you have any comments, or if you’ve also been made homeless through theft, or if you’re the victim of any other corruption, write to: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423 or email: Also tune into Bill Murawski, “Does your vote count,â€? parts 1 & 2 on the cable access television show called DeWitt Clinton Express. Televised every Sunday on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Time Warner Channel 34 at 7:30 P.M. and on MNN, RCN Cable Channel 107. The show is also simulcast at on Channel 34. For more reports please click on “subscribeâ€? on our home page or call (212) 481-7745 to order the newsstand edition of the Black Star News, the world’s favorite Pan-African news weekly. “Speaking Truth To Empower.â€?


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