Paramount's costly fallout
Would-be homebuyers caught in crossfire of crooked dealings
Published: November 21, 2012
The difference, they say, is that if the board had done due diligence before making the multimillion-dollar loan, the problem would never have occurred in the first place.
Moreover, homebuyers such as Steve Bynum and Kim Pierce worry that the thousands of dollars they have put into upgrading the home they thought they were buying on Detroit's west side will be lost.
As Bynum and Pierce, who are married, told us back in July, they had agreed to purchase a home on Westwood Street on a land contract for $35,000 in January. They put $560 down and agreed to make payments of $400 a month — for a property that they say Paramount purchased for $1 and then left unsecured, allowing it to be stripped of everything of value. To make the place livable, the couple says they put an estimated $8,000 to $9,000 into fixing the place up. Pierce said she borrowed that money from her 401(k) account.
Bynum, who is disabled, has also been keeping tabs on another Paramount home across the street, boarding it up to fend off strippers and keeping the grass cut. Day says that he thinks most of the homes acquired by Paramount have been left open, bringing down the value of neighboring homes.
Day also claims that, after a receiver was appointed, some of the people attempting to purchase the Paramount homes were notified that they were in danger of being evicted.
"We're on edge. We don't know what's going on," one of the homebuyers who showed up at the pension board meeting last week told News Hits.
"They are treating us like welfare recipients," another told us.
"We are fighting this every day," says Pierce, who also came to confront the pension board.
She says that she's being contacted by others who are just now learning that they are caught up in the same mess.
It is the board's position, however, that issues involving burned homebuyers are now entirely in the hands of the receiver, and that those will have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
For their part, the buyers keep trying to draw attention to their predicament. That's why they showed up en masse at the pension board meeting.
They have organized, says Day. And their numbers are growing.
By banding together, and working to draw attention to their plight, they are hoping that a fair settlement that allows them to stay in their homes will be achieved.
Right now, though, they are left wondering who in authority is ultimately looking out for their interests.
As one of them told us last week:
"We're the ones getting caught in the crossfire of all this."
News Hits is written by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com.
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