Tagged: John Reiff

Another Reason to Close the Tax Sale Loophole: 1928 Ramsay Street

Property Address: 1928 Ramsay Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner: Mondrea D Jacobs, 3626 Pear Tree Court, Apt. 42, Silver Spring, MD 20906

Property tax lien was purchased by ETS Maryland, who then filed for foreclosure in 2010. Deed/ownership information was never changed, due to the ability of tax lien purchasers to walk away from their obligation to maintain or refurbish the property.

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator: Catherine E Pugh

State Delegates: Frank M. Conaway, Antonio L. Hayes. Barbara A. Robinson

1928 Ramsay Street
1928 Ramsay Street

 

 

Collapsed Vacant Kills Man in Parked Car

WBAL and other news outlets are reporting that a vacant home collapsed on top of a parked car earlier today in the 900 block of N Payson Street. The man who was in the car was died after being pulled out, according to WBAL.

The house, 900 N Payson Street, is listed as being owned by a Eugene D. Boykins of the same address. However, Mr. Boykins died in 1999. Two shell companies used by disbarred attorneys John Reiff, Anthony DeLaurentis, and John Reid purchased the tax lien on the property, and a judgement foreclosing right of redemption was issued in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on February 6, 2013.

Despite being disbarred for illegally rigging bids at municipal property auctions, the attorneys are still able to purchase property through the city’s Vacants to Value, and through city tax sales.

900 N Payson Street, before it collapsed
900 N Payson Street, before it collapsed
900 N Payson Street, side view
900 N Payson Street, side view

Of course the home could have been sold since the attorneys took possession, but when deeds are not properly recorded, not only do the state and city lose the recording fees and transfer taxes, owners of blighted property are able to remain in the shadows and therefore escape any accountability when things go wrong with their properties.

Update: In case you don’t read the comments under each blog post, John Reiff and Anthony Delaurentis were both reinstated to the Maryland Bar by the Court of Appeals on March 25 of this year.

2226 Presstman Street

Yet another tax sale foreclosure that has not been properly recorded by the foreclosing party.

Property Address: 2226 Presstman Street, Baltimore, MD 21216

Property Owner (via foreclosure): 2009 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224

Registered Agent for 2009 DRR-ETS, LLC: Anthony J Delaurentis, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 7, Nick Mosby

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

State Delegates:  Barbara Robinson, Frank Conaway, Jr., Antonio Hayes

2226 Presstman Street
2226 Presstman Street

 

 

334 S Calhoun Street

More blight owned by Delaurentis, Reiff and Reid.

Property Address:  334 S Calhoun Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  2008 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21224

Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC:  Anthony J Delaurentis, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator (District 40): Catherine E. Pugh

State Delegates (District 40): Frank M. Conaway, Antonio L. Hayes. Barbara A. Robinson

334 S Calhoun Street
334 S Calhoun Street

BCFD Was Here: 1523 Hazel Street

Property Address: 1523 Hazel Street, Baltimore, MD 21226

Property Owner: ETS Maryland, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, #300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing)

ETS Maryland is one of the tax-sale foreclosure bidders that was controlled by former attorneys Anthony DeLaurentis, John Reiff, and John Reid before they were caught bid-rigging at municipal auctions and disbarred as a result. We’ve detailed their property purchases and noncompliance with the law several times. An order foreclosing the right of redemption on this property was issued in 2011 (Circuit Court case 24C10001905). In the four years since, nothing has been done to it, and no permits are on file. The city fire department has declared the house too unsafe for firefighters to enter, and have placed a red X placard on the front.

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

1523 Hazel Street
1523 Hazel Street

 

Interesting Items from the 2015 Baltimore Tax Sale List

Every year the city auctions off property (both lots and structures) when the property owner fails to pay municipal fees, like water bills and property taxes. Many of these parcels are owned by people who have no idea what to do, in order to save their homes. There is help available, for those who need it.

However, it’s always interesting to see how many investor-owned properties, many of which are blighted vacants, end up on the tax sale list. The 2015 list contains a total of 28,857 properties. The liens range from a low of $250 to a high of $1,814,710. Of these properties, 3,743 are owned by LLCs, many of them forfeited (The most notable LLC name has to be Bump Bump Wump of Gump, LLC. Catchy…but forfeited, and they owe $16,128 on a house on Springdale Avenue. Another chunk of properties are owned by corporations, trusts, and other entities — add those to the LLCs and it makes up about a quarter to one third of the list overall.

The usual suspects are on the list, too:  Holabird Investments, CE Realty (27 properties), Stanley Rochkind through his various shell companies (65 properties with liens on them), John Reiff, Anthony Delaurentis and John Reid — under their various shell companies, they have over 70 properties listed. Various Skyline entities own 176 properties on the list, and Rex Frost has a mere six. The Mayor and City Council are on the hook for 18 properties, one of which has a lien on it for over $104,000 — 2103 Hollins Street, which is a blighted vacant probably not worth much more than $5000.

Seeing all of these properties on the list gives me hope that perhaps they’ll be purchased by someone who will fix them up and do good things with them. I think two thirds of my neighborhood is on the list — at least half. Just one more piece of the fallout from the mortgage bust, and what happens when predatory buyers swoop in and purchase properties with the hopes of getting rich quick.

Here’s the full list, for those who might be interested in becoming responsible property owners. Good luck, and best of luck to those who are trying to save their homes — make sure you avail yourself of the workshops offering legal help — the first one is this coming Saturday!

City of Chicago Posts Data on Problem Property Owners. Hey, So Do We!

Fantastic news, if you’re a tenant in Chicago — you now have the ability to see where the problem owners are, so you can avoid them. It’s like having your own Slumlordwatch, only this is sanctioned and recognized by the city.

What’s really interesting about Chicago’s ordinance is that it somewhat echoes one of the rules Vacants to Value started with — owners who were not in compliance with existing properties would be unable to purchase more, through the city, until their other properties were brought to code. From Chicago’s website:

Building owners who appear on the list will not be able to obtain business licenses, receive zoning changes, acquire city land or receive financial assistance like Tax Increment Financing (TIF), or obtain building permits not related to addressing their violations.

Unfortunately, Baltimore has all but disregarded its own rules, allowing people who are not in compliance to purchase more homes through their V2V auctions. For example, John Reiff. He’s been able to purchase 10 homes under his own name, and four under his shell company “Land Research Associates” since 2010. He also purchases homes at city tax sales, despite being disbarred for bid-rigging at other municipal auctions, and the deeds aren’t being recorded, shielding him and others who do the same from accountability. A sampling of Reiff’s tax sale purchases:

  • 1642 Lochwood Road, right of redemption foreclosed in 2012, yet the home is still receiving the homestead tax credit, and ownership information has not been updated.
  • 3037 Walbrook Avenue, purchased with another Reiff-affiliated shell company, ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1019 Darley Avenue, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1677 Darley Avenue, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2011, ownership information is not updated.
  • 505 S Bentalou Street, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2011, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1805 E Federal Street, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.

What’s really shocking is that while ETS Maryland was purchasing city-owned properties, the city was filing receivership cases on ETS — 25 total open receivership cases, in fact, going back to 2008.

Then we come to Stanley Rochkind — a landlord who has been the defendant in hundreds of lead paint lawsuits and other housing violations, dating back to at least the 1980s. Not to mention, he owns dozens of blighted dilapidated homes under various business trusts, LLCs, and other shell companies. I was able to find 150 of them, though I believe there are many more.

Citizens need to be aware of who they’re doing business with — a home, even for a renter, is an investment. For most people, it’s their single-largest monthly payment. Many kudos to the City of Chicago for recognizing that taxpayers need to have all the tools possible to make good choices — and we’ll keep writing about Baltimore’s bad landlords until we’ve written about all of them.  Because for every John Reiff and Stanley Rochkind out there who don’t play by the rules, there are dozens of people who want to be responsible property owners, and we need to pave the way for them — a good first step would be putting the bad ones out of business.

 

 

1934 W Fairmount Avenue

Property Address:  1934 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  2008 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224

Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC: Anthony J Delaurentis, Delaurentis, Reiff and Reid, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21224

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

1934 W Fairmount Avenue
1934 W Fairmount Avenue

 

More Bad Deed Transfer Data: 1904 W Fairmount Avenue

Property Address:  1904 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  ETS Maryland, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue #300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (Charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing)

This is another property ETS Maryland, LLC foreclosed on and was granted ownership of the property in 2010 — yet the ownership information has never changed.  We detailed the issue of these owners not transferring deeds after foreclosure in this post.

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

1904 W Fairmount Avenue -- note the red x placed by BCFD to indicate the home is not safe to enter.
1904 W Fairmount Avenue — note the red x placed by BCFD to indicate the home is not safe to enter.

 

A Block of Blight on N Payson Street

Property Address:  13, 15, 19, 21, and 23 N Payson Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner (13):  Yet another instance where ETS Maryland, LLC (a forfeited company not in good standing) did not transfer the deed after being awarded the property in a tax sale foreclosure. See linked post for info on the company.

Property Owner (15): Maggie and Floyd Doles, same address

Property Owner (19):  Add Home Solutions, LLC, 663 San Gabriel Road, Lusby, MD 20657

Registered Agent for Add Home Solutions, LLC:  CSC-Lawyers Incorporating Service, 7 St. Paul Street, #1600, Baltimore, MD 21202 (Company charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing.)

Property Owner (21):  See ownership information for 13 Payson Street, above.  Again, the owner, ETS-Maryland LLC did not file a deed transfer after gaining ownership of the property, as required by law.

Property Owner (23):  Eric C. Partman, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

15 and 13 N Payson Street
15 and 13 N Payson Street
23, 21, and 19 N Payson Street
23, 21, and 19 N Payson Street