Curtis’s attorney is accusing the Detroit Land Bank Authority of “misrepresenting material facts” in the latest round of a legal dispute over the property. Royal Oak attorney Jim Rasor made the allegations in a Friday legal filing in Wayne County Circuit Court. Rasor is asking the court to declare Curtis the owner. A hearing is set for Monday.
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The filing came after Curtis met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to discuss her war with the land bank. Curtis claims she spent $60,000 rehabbing the property before learning that the land bank actually held the title. She then sued, claiming she was taken advantage of.
Curtis told the Detroit News in a text message on Friday, “And trust, we’re not asking for anything to be given to us for free, trust there’s people emailing us every day to give us free houses and cities wanting us to work with them — just want what’s right.”
The land bank won two previous court cases in the matter, and is asking for this latest Curtis suit to be dismissed
EARLIER: HGTV’s Nicole Curtis, the star of the network’s Rehab Addict Rescue, filed a lawsuit today against the Detroit Land Bank. Curtis claimed the agency took advantage of her by taking the deed to a house she’d sunk $60,000 into rehabbing.
Curtis claims she’s entitled to ownership of the property, or else should be compensated. She claimed she believed she owned the property and committed a substantial investment into its rehab. Curtis’s company, Detroit Renovations LLC, purchased a 1921 foursquare at 451 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit from a private owner for $17,000 in 2017.
She learned the following year that the Detroit Land Bank Authority actually held the property title. Negotiations to resolve the dispute broke down, and last August, a court judgment was entered in the Land Bank’s favor.
The Land Bank Authority takes control of properties that are in disrepair and is charged with maintaining, selling, or demolishing them. But the controversial agency has been accused of hoarding properties for developers.
The lawsuit filed today claims Curtis kept the house maintained insured, and paid-off back taxes on it. She intended to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” fixing it up.
Her work on the home has increased the property’s value, meaning the land bank will “directly benefit from years of labor, expertise, and money” Curtis put into the house.
Things reached a head when the Detroit Land Bank put the house on the market Feb. 26 for $40,000.
Land Bank Executive Director Saskia Thompson told the Detroit News that the authority disagrees with Curtis’s claims that the property was taken from her.
“She never owned the house. If she has any legal cause of action, it’s not against us,” Thompson told The News on Monday. “We’re not the ones that took money from her for that property. Someone else did when they no longer owned it.”
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