Bed-Stuy man claims he was forced into signing housing contract

Posted: Updated:
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT -

A Bedford-Stuyvesant family is on the verge of being homeless after they say they fell victim to what Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling a housing theft crisis.

For more than 30 years, Dairus Griffiths has owned his home at 650 Halsey St., but that may soon change.

Fearing he'd fallen too far behind on his mortgage payments, the 65-year-old claims he was coerced, without legal aid, into signing a contract with a representative from August West Development in 2014.

Griffiths told News 12 he signed it on the hood of a car, while under the influence of alcohol. He says that contract was for less than half of what his family believes the property is valued at, between $1.2 and $1.5 million.

The family also claims the company in question paid attorney Raj Maddiwar to represent them in court without their knowledge, leading to a ruling which ultimately gave control of the house's deed to the property group.

Borough President Adams says he spoke to the Brooklyn district attorney about the issue. He says the DA is making Griffiths' situation a top priority. As of now, the family could be homeless in two weeks, but Adams says the DA is trying to stop that from happening.

A spokesperson for the DA says he cannot comment on non-investigations.

News 12 did not hear back from August West Development's legal counsel for comment.

 

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