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Detroit residents: Developer is trying to force us out of homes he doesn't own

via city of Detroit

A group of Detroit residents says a developer is trying to throw them out of homes he doesn’t even own.

Developer Peter Barclae built the Gratiot McDougall Homes in 2006 with the help of federal grant money.

The homes were built specifically for Detroit participants in the federal HOME Investment Partnerships program, run by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That program aimed to help low- and moderate-income families become homeowners, and stabilize a neighborhood on Detroit’s east side.

But residents say that promise was never fulfilled. Instead, Barclae insisted the residents were only renters—and tried several times to evict them.

Now, he’s trying to sell the homes.

Antoinette Talley says that after repeatedly being taken to court, she and fellow Gratiot McDougall residents decided to band together and fight to prove the homes are rightfully theirs.

They’re suing the non-profit Gratiot McDougall United Community Development Corporation.

Talley and other residents also took their protests to the Pontiac offices of Midas Development Corporation this week.

Barclae had apparently enlisted the Singapore-based company to market the homes on their website for real estate investors.

But Midas employees told residents the company had no knowledge of their situation when it agreed to do that.  They said Midas will probably also sue to recover down payments on homes it can’t actually purchase.

Residents say their court fight has revealed that no one seems to know who actually holds title on the properties, which are being held in receivership while the court tries to sort it out.

State records list Barclae as the primary agent and owner of Barclae Homes, a Troy-based building contractor.

He’s also the President of Urban Construction, Inc. The company’s website lists the Gratiot McDougall project as an example of its “well established track record with many local municipalities as well as some of the most respected nonprofit housing organizations.”

Barclae could not be reached for comment at his office on Tuesday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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