Daniel Murray lost the home he grew up in to the Land Bank’s demolition last July. Although he believed he had paid off the delinquent property tax balance on the property in 2012, the property had already been
foreclosed and transferred to Wayne County. However the City Treasurer’s office took subsequent checks without informing him of the foreclosure.
Murray’s parents purchased the home at 15745 Quincy in 1961, when he was eight. He came back to Detroit in the ‘90s to help his mother, who has since passed away. On April 14, 2014, unbeknownst to Murray, title to his home was transferred to the Detroit Land Bank and the City of Detroit, without posting a notice on the home as required by law, found his home to be a “dangerous building.”
While 15745 Quincy was his home, he would occasionally spend weeks watching his grandchildren in Southfield. However he made sure the property was cared, paying neighbors to pick up his mail, mow his lawn, take out his trash, and keep an eye on the property. Last April a neighbor witnessed two men break into his home. When approached they told him that Murray’s home was on the city’s demolition list, and they were tasked with emptying the home. They removed his front door, took his belongings and left before Murray arrived.
Nailing the door back with help from his neighbor, he called various elected officials and finally received a phone call from Craig Fahle, Director of Public Affairs for the Detroit Land Bank. Fahle told Murray that that the Detroit Land Bank held title to his home, and that Debbie Stabenow’s office had contacted it to alert them that Murray was living there. This was the first time Murray learned that the Detroit Land Bank had any relationship to his home. Fahle acknowledged that the Land Bank sent the men because it had listed the property as abandoned and scheduled it for demolition.
When Murray explained that he lived in the home, Fahle reassured Murray that the Detroit Land Bank would not demolish his property. Yet at the end of May a dumpster was placed next to his home, signifying that an eviction might occur. He called the Land Bank and was assured there would be no eviction before an inspection of the property. But early the following Monday, while he was watching his grandchildren in Southfield, an eviction team arrived, broke in, and threw his possessions into the dumpster. By the time Murray was able to get home four days later, the dumpster – with all of his belongings –had been removed from the premises, and the home heavily damaged, unlivable to him or anyone else.
When he reached Fahle, Daniel Murray was told that the Land Bank had the right to evict him because it held title to the property, and that he could not help him any further. In July his home was demolished.
Daniel Murray needs our help. The Detroit Land Bank needs to answer for its disregard for Murray and the destruction of his home.