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consumer issues |
Friday November 01, 2013 18:22 by Helen Prentice
In May 2013 TV Star Eddie Hobbs' Company, Brendan Investments, publicly backed Metro Property Group in Detroit following news reports of a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed in Federal Court against Metro.The statement, published on Brendan Investments website, claimed that Metro Property Group had been transparent with them and they had no cause for concern.
In May 2013 a muti-million dollar lawsuit was filed in Federal Court against Metro Property Group Detroit, along with others connected to it. Papers filed in Court at the time suggest a partnership between Eddie Hobbs' company, Brendan Investments and Metro Property Group. The Director of Brendan Investments, Hugh O'Neill, stated that there was no partnership and referred to Metro Property Group as "one of it's service providers". At the same time a statement was published on the Brendan Investment website supporting Metro Property Group and reassuring investors that there was no reason to be concerned about the integrity of Metro.
This reassurance could now be considered misplaced given that the former UK agent for Metro Property Group, USA Property Direct, who sold scores of the company's properties in 2011/2012 to investors all over the world, ceased trading following a deluge of complaints from former investors who allege that Metro Property Group has scammed them.
Metro's new UK partner and replacement for USA Property Direct, Axis Property Investment, ceased trading in August 2013. Various blogs on the web put this down to threats of litigation from investors who purchased US property through the company. The now defunct company is still featured on Metro Property's website, in a painful promotional video, encouraging investors to buy into this bankrupt city.
A third UK company who marketed Metro Property Group's homes in 2011, Experience International, is also alleged to be facing litigation from investors who believe they were the victims of fraud.
Quest Property Services, a real estate agent in Abu Dhabi, severed all ties to Metro Property Group in 2012 when the Managing Partner, Peter Samaha, became aware that the properties sold by Metro Property Group were not refurbished or tenanted, as claimed, and that leases provided to his clients by Sameer Beydoun, the CEO of Metro, were most likely forgeries.
In early October of this year an owner of a Metro Property Group home was informed that the property had been scheduled for demolition under the Dangerous Building Act. At the Council hearing the attorney representing the distressed owner explained that Metro Property Group had sold the home to her client in this dangerous condition, while claiming it was fully refurbished and tenanted. It was noted at the hearing by certain Council members and a City attorney that complaints about Metro Property Group were becoming commonplace.
A respected investigative journalist in Detroit, Steve Neavling, recently ran a story on Metro Property Group in which he quoted threats made to investors by the company's CEO Sameer Beydoun and the company's Legal Counsel, Tarek Baydoun. Tarek Baydoun, an open supporter of Hezbollah, intimidated investors who demanded answers from the company and threatened some with jail terms of 20 years in a US prison.
In July 2013 Metro Property Group filed a counterclaim against two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit in an attempt to stop them speaking about the case. It was noted at the hearing by the Plaintiff's attorney that there were a number of other cases due to be filed against Metro Property Group in the near future, all alleging the same fraud. The Plaintiff's attorney also presented evidence taken from Public Records which showed that Metro Property Group had not even been the owners of the properties featured in the lawsuit when they created the sales details and leases. Public Records also show properties being flipped on by Metro to investors, sometimes within 24 hours, making it impossible that they could have been tenanted or refurbished when the investors purchased them. In some instances the leases, which the Plaintiffs allege are forged, are dated months before the repossessed homes were even listed for sale by the foreclosing banks.
In July 2013 Eddie Hobbs was advising millionaires to invest in the devastation of Detroit. He stated that his company was investing heavily for clients in Metro Detroit. What is not clear is whether Mr. Hobbs' Brendan Investments is still using Metro property Group as it's "service provider".