News & Insights

Sher Tremonte Fights for Bed-Stuy Homeowner

As part of the firm’s ongoing efforts to give back to the community through pro bono work, Sher Tremonte recently took on the case of Dairus Griffiths, a 65-year-old resident of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn who is fighting to regain title to the historic brownstone where he and his family have lived for 30 years. In 2014, Mr. Griffiths fell victim to a predatory scheme that led to the sale of his home for less than half its market value. Mr. Griffiths had been ensnared in litigation with the buyer for several years and was on the brink of eviction in June 2019, when Sher Tremonte stepped in.

In July 2019, partner Theresa Trzaskoma, counsel Justin Gunnell, and associate Tasha Branford secured a temporary restraining order to prevent the buyer from taking any further action to evict Mr. Griffiths and his family. In October 2019, the firm filed affirmative claims against the buyer on Mr. Griffiths’s behalf pursuant to the Home Equity Theft Prevention Act (“HETPA”), a New York State law designed to protect vulnerable homeowners who are either in default on their mortgage payments or whose property is subject to foreclosure. HETPA was enacted in 2006 in response to the growing problem of “fraud, deception, and unfair dealing by home equity purchasers.” Such predatory transactions have become a priority for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office and, most recently, Governor Cuomo’s office, which this week called on the state’s Department of Financial Services to investigate the issue. Through his lawsuit against the buyer, Mr. Griffiths seeks to rescind the transaction and obtain a damages award.

Follow the links below to read more about Mr. Griffiths’s case and similar cases in Brooklyn.

“Why Black Homeowners in Brooklyn Are Being Victimized by Fraud”, New York Times

“Brooklyn couple sue men they say swindled them out of their home”, NY Daily News

“Brooklyn borough president slams deal that could cost Bed-Stuy family their home, demands DA investigate”, NY Daily News

“Bed-Stuy family cries foul over deal that could leave them homeless”, NY Daily News