The (Very) Earthly Pursuits of Rev. Calvin O. Butts III

Meet the reverend of real estate

Two identical parcels directly adjacent to his, at 121 and 123 West 138th Street, were sold for a lot more money—$800,000 and $980,000, respectively. And ADC allegedly knew that, too. Both adjoining lots had been sold four months before he signed away his ownership, Green's complaint says.

Green's lawyer, Simcha Schonfeld, noted in his complaint against ADC and Wachovia that not only had ADC outmaneuvered Green, it borrowed $17 million from the bank without actually being the owner of the property. "ADC engaged in procedurally unconscionable practices by misrepresenting the value of the property, failing to disclose the value of the property," Schonfeld wrote. "The disparity is overwhelming and unconscionable. The conduct was fraudulent, willful, malicious, and oppressive beyond the bounds of common decency."

In a response, ADC's Simpson—who must be getting used to defending against fraud charges—denied the allegations. "There is a case pending, and I would need permission from my client to comment further," Simpson said. Apparently that permission is not forthcoming.

The Abyssinian Baptist Church, spiritual home of Rev. Calvin O. Butts III. Butts is the founder of Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC), the church’s nonprofit development arm.
Wikipedia
The Abyssinian Baptist Church, spiritual home of Rev. Calvin O. Butts III. Butts is the founder of Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC), the church’s nonprofit development arm.
Reverend Butts, leader of the church, also runs the ADC.
Wikipedia
Reverend Butts, leader of the church, also runs the ADC.

grayman@villagevoice.com

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