Man sues Detroit in alleged ambush-style home eviction

DETROIT (AP) — A man has sued the city of Detroit after his lifelong home on the west side was seized and demolished by the city’s Land Bank Authority.

Daniel Murray, 64, filed the lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court naming the authority and Rickman Enterprise Group, the demolition contractor, the Detroit Free Press reported. Murray is seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

The lawsuit says Murray had been living at his childhood house even after his parents’ deaths and wasn’t aware the authority acquired the house in 2014 due to non-payment of taxes. He was evicted in April 2016 despite informing the authority that he still lived at the residence. The house was demolished soon after.

“This ambush-style eviction has been deeply traumatic and disruptive to Murray’s life,” the lawsuit said. “He lost the home he had lived in since age 8, that his deceased parents had purchased. He is now without a home and is renting a room at a family member’s house.”

Authority officials said the building was blighted and that utilities were shut off. They also said Murray wasn’t living in the house and that he never owned the property.

“There were no credible or reasonable signs of human occupancy at the property” at the time the authority owned the building, land bank attorneys told the court. “The property was confirmed vacant and abandoned through multiple investigations and indicators.”

The CEO of a company that did an inspection on the house in 2014 said in a sworn statement that it was only examined from the outside.

“This house was my home. I grew up there, my family lived there, I lived there, and I kept everything there,” Murray said in a statement through his attorney. “I told the land bank I was living there and wanted to stay. By destroying the house, the Land Bank destroyed my life.”