Detroit goes after company for selling home to woman with thousands in unpaid bills

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A mother of four bought a Detroit home only to learn the property came with a long list of serious problems including thousands of dollars in unpaid bills

It is a story FOX 2 first brought you last month, now the city is getting involved and going after the company that sold her the house.

"We think that the law is being broken and he's taking advantage of poor people," said Gary Brown, head of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Brown's department is suing real estate companies Alma Almont, Detroit Property Exchange Company and Midtown Homes Realty - affiliated to a man named Michael Kelly, according to the lawsuit.

Brown says he's selling properties that are in poor condition and have thousands owed in back taxes or water bills.

"When I went down to the water company after I bought the house and tried to get the water switched to my name, they told me it was a $16,000 water bill on the house," said one woman. "I thought it was $1,600 - not $16,000 because that's pretty crazy."

In August FOX 2 told you about the single mother of four who purchased a home on Cruse for a $1,000 from Detroit Property Exchange - the same damaged, uninhabitable home we did a story on in 2014 when it was abandoned and full of running water.

"They're desperate - they're trying to put a roof over their kids' heads," Brown said. "Now they're stuck with a piece of property - we're taking a loss - and simply pass the cost on to other residential customers."

So the water department is suing Detroit Property Exchange and the others for money owed on some of the other properties they own, totaling more than $25,000.

One of the properties cited in the lawsuit is a home on Morang. Nobody lives there, but guess how much is owed to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department? 17-thousand dollars.

The Detroit Property Exchange told FOX 2 previously it does everything by the book - but Gary Brown wants to see them in court.

"This may not be a big deal to big shots who own a lot of money," Brown said. "But this is a big deal to poor people who are struggling to get by."