Squatters preventing sales of historic Bed-Stuy theaters

July 16, 2010 08:30AM

The Slave Theater

Two historic Bedford-Stuyvesant theaters have been rendered virtually
unsellable by squatters who refuse to leave, according to the Daily
News. At the Black Lady at 750 Nostrand Avenue, Rastafarian drug
dealers have taken over and remain even after two police raids this
year. And the Slave Theater at 1215 Fulton Street is inhabited by
associates of the former owner who insist on living there rent-free.
The pair of properties belongs to the estate of Brooklyn Civil Court
Judge John Phillips, who died in 2008. His heirs put the theaters on
the Market After Court-appointed guardians allegedly stole from the
estate and failed to pay taxes, leaving the family owing more than $2
million to the IRS. Phillips’ nephew, the Rev. Samuel Boykin, who is
managing the estate, said at least three offers from prospective buyers
have fallen through because of squatters. At the Black Lady, he said,
the squatters took down a “for sale” sign and changed the building’s
locks. In January, the estate took a church and a vendor who were
occupying the space to court to try to evict them. Boykin said the
family ideally would sell the theaters to a church or community group
instead of a developer. [NYDN]