The Real Deal New York

Brooklyn developer demands $1M from community gardeners

The developer picked up the land for peanuts late last year
August 17, 2014 11:00AM

A small-time Brooklyn developer is demanding $1 million from Crown Height’s locals to keep their community garden.

Steve Billings of TYC Realty claims the sale price of a corner plot on Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights is anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million — Billings paid just $10, that’s right $10 — for the lot in November, according to property records cited by the New York Post.

The garden was created when locals were given permission to tear down an abandoned hardware store in 2006. At the time, neighbors where unable to reach the property’s 78-year-old owner, Dudley McLachlan, about buying the land.

But Billings found McLachlan’s daughter and struck a deal. And as of July 1, the property had $8,580 in unpaid tax liens.

Locals offered Billings $15,000 for the 1,710-square-foot plot, but he is now demanding $1 million.

“This developer is attempting to get $1 million from taxpayers, volunteers and nonprofit donations for something [he] paid nothing for,” fumed volunteer Emily-Bell Dinan. “Despicable!” [NYP]Christopher Cameron