Mr. Luczycki in the previous article from today would turn 94 next Feburary.  We had overpinned his age a bit higher (by 18 years) in confusion while fumbing through information.   However, Mr. Luczycki was the principal property owner of the house, and he died in December 1980 leaving Nancy Luczycki as the surviving property owner.

That being said, we do have one additional bit of information to share.  Nancy Luczycki did learn of the illegitimate deed transfer and attempted to contact the Philadelphia Police Department for help.  When Wyatt Matthews, if that’s his real name (we’re starting to suspect it might not be), petitioned Common Pleas court he produced a police report claiming he got into a disagreement with Nancy Luczycki, who owned the house before Matthews filed for quiet title against it.

In this police report, it says Matthews, a 23-year old white male, is claiming fraud against Nancy Luczycki.  In the police report (below) he claimed that Nancy Luczycki had sold the property repeatedly, had sold it to him, and that she attempted to get a deed recorded down at the City Recorder of Deeds.  Police officer Wagner took the report.

If you recall from the previous post, we took a hard look at the deed that Wyatt Matthews presented to the City for recording, and it looked very suspicious.  The most obvious thing wrong with it is that the notary said a man who has been dead for 34 years was in front of him signing the thing.

Then there’s this whole thing about Matthews court filing.  It looks like he had help of a lawyer, or someone who knows how to formulate legal documents.   Wyatt Matthews filed the case as a pro se litigant, so there was no lawyer.  When the case was filed Matthews included a Terrance Rodriguez as a party in the suit, with the same home address as the strange notary on the deed–the same home address that doesn’t exist in Philadelphia.

Who is Terrance Rodriguez?
Who is Terrance Rodriguez?

And there’s another guy in the mix… Jaeziel Vasquez.  He was the one who actually filed the quiet title case before the judge started asking questions about notary stamps.  Here’s Jaeziel Vasquez captioned to that same Oxford Avenue address:

Who is Jaeziel Vasquez?
Who is Jaeziel Vasquez?

And here the judge stops the show and stops the quiet title case because one of the required legal notices that you’re supposed to send out has a completely illegible notary stamp:

Google ChromeScreenSnapz012

Unfortunately, Common Pleas Court Judge Nina Wright-Padilla didn’t probe deeper into the notary stamps, because we found issues everywhere, particularly with that deed that Wyatt Matthews says makes the house at the corner of E. Hewson and Tulip Street his.  Judge Write-Padilla ultimately ruled in favor of Matthews after an amended filing.

Still.  I can’t get over this police report.   Matthews is (supposedly) a 23-year-old white male, who managed to get his hands on a corner Fishtown property for what seems to be a song, and the family who owns the property literally lives around the corner and his deed says that he purchased it from them fair and square.

Everyone in Fishtown is acutely aware of how valuable and expensive Fishtown is lately; even vacant lots and shells.   Sources have told me that real estate folk have approached Nancy Luczycki in the past looking to buy the property from her, and for amounts way higher than $8K.  Try adding a zero onto that number and that’s closer to what interest folks were offering her for that house—which is still a lowball figure.

We’re certain this story will continue to develop into 2015. We’ll keep you posted how this goes.

READ MORE:  Part III of this story, where I found a picture of ‘Wyatt’ and it appears he’s attempting to take another house through another quit claim.

Wyatt Matthews Files for Quiet Title to Berks House – Police Report

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1634 E Hewson Street
1634 E Hewson Street

You might be wondering where I’m going with this little Fishtown house.   I’ll try to make it quick.  A quit claim deed is a type of deed to “quit” your interest in a property.  Literally, you give up your right to claim that property as yours.

These are rare types of deed transfers to execute for two reasons:

  • There’s no guarantee to the person receiving your interest in the property that they own the property outright.  They simply own your share of it.
  • Because of that fact, it’s possible that someone else also has a legal interest in the property and you could find yourself the subject of a lawsuit when they discover you have money and they want to fight for full control over the property.  Usually this would be someone who has liens against the property.

By using a quit claim deed, you can sell your interest to a property, or a piece of property, and no title searches, title insurance or any other kind of research or guarantees are required.  You simply wash your hands of it.

So, let’s get down to it.   Back in March of this year this particular quit claim was filed against 1634 E Hewson Street, a corner property in Fishtown, conveying interest in the two story row home built on it from Casimer Luczycki over to a Wyatt C Matthews:

1634 E Hewson St
1634 E Hewson St

What’s interesting about this property is who owned it before Wyatt Matthews bought it for a song.  A shell property in Fishtown these days sells for north of the $100K mark.  Wyatt bought it for less than $8 grand.  What a steal, right?

Well, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs records, a Mr. Casimer R. Luczycki, who served time in the U.S. Navy and has lived in Fishtown most of his existence is now 112 years old.   At 112 years of age, he is ostensibly the oldest Philadelphian in the city.  [UPDATE: Yes, we see the obvious math error… I’ve corrected it and there’s more… Wyatt filed a police report against Nancy.  More about that in Part II]

Except, Cas is deceased
Except, Cas is deceased

I think you probably know where I’m going with this now.   Moving on, lets look at the signature page of the deed where everybody went to settlement:

Page 3 of the deed.  Notice how Casimer and Nancy's signatures are identical (see how the I's are dotted)
Page 3 of the deed. Notice how Casimer and Nancy’s signatures are identical (see how the I’s are dotted)

This single page is full of some delicious fruit.   One of the other owners of the property along with Casimer is Nancy Luczycki.  She supposedly also decided to quit her interest in the property, and if you look at the signatures of Cas and Nancy, they share the exact same signature style, all the way down to how they dot their I’s.

The other interesting thing about this page is the notary.   Pennsylvania notary commissions expire every 4 years.   This deed was recorded in March 2014.  It says on the notary’s stamp that his commission expires in March 2018, exactly four years later.  Either he just got his first notary stamp right when this deed was signed or it was by some coincidence that his commission was to expire right at the same time this deed was signed.

But that’s not all.   The notary’s address, 2311 Oxford Avenue, doesn’t exist.  It’s not a real address in Philadelphia.  [UPDATE:  Apparently this is 7311 Oxford Avenue after some more information has surfaced, and we found where this is in Part III]

Further, the address that Wyatt Matthews used as his contact address when he bought the property, 4818 Griscom Street?  It also doesn’t exist.  [UPDATE:  While this address doesn’t exist, we found another house Wyatt Matthews is trying to get his hands on:  4814-18 Griscom Street, which does exist.  It’s owned by Wells Fargo.   It gets pretty deep in Part III].

So… there’s that bit.  But here’s where it goes even further into the shitter.  After Wyatt Matthews had filed his quit claim deed in March of 2014, just one month ago he ran to Common Pleas court and attempted to solidify his hold on the house by filing for quiet title.   Because no party that owned the house could appear to fight the suit, the court granted the petition:

Common Pleas rules in favor of Mr. Matthews who claims the house is his
Common Pleas rules in favor of Mr. Matthews who claims the house is his

You might be saying to yourself… so what?  It’s an empty rowhome, it hasn’t been taken care of, and now somebody is going to do something with it, right?

Well… seeing homes rehabilitated is nice, except in this instance Nancy Luczycki is very much alive and is still very-much a Fishtown resident who lives not far from Hewson Street.  I called the family to talk to them a bit about what happened and they explained that they received absolutely no notice that anything was happening.  Their first indication that something was up was when they started seeing men who had broken through the seals on the property and were going inside.

Since Wyatt Matthews asserted in his quit claim deed and to Pennsylvania courts that he is the true owner of the house, demolition and rehab work has been going on inside 1634 E Hewson Street.

The question is:   Does Wyatt Matthews really own this property?

To the City of Philadelphia he technically does, and also to the state.

Even so, the notary on the quit claim deed claims Nancy and Casimer were physically present when the deed was signed.   I’ve already proven that Casimer was beyond dead in March of 2014.  He hasn’t been alive since December of 1980–34 years ago.   I’ve also shown that Wyatt likes to use phony contact addresses as well as his notary.

And just a couple weeks ago, Wyatt Matthews ran to a Huntingdon Valley title company to help him file a Deed of Confirmation, which is basically a way of inserting a recording into the record solidifying your interest in a piece of property.  It’s so that any other title search company that may come along will see that confirmation and hopefully they won’t question the title chain (or, how the legal ownership of a house has passed from party to party throughout history).

In this case, the company who filed this is MBA Abstract, Inc. who swore this in their affidavit:

ABM Abstract
ABM Abstract

Interestingly in this affidavit, MBA Abstract is very careful not to actually vouch for Wyatt Matthews’ ownership stake, but instead they just swore that the document was given to them and they intend to file it.    So, this really isn’t a title company certifying anything about Wyatt’s ownership in the house.

Nancy’s family members indicated their difficulty in finding competent legal counsel who could help them.

We gave them a referral to a Fishtown lawyer who will look into this.

UPDATE:  This story continues in Part II, where Wyatt files a police report against Nancy.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis

September 2015 is still pretty far away but the crazy estimates of nearly two million pilgrims descending on Philadelphia to catch a fleeting glimpse of Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families week-long convention here has a question lurking on the horizon… how are we going to deal with all these people crushing into the city that week?

The biggest wave will be on Sunday, September 27th when Pope Francis plans to conduct a papal mass here.

To that end, between now and through the summer expect to see a lot of classifieds from people illegally renting out their homes for the occasion.  There’s also the private home clearinghouses of AirBNB and a new start-up called Homestay which has set themselves up specifically targeting this event.

The only trouble with these arrangements is that technically they are illegal unless the homeowner obtains a valid rental license from L&I, which has two sticking points: you have to get a Commercial Activity License (formerly called a BPL, which you can get one here) and a L&I Housing Inspection License commonly called a rental license (you can get that here).  The Commercial Activity License is free while the rental license is $50.

The City has up to now frowned on sites like Airbnb providing what are basically mini hotels which are in direct competition to established hoteliers and B&Bs who go to the trouble of licensing themselves and running them as, well.. actual businesses.  Unless City Council does something, accepting cash to take in a religious pilgrim into your home is totally illegal; so I hope you plan on stopping by your local parish church for confession on the way to see Pope Francis.

Given the crush of humanity that will descend on our great city next fall, is this protectionism wise?  I mean, if people really have a horrible stay here—they will take that marred image of Philadelphia home with them and possibly retell their horror story to their friends and family, so hoteliers who expect to get follow-on business out of this event could be hurt if boatloads of humanity come here and then leave with a bad taste in their mouth because they had to stay at a Howard Johnsons a hundred miles away only to be greeted by our gridlock traffic jams and the usual attytood we’re famous for.

Perhaps City Council could show some love and pass a temporary bill to permit religious pilgrim sheltering that one week.  Or, just do it anyway and count on the manpower at L&I being too weak to enforce the rules–because Jesus would want you to.

The Inky did some coverage Friday of a property collapse that has caused severe damage to its twin next door.

125 W Roosevelt Blvd
127 Roosevelt Blvd is on the left, 125 is on the right

The story is the usual–an extremely long history of L&I violations, an absentee landlord, a rental property and no valid L&I rental license.

On top of that, this owner went to some extreme lengths to hide their identity… a limited liability corporation, registered in DelawarePhiladelphia Land & Building Co. LLC,  owns the house which in turn on the deed has used an address of a dilapidated rowhome deep in North Philly: 2235 N 19th St, which in turn has a New York City owner:

Another LLC owns this house but it's likely it's the same owner, and they're in New York
Another LLC owns this house but it’s likely it’s the same owner, and they’re in New York

Almost anyone would give up about this point trying to figure out who owns this fucking mess, right?   Well… the Inky somehow forgot that we live in the most litigious city in America and it’s likely that a property owner like this has been sued over something… anything.  Usually inside lawsuits you can find lots of juicy details about people’s alleged behavior as well as evidence submitted into the record that reveals a whole lot more about who the property owner really is.

And wouldn’t you believe it… another NYC absentee property investor has sued Philly Land & Building Co. back in 2009 alleging fraud in a real estate lawsuit.  A miss Tanya Guerrero filed a fraud lawsuit in Common Pleas court back in 2009 alleging that she was the victim of misrepresentation when she sought to purchase an investment (read: rental) property at 2512 W Diamond Street in Strawberry Mansion.  Tanya’s lawyer points directly at a Robert Nunez and a F.I.V.A. Corp as being responsible for her woes, and she captions the address of Nunez and F.I.V.A. at the same exact house as Philadelphia Land & Building Co.

In the suit, Tanya then mentions that F.I.V.A. offered a “real estate system” whereby start-up investors could launch a profitable real estate portfolio using their tools, contractors and expertise.  One of the contractors mentioned was to make repairs to dilapidated homes to prep them for sale or to rent.  Tanya asserts that Nunez primarily deals with shell properties.

Tanya then goes on to state that she thought she was buying a fixer-upper, not a shell, and that she could turn it into a triplex and have three rent checks even though the Philadelphia Zoning Code would require that to go through the zoning exception process.

In the end of this case, the Strawberry Mansion RCO was willing to work with Tanya to help her get zoning for her ill-advised investment property and she did finally secure a valid rental license.  She settled out of court before the case could go to trial.

Something tells me Mr. Nunez probably has some explaining to do about the Olney building collapse, if this court case is any indication of how they operate.

Philadelphia Land and Building Co Fraud Complaint

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James Dupree in front of his colorful wall piece
James Dupree in front of his colorful wall piece

Brian Abernathy, head of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, has penned an op-ed for the Inquirer this morning announcing that the PRA will abandon its plans to build a grocery store at 36th and Haverford, far from any commercial corridor where box stores normally locate, which would have demolished the self-made studio of Manuta artist James Dupree.

During the parcel assembly process several people benefited from financial transactions in negotiations with the City as documented in a piece by Ryan Briggs, which uncovered quite a bit of self-dealing.  Why did the developer need Dupree’s property?  For a parking lot.

And why put the grocery store at 36th and Haverford, far from any commercial street and in the center of Mantua, anyway?  Mantua has easily-reachable commercial corridors, where viable box stores could go.  This would have put it in the dead center of the neighborhood, which is an unusual location to put in the combo strip-mall grocery.

The likely answer is that a commercial street would be far more visible to more professional players in Philly real estate who would raise the cost of assembly quite high knowing what the City’s intentions were before-hand and would also have legal muscle to ensure the City can’t lowball the eminent domain transfer.  MCIC’s real purpose for the grocery store is to have a perpetual source of revenue from a rent-paying tenant (namely, the grocery store plus whatever additional commercial space that is created).

Either way, Dupree has won out, as Abernathy says:

Unfortunately, the legal costs associated with Dupree’s appeals make it impossible to continue. Despite all the work to date, PRA will end condemnation proceedings, enabling Dupree to keep his studio. While we have explored building around his property, a viable project is not possible, putting the prospect of bringing fresh food to this community at serious risk.

There are certainly other opportunities to get fresh food into Mantua.  Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, whose district covers this area, just has a bad reputation for thwarting many good things.  GreensGrow Farms, which operates a nursery and CSA food service operation in Kensington, had looked for City-owned property in order to open an expansion in West Philadelphia but eventually had to abandon the parcels it thought would work for the project.

Opening smaller CSAs in Mantua and even a much smaller co-op grocery store certainly would be far more preferable than a box grocery store.  Look at Camden’s experience with Bottom Dollar Foods which opened just a few months ago and is now poised to shut within weeks.