Exclusive: Carl Monday uncovers FBI & CPD investigation into - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Exclusive: Carl Monday uncovers FBI & CPD investigation into $100 homebuyer program

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -  A program that put potential home buyers in a house for just a hundred bucks, is under investigation by Cleveland Police and the FBI.

The city says it launched the probe, after discovering some people lived in homes they didn't even own.

In fact they even purchased them through individuals who had no business selling them.

Cleveland streets, the nations so-called "Foreclosure Capital", are lined with boarded-up, abandoned properties.

But last year, the city teamed-up with the federal government, on a program promising to pump new life into our neighborhoods. A program that made low budget homes available for just $100.

It seemed like a bargain to most. 

"Because it was a city program, I trusted the city. I thought I could trust the city," Deia West.

Deia West and her husband Glenn bought this house through the city program. 10 months later, they still haven't moved in, and the city changed the locks.

"He told me don't go back into that property, it was owned by the city of Cleveland. If we go back in there, we're trespassing," Barb Shuer.

Barb Shuer bought her $100 home for $6,100 in May of 2009. And despite the additional $10,000 in repairs she's already made to the home, the city told her to get out.

"I was shammed. Yea. Bamboozled," Barb Shuer.

But Barb wasn't the only one.

"It's caused a lot of hardship. I had to temporarily stay with parents," Cliff Horn.

Cliff Horn and his wife, pregnant with twins, are still waiting to move into the home they thought they bought under the $100 program.

Just like Deia and Glenn West, he was charged $6,100.

"I want my money. I've been robbed. Point blank, I've been robbed," Glenn West.

During a meeting with the West's the city's Regional Development Director Chris Warren told them that they should have never paid that much.

"This is a hundred dollar program," Chris Warren.

Warren also told them that Cleveland Police and the FBI are investigating the two guys, James Wilson and David Mays, who handled the home sales to the West's and others.

Mays tells 19 Action News Investigator Carl Monday that he typically charges $3,000 for his services. He says the fee was approved by the city itself.

But Development Chief Chris Warren told the West's that Mays, and Wilson had no business representing the homeowners.

"We learned that Mr. Mays, and probably Mr. Wilson were involved in a scam. They were taking money from people for properties they didn't own nor did they have authority to take money or to represent that they had any authority whatsoever. The properties are owned by the city of Cleveland. They had zero authority to do that."

Mays did provide Carl Monday with dozens of documents that show he tried to work with the city, after the city cut off funding for the group he worked for, The Euclid/St. Clair Coalition. The Mayor's office says Euclid/St. Clair Coalition was dumped because of "poor performance." Mays says the city's to blame for dragging its feet.

"The problem is, we don't know why the city has not done what they had to do to transfer the properties to the individuals."

But Mays past can't be ignored.

He once played quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, but it was his work as a dentist that got him sacked.

In 1990, Carl Monday exposed Mays in what turned out to be a $2.7 million welfare scam. He went to prison for five years.

And James Wilson, who also did time for rape, says he and Mays was only trying to make an honest buck on the city housing program.

"I don't think Mr. Mays ripped anybody off in my honest opinion," James Wilson.

But Mayor Jackson's office has confirmed that both James and Mays are under criminal investigation, suspected of taking advantage of a program that was supposed to help rebuild our city, not tear it down.

"We were sold a dream. And it ended up being a nightmare," Deia West.

The city is now out of the program, with most of the still available homes shifted to the county's land bank.

Meanwhile, the mayor's office says it is working closely with the homeowners they say have been scammed, and are trying to help them get title to the homes and get their money back.

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