Detroit mayor: HGTV’s Curtis was ‘scammed’ in house deal

DETROIT (AP) — The star of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict Rescue” apparently was “scammed” when she bought a blighted Detroit home from someone who wasn’t the owner, the mayor said.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority holds the title to the house. Nicole Curtis said she paid $17,000 for the property in 2017 and has spent $60,000 in repairs and other costs so far.

The land bank has put the house on the market for $40,000. Curtis filed a lawsuit last week, seeking to keep the property or be reimbursed.

“I feel bad for Nicole,” Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday. “It appears she was scammed. It appears she paid somebody who didn’t own the house and paid them to buy it. But the land bank can’t legally just give her the property.”

Duggan said courts have already ruled that the land bank is the owner. But he wants Curtis to stick with the project and hopes she can make a deal.

“They can’t turn the property over without getting value,” the mayor said of the land bank.

Curtis’ Detroit Renovations LLC apparently didn’t know that the house had returned to the land bank’s control after the previous owners failed to fixed it up. Those owners executed a quit claim deed to Detroit Renovations in 2017.

Curtis, a native of suburban Detroit, said it would be wrong for the land bank to benefit from her investment.

“I didn’t become so successful in business by being somebody who backs down,” she said.

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