Palmer Woods Saga Shows The Problem Of Squatters in Detroit
Residents in Detroit's wealthiest neighborhood won a major battle last week when prosecutors charged Clarence Boykin Jr., 53, with 11 felonies, accusing him of filing false ownership paperwork on three houses, including two in Palmer Woods. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf Tuesday at Wayne County Circuit Court and he remains jailed.
The saga began last fall when neighbors saw a new occupant pull up in a U-Haul last fall and use garbage bags to block the windows of the 4,400-square-foot house. Nine years ago, the six-bedroom, brick and stone Tudor Revival in the city's Palmer Woods neighborhood sold for almost $480,000.
According to Christine MacDonald in the Detroit News, the move-in began an elaborate cat-and-mouse game between some of the city's most elite residents — including judges and lawyers — and a man prosecutors allege is a serial squatter. For eight months, residents badgered a bank that owned the foreclosed home, persuaded utilities to shut off power, blocked the driveway with large rocks and put glue in the front door lock to keep the squatter out.
"The judges were calling here trying to see what we could do," said Anthony Cartwright, a broker whose firm, North American Real Estate, markets the home for Fannie Mae. "I said, 'You're a judge.'"