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Famous Clinton Hill Home Faces Foreclosure

Future of Broken Angel in doubt pending a fraud case brought by the owner against his mortgage lender

The month of March got off to a rocky start for the owner of the Clinton Hill landmark known as Broken Angel. Last Monday a judge told Arthur Wood, 80, that his iconoclastic, hand-made home would be foreclosed upon and sold at auction on March 29th, the Real Deal reported.

The auction was postponed yesterday, however, when another judge agreed to hear a fraud case brought by Wood against his mortage lender, Madison Realty. The foreclosure hearing will be postponed for a month while the fraud suit is considered, reports the New York Times.

“That foreclosure auction will not happen,” Wood told the Times optimistically.

Wood's fraud suit claims inconsistencies in the foreclosure case. While the original foreclosure listed only Mr. Wood's nonprofit as a defendant, the current filing lists both the non-profit and Mr. Wood himself. Wood hopes that this technicality will get his case dismissed.

Wood's former business partner, Shahn Anderson, isn't so sure.

"He thought he could sue me and the bank and make the mortgage go away,” Mr. Anderson told the Times. “But at the end of the day, the building will be foreclosed upon. There will be an auction. I couldn’t stomach buying the property and evicting my former partner. I’m not a scumbag. But somebody else is — and Arthur will be out on the street.”

While Mr. Wood retains a sunny outlook, he has faced several challenges in recent years. A 2006 fire at Broken Angel brought the attention of city inspectors, who had previously turned a blind eye to Wood's code-flouting building habits. Wood was forced to strip his home of its most eye catching features, including a glass structure on the roof.

Lacking the necessary funds to make further renovations, Wood partnered with Anderson and announced a plan to turn the building into condos. Their ambitious plan failed, however, when they defaulted on the loan in 2008. 

To make matters worse, Wood also lost his wife and longtime living partner, Cynthia, to cancer in 2010. Following her death a note was posted outside their home describing the concept behind Broken Angel:

 “The idea for the building Broken Angel was born from a romantic stroll the couple took through Staten Island. Arthur and Cynthia found a figurine of an angel lying broken and discarded in the gutter. He took it home with them and rebuilt it for her, reconfiguring it so that it was ‘better than the original.’ A little while after that when they found the building that would become their home and life’s work they were reminded of that angel and incorporated that same creativity into rebuilding the structure. They named it ‘Broken Angel’ and hoped to resurrect it with as much success.”

The home was featured in the 2006 film "Dave Chappelle's Block Party."

Sara March 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
This is very sad...

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