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Florida Avenue Grill Owner Sues “his New York-based financier”. Reader Finds Similar Situation Occurred in 2009

by Prince Of Petworth January 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm 14 Comments

11th and Florida Ave, NW

Thanks to all who sent emails about the Post’s follow up article on the foreclosure sale scheduled for the Florida Avenue Grill.

“Imar Hutchins, owner of Florida Avenue Grill, sued his New York-based financier on Monday, alleging “predatory lending” and “deceptive practices,” and will ask a D.C. Superior Court judge this week to issue a temporary restraining order to stop a foreclosure auction of the oldest, continuously operating soul food restaurant in America.”

You can read the full story here.

Another reader notes: “Doesn’t this read almost exactly the same as the NYT article?”

In August 2009 the New York Times reported:

“In his briefcase, Imar Hutchins carries a certified check for $25,000. It is a crazy amount to walk around with, but for the last nine months, a series of banks have refused to take the money, even though Mr. Hutchins owes it toward a mortgage on a small apartment building in Harlem.”

You can read that full story here.

Updates on all fronts as the story develops.

  • Michael Pierce

    Does it really come as a surprise that banks are evil, greedy devils?

  • Anonymous

    This is very strange and makes his story a lot less credible in my eyes.

  • Tim

    Looks like someone has found a way to make money by forcing settlements out of banks.

    Two separate lending institutions, in two different cities all of a suddenly try to foreclose on this guy after he missed “one” payment, then supposedly tried for months and months to remedy it?

    The chances of this happening exactly the same way twice like this is staggeringly low.

    Also, who doesn’t put their mortgage/loan on autopay and if so, why?

    • ET

      It does sound a bit suspicious but the news about the District’s AG regarding predatory mortgage lending in DC by CashCall makes you realize how there are a lot of seedy players.

      • Anacostia

        Banks are not altruistic. No one would ever argue that. But as a landlord and real estate investor I can tell you a secret that all investors know and most non-investors don’t. There is a certain subset of the population we refer to as “professional tenants”. They know the laws and know how to work the laws to live for extended periods for free and prolong evictions as long as possible. I luckily have never had to deal with one but you can google some of the horror stories. Not saying this is a case of a professional tenants. But the warning signs seem to be there

    • Blithe

      People who have unpredictable incomes and expenses might avoid autopay. The bill being paid often has a grace period or penalties that are preferable to the consequences that might occur when the largest bill gets paid first while smaller ones rack up penalties and late fees. I don’t always pay my largest bills from the same account — so autopay would not serve me well.
      As to the rest, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about predatory lending, and its impact in minority communities. I’d guess that your version of “staggeringly low” and mine are different. I’ve no idea if this is an issue for Hutchins. I do get that his properties are both in areas that rapidly gentrified, possibly making them quite attractive to lenders who might want to foreclose.

    • also anon

      I don’t autopay my mortgage because it’s a significant amount of money and I want to have control over when it comes out of my account. It pretty closed-minded and judgmental to assume everyone has the same amount of control over (and ability to predict) their finances that you do.

      • dunning-kruger

        +1 Also, when my mortgage bank folded into another I continued to split the payment with my wife as we had before. The new bank did not allow this and applied both payment to the principal while considering the regular payment missed and assessed late fees. So a missed payment may not be one at all. Wasn’t one of his “missed payments” the result of his lender changing address with no notice?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think it’s close-minded to wonder why people would buy a house they can’t automatically pay for each month. The split payment bit makes sense, though.

        • Blithe

          It’s not close-minded. It is, possibly lacking in imagination. Many mortgages last for 15 or even 30 years. Some are adjustable. It’s quite possible that even people with a stable financial plan would welcome the option of choosing between accounts, and choosing the timing of a payment vs. having autopay. Unexpected medical bills, unanticipated funeral expenses, emergency travel expenses — are all things that come up for many of us during the course of 15 or 30 years or so. People sign mortgages and their lives change over the course of them, and some of the changes– from job loss to the death of a family member — can include large unexpected expenses that could, at least, on occasion, make automatic payments a problem rather than a convenience.
          tldr: Lives can change over the course of 30 years or so. Some of the changes can be both unpredictable and expensive.

  • anonymous2u

    Reeks of scam

  • U neighbor

    For what it’s worth, Imar Hutchins is an incredibly nice person and a good citizen to the local community. Whatever fishy dealings happened, I wish him and the Grill the best in fighting this so they can continue to be good neighbors.


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