REDFORD, Mich. (WXYZ) - This has been in fact, going on for many years if not decades.
Leonard Bale has hundreds of properties for sale or lease. What we found when people buy from him, they might not be allowed to live in the house for very long before there's a knock on the door. The bank is asking to reclaim it. It is simply in foreclosure.
For one family we just met Christmas was bittersweet.
They closed on their first ever home in August of this year. For Heather, Brian, and their blended family, this Christmas was special for them all. From the youngest among them, too small to reach dinner on the table to the older ones who now have bedrooms of their own.
With lots of food and friendships for this family of 10, it was a warm and wonderful first Christmas for them in this little house in Redford.
Unfortunately because they bought the house on a land contract from a fellow named Leonard Bale, it will very likely be their last.
The Farmington Hills man has bought and sold real estate it in southeastern Michigan for decades. But we continue to find women with children and families who say that they have suffered Bale’s emotional roller coaster - feeling the joy of buying or renting from him a place to live, and then suffering the heartbreak of an ugly Bale reality like this one.
“We gave him $1,500 upfront. And then paid $750 rent each month up until the first week of December when we got the eviction notice in the mail,” says Heather Zberkot.
For weeks we’ve been trying to get answers from Len Bale.
Before Christmas, we told you about Shirley's story - how this mother of six rented a home, only to discover plumbing and other problems that make this house not qualified for occupancy according to the city.
For Christmas, Shirley was living in an airport hotel. But she and her children found comfort in a visit from the other victims. They’ve all joined the fight to stop Bale from his treatment of unsuspecting customers.
“It’s really a lot of people that he is doing it to,” Shirley Carter says. “I could not believe that he sleeps at night knowing that he did all these people like this.”
Attorney Paul Hughes successfully represented Bale victims. He managed to get $900 back for Shirley.
We know of at least two dozen people who have filed formal complaints against Leonard Bale with the Wayne County Prosecutor and the state Attorney General.
They are hoping to hear that charges are pending. So far they and many others are still waiting.
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