DETROIT (WXYZ) — “Like a snake oil salesman in movies, Ramzu Yunus came to town with a story that sounds too good to be true,” said Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia.
The city of Detroit is warning citizens about Yunus and his “free home” promise.
“He is the self-proclaimed leader of several organizations. Detroit Peoples Government. Humanitarian Occupation of Properties,” said Garcia.
In the past, Yunus has made noise at rallies promising people free homes.
Garcia says, “There are no free houses in the city of Detroit.”
Yunus and members of his organization tell Detroiters that they have the right to occupy homes without owning them.
“That’s squatting or trespassing and it’s illegal,” Garcia adds.
He says there are dozens of victims who have fallen for this scam. People sign-up for a home and Yunus gives them a deed.
“They have this piece of paper from the Detroit people’s government, is this legit? And of course, the Land Bank and the city of Detroit says ‘no this is a scam'," says Garcia.
Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court granted the Detroit Land Bank Authority’s request for an injunction on Ramzu Yunus and his associated groups.
In a statement to 7 Action News the DLBA says, “our goal is to stop his housing misinformation campaign that is creating confusion, encouraging people to trespass, and issuing fake deeds.”
“The biggest concern to me is the call for violence,” Garcia says.
On September 1st Yunus was involved in a stand-off when a security company tried to evict him out of a home.
“When they came to escort him off the property, he locked himself in, a gun went off and the police arrested Mr. Yunus,” Garcia explains.
We had a chance to ask Yunus about the stand-off.
“I am dangerous to a corrupt regime called the Detroit city government. I am dangerous, not violently but dangerous to them trying to reach their selfish objectives,” said Yunus.
We followed up, asking why he’s telling people homes are free.
“I’m just letting the people know that they do have the power, they don’t have to be homeless when there is an abundance of homes in the city of Detroit,” he adds.
Yunus also included that he is not a scammer or selling a scam.
“If I’m a scammer, what am I scamming the people out of? By letting them know they have rights?” he asks.
Again, the city says these homes aren’t free but Yunus insists they are. He is hosting a “Free Homes” event on Thursday, October 14th outside the Coleman Young Municipal Center.
The city of Detroit says “There is an active case before a Wayne County Judge to resolve problems caused by Mr. Yunus’s campaign of deception. Detroiters should be aware of the disputes and problems that surround his scheme.”
Full DLBA statement below:
Wayne County’s 3rd Circuit Court granted the Detroit Land Bank Authority’s request for an injunction on Ramzu Yunus and his associated groups. Our goal is to stop his housing misinformation campaign that is creating confusion, encouraging people to trespass, and issuing fake deeds. The DLBA seeks to protect Detroit neighborhoods from trespass prompted by this unlawful campaign and to protect the Detroiters who work hard to lawfully purchase and renovate land bank properties every day.
The DLBA is dedicated to returning Detroit’s vacant and blighted property to productive use through a variety of affordable sales programs accessible on our website buildingdetroit.org. If you believe you’re a victim of Yunus’s housing scam, please contact the Detroit Police Department at (313) 267-4600 and notify the DLBA at email@example.com.