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Predatory Flipper’s License Revoked

The Department of State has revoked the real estate broker’s license of James Graham of Genesis Realty, with the input of Buffalo’s Anti-flipping Task Force

In looking at Graham’s history, there are many tales of woe based on bad deals that the realtor pushed on unsuspecting buyers through his Rochester based company, Genesis Real Estate Investments LLC, some stretching as far as Australia.
This Rochester Business Journal article from 2006 outlines Graham’s career in glowing terms, including his part in co-founding Cornerstone Realty LLC with fellow realtor Daniel Glushefski before moving on to found Genesis.  A look at the websites of each realty company will show a heavy emphasis on Christian principles.
According to Kathleen Lynch of the Western New York Law Center, Graham first entered her radar in 2005 through a smattering of complaints.  Lynch says that part of what her office does is to pass information on about unscrupulous dealings, but it wasn’t until Senator William Stachowski set up a direct line from WNY Law to the Department of State two years ago that things really started to move in respect to Graham’s offenses.
Lynch says that even though people placed complaints, some were reluctant to pursue legal action.  “We need the complainant to be willing to go to court,” she explains.  “In this economy, a lot of these people were probably suffering other losses as well, and we had to wait until they were finally ready.  The direct referral line that Senator Stachowski set up made it easy to go after these cases.”  
Some of Graham’s violations were committed through other companies or in partnership with other individuals, but Lynch would guess that Graham is involved in shady dealings in excess of 100 area properties, scattered throughout the City of Buffalo and beyond.  He has admitted to selling homes without full disclosure of his own recent low cost purchase (flipping), and misrepresenting the condition and/or rentability of these homes to buyers in the foreign market. 
According to the Department of State file, Graham admitted to mismanagement of the properties he had contracted to oversee for his clients including collection of rents, payment of bills and taxes, and seeing that repairs were made.  He misdirected escrow funds into a fund for his own expenses, and failed to let owners know when homes were vacant.
Now that Graham’s license has been revoked, Lynch hopes this will act as a deterrent to any other person or entity who would engage in house flipping.  She sees one other possibility coming down the pike too. “This was just one action,” she says.  There will possibly be others pursued by his victims.  There are people out there who will want to try to recoup some of their money.”
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  • Lego1981

    Great job, Elena! Let this be a message to anyone who ever considered or have flipped. You WILL be caught!

  • KarlMalone

    You will? LOL

  • JohnQBuffalo

    Something is still terribly wrong. Is that all? Revoking a Broker License? No fines? No criminal charges? No felony convictions?
    He had a license and a business and he absconded with their clients funds (by directing client funds to their own business and personal expenses), exhibited malfeasance & libeled their clients (by refusing to pay bills, refusing to perform maintenance and refusing to rent out properties or notify owners property was empty all of which reflect upon the owner).
    Yet the only news we have is the revokation of a brokers license. Id say there is something wrong.
    Also it yet again reminds Buffalonians of the exploitation out of towners perpetuate upon our city. Who among you thinks that native Rochesterians who are well known for their dogged harrassment of those who dont conform to their civic ideals, would tolerate this from one of their own? Oh but Rochesterians dont have any problem looking down on Buffalonians and ignoring their un-neighborly exploitation upon Buffalo.
    Usually such exploitation comes from downstate upon Buffalo and such scrutiny is conveniently deflected by accusations of anti-semetism or other such liberal deflections of accountibility thru the victimization mentality. Prejudice explain everything except for their destructive actions.
    And as we lose house upon house and neighborhood upon neighborhood, all we can except is the revokation of a brokers license. Woohoo, Im underwhelmed considering all the other punishments that people must face for quality of life crimes that pale in comparison.

  • Roy

    Who is behind all those “We buy houses 568 – 7930 or 860 – 0670” signs that are illegally posted on corner light poles throughout the City, conveniently mounted too high to be pulled down? The Flipping Task Force ought to be investigating them asap, and the City should prosecute the company for illegally posting signs on City property.

  • grad94

    ah religion. the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  • Dan

    Buffalo doesn’t enforce its sign code, unfortunately.

  • Dan

    In other cities, “flipping” is considered a positive term; consider A&E’s “Flip This House”. I lived in a Denver neighborhood where investors bought solid houses with cosmetic flaws, spent a little bit of money to clean them up — kitchen updates, stripping paint from the woodwork, repainting interior walls in neutral colors, refinishing hardwood floors, and so on — and sell them for a profit of tens of thousands of dollars.
    Buffalo-style flipping, unfortunately, isn’t the same thing. You can’t say it’s more genuine, authentic, and real than flipping done elsewhere. Its taking advantage of people who don’t know better; who associate “New York State” with “New York City” and its astronomical real estate prices, and see that $30,000 house on eBay in Genesee-Moselle as a bargain.

  • JohnQBuffalo

    Yes this person attempted to camouflage and hide behind christianity to which I am repulsed and disgusted. This person is not a christian and does not demonstrate any christian principles in their business or their person.
    Here is the difference which many have yet to be understood or appreciated because denouncing a christian is in vogue by anti-christian forces.
    Unfortunately, there is no such similar condemnation that followed when the fraud of Bethune Hall occurred or when the fraud of the Livery was attempted by Freudenheimer, not condemnation by the owners of Cathode Ray for their role in the demise of the Summit.
    If we are truly a community, then there is nothing wrong with identifying with however many groups reflect your politics, religion, opinions or beliefs. In the same token, it makes us a stronger community by using our community and the group identities we affiliate ourselves to correct us when we are wrong.
    I myself have had my privacy and boundaries and personal life violated many many times, something that I have not done to others. If engaged in a blog or a conversation then that is where the response should be addressed.
    We create a tiered and intolerant society when one group has special privileges while another does not. This hypocrisy is exactly what separates us on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
    There is no shortage of those who condemn Graham as a person and for manipulation of his faith. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in the condemnation of the owner of Bethune Hall or Freudenheimers Livery.
    Sadly, this is what is meant by a tyranny of diversity and a leftist fascism of liberalism.

  • RaChaCha

    Speaking of predatory flippers, it’s too bad no one has gone after this guy: http://wnymedia.net/wnymedia/buffalopundit/2009/11/extreme-home-makeover-buffalo-edition-a-question/ named TEOFILO MALDONADO — who sold the Mass. Ave. house to Delores Powell, even though it was on the demolition list. He’s another one involved with a religious-influenced real estate investor’s group, “Investors Committed to Excellence” (Seriously — follow the links in the linked article and see for yourself).
    Then there’s that east side minister about whom David Torke has written extensively, with many properties that are derelict rat-traps, resulting in numerous housing court citations.
    Characters like this are a blot on the name of religion.

  • jimmy

    It only took us five years to finally go after this one company. There are hundreds of others out there, and some are doing the right thing. Let’s not paint all developers and flippers with the same broad brush.

  • SenecaFire

    As a Real Estate Broker I’m certainly glad they lost their license. If anyone else has complaints about fraudulent Brokers they should call the Realtor association as well. All though the above mentioned person wasn’t a Realtor member of the association it still affects us and we take pride in trying to maintain a Ethical marketplace for consumers and sales people.

  • brownteeth

    What’s to stop hime from flipping without a license? He can still sell by owner if he buys these derilict homes himself. I personally always thought of flipping as a good thing, but my version is the one where you make an uninhabitable home habitable again and sell it. I did this in Lackawanna a few years ago. I bought a house for 15K, renovated it extensively at a cost of about 20K, lived in it for 2 years and sold it for 50K. It’s too bad flippers weren’t more like that.

  • NorPark

    I agree, its a pretty vague term. Flipping to me means buying a property, making improvements, and selling it for a profit.

  • armyof100clowns

    Disgusting – this is the type of individual that makes our city look like a joke. I am shocked and disappointed that it took so long to revoke his license and that, at this point, no criminal charges have been brought against him. This man is a thief, not only of his unsuspecting clients, but also of the people of Buffalo by besmirching their good names.
    As I posted in another thread, if the City were really committed to bringing in new residents and not feeding the scare tactic beast, they would crack down on toilet scum like Mr. Graham along with the graffiti “artists”, absentee landlords, and other purveyors of urban blight (including some of the jackasses that call themselves “servants of the people” by occupying a post or job within the City’s government).
    No wonder we are known far and wide as having a deep investment in corruption – we seldom do little to prevent it.

  • Matt Fisher

    Great job by Kathleen and the Anti-Flipping task force. James Graham with Cornerstone and Genesis had a few properties that were nightmares in South Buffalo. I talked to James a few times and he never would do what he said. We cleaned up a few of his messes for him to satisfy the neighbors. There are some good investors that I have dealt with but he wasn’t one of them.

  • FirstNation2

    I wish there was a way to be notified of cases they are working on so we could keep an extra eye on all the properties these dirt bags own. That way the task force would have extra eyes out there and add more to their defence. I’d do it for nothing.

  • sueb

    I too was briefly involved with the Realtor, Mr Glushefski. He claims to be a “Man of God” but his ways of dealing with the transaction I was pursuing were less than reputable and I feel very uncomfortable knowing he is still active in the WNY realty business.
    He agreed to a deal involving the purchase of one of his properties, but upon discovering that I was a single parent and taking advantage of the Community Development Program, where funds were available for closing ,(after one followed the strict guidelines under the direction of the various communities offering the grant), he at that point went back on his word -after negotiating a contract with my Realtor and myself. He was listed as the owner and realtor of the property and left the country the day the house went on the market.
    His web site , I feel, is a front for his realty company, since it is almost entirely filled with Christian views, comments, biblical passages-all of which he seems to follow the exact opposite. I only hope he does not hurt others.