HOUSTON (CN) – Heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield claims an attorney who loaned him $560,000 wrongfully foreclosed on his property 7 days before the note came due, then bought the place for himself. Holyfield sued Jeffrey Stern in Harris County Court.
Holyfield claims Stern loaned him the money in exchange for the deed to his Houston property, then locked him out.
“In January 2010, Holyfield executed a warranty deed, conveying a 40 percent interest in the property to Leroy Mobley and Angel Rodriguez dba Rodriguez Holdings Group,” Holyfield and his co-plaintiffs say.
In February, Stern’s co-defendant and “successor trustee under the note,” Mary Axelrad, mailed Holyfield a “notice of acceleration and notice of foreclosure,” the complaint states.
The notice said Stern was accelerating the note for Holyfield’s failure to pay assessments to the neighborhood’s homeowners association, and failure to maintain the property or provide Stern with proof of insurance, says Holyfield, who was known as “Real Deal Holyfield” during his fighting days. Axelrad also alleged that taxes on the property were past due.
But the deed of trust states that if Holyfield failed to perform, Stern had to submit a “written request” to him for funding to create an escrow account for taxes and insurance premiums on the property, Holyfield says. Stern ignored this part of the agreement and initiated foreclosure, Holyfield says.
“To plaintiffs’ misfortune, defendant Axelrad held the sale on April 6, 2010, and allowed defendant Stern to purchase the property for himself,” Holyfield says. Stern’s purchase violated an automatic stay caused by a bankruptcy action Angel Rodriguez was involved in, and an order expressly prohibiting the sale until April 16, 2010, Holyfield claims.
Holyfield seeks quiet title and to “avoid the purported transfer of the property to defendant Stern.” He seeks a declaration that he, Mobley and Rodriguez are the lawful owners of the property based on Stern and Axelrad’s breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful foreclosure and conversion.
Holyfield, Mobley and Rodriguez are represented by Troy Pradia of Houston.