In August of 2015, I initially found and contacted the partners of 4th Dynasty Construction Company, LLC and Investoru2019s Choice Realty through a Craigslist ad that Ivie Shelton ran focusing on out of state investors. Even though I live in Nevada, I was very interested in the Michigan market due to what I had read about the coming economic recovery and what I saw other investoru2019s returns were on their rental properties. I had some experience flipping homes and owning rentals and knew some of the challenges to investing out of your own area. Because the price of homes in Michigan were so low, I knew that I could limit any losses if trouble arose. 4th Dynasty was one of three companies I spoke with about my plans and decided that they were the best fit, based on what they were saying and answers provided to my questions. Of course, our preliminary phone conversations were very friendly and open-minded. I would repeat myself in every conversation, letting them know that they would be my eyes, ears, hands and boots on the ground. Even though I could see the property and neighborhood online, they would have to help me make the correct decisions on just about every aspect of this investment. We spent over a month talking about the Michigan real estate market, the upcoming tax lean sale, properties I had access to through a paid list subscription and what a good exit strategy would be for any investments made through our relationship. At a certain point in our discussions, it was mentioned to me that one of the partners (the founder of 4th Dynasty) was going to be out in Las Vegas for a family event. I knew that getting a face to face meeting with the actual contractor was a great thing and so we planned a lunch upon his arrival. I met Will at the Aria Casino on the strip and bought him lunch, while we discussed in depth his operational policies, standard operating procedures and more about the potential investment properties. I advised him that my plan was to purchase approximately 10 properties over the next three years so that I could pad my retirement from the fire department with some passive income. I left the meeting with a good feeling and was ready to get my feet wet with my first deal. Throughout the time that we spent discussing my first purchase, I started my due diligence on the partners and their businesses. I had them supply me with their business licenses and references. I Googled the businesses and looked at their BBB rating (which they had none). I could not find any major complaints against the companies and they appeared to be in good standings with their licensing departments. There had been some initial signs of communications problems in October when I could not get a hold of Ivie. I then received an email from him on Oct. 16th apologizing for his lack of communication but he had some family issues. Then in bold letters he wrote, u201cI just want you to understand that is not how I do business.u201d We discussed it over the phone and I decided to move forward with finding and purchasing an investment property with them. During our search for the actual property to purchase, I had sent Ivie (the realtor/property manager) a list of houses that were bank owned. He and Will were to go through the list and pick out anything that was in a good neighborhood, looked foundationally sound and didnu2019t require a ton of rehab. After reviewing the list and visiting several of the properties on that list (so I was told), Ivie contacted me to tell me that he didnu2019t see anything that looked to be a good investment. He then stated that he had several listings in Detroit that he thought would make for better purchases. He then sent me a list of 4 properties that showed the annual ROI with all fix-up numbers included. I then did my usual research on each property; looked at all the pictures, inquired about the fix-up, asked about the sellers, etc. After extensive research I decided to purchase one of the four. Knowing that we were getting close to winter I had asked Ivie if there would be any problems getting the place rented during those months. His exact words to me over the phone were, u201cno sir!u201d At the time I did not realize it but, this is when the deception, misrepresentation and scam actually began by Will and Ivie. Wayburn was listed for sale at $15,000 and my initial offer was for $8,000, taking the property as is, waiving my right to an inspection based on information provided by both partners. Ivie then advised me that the sellers were countering with a price of $9,500 dollars, however, they would pay to have a new furnace installed. So, instead of paying for it during the rehab phase, I would instead be paying for a new furnace through the purchase of the home. I did not see any problem with this arrangement and signed the counter offer. However, even though I looked the offer over, I failed to realize that Ivie had left out the word u201cnewu201d and instead wrote u201cseller agrees to install furnace in homeu201d. So as it reads, I was paying $1,500 to have a furnace installed and did not notice the intentional error before signing it. On December 16th, the purchase of 4415 Wayburn Street was recorded with Fidelity National Title Company, LLC of Livonia, MI. and I started my dealings with Will Curry and his company 4th Dynasty to complete the rehab. Will sent me the list of items that his company was to perform along with prices and payment terms as we had previously discussed. On December 21st, after reviewing the invoice and asking any questions I had at the time, I signed it and sent Will his required deposit of 50% down which equaled $5,700. I received an email from Will on January 4th that stated they were about 85-90% complete with the Wayburn job. On January 7th, 2016, the second and final payment of $5700 was made to 4th Dynasty. On January 19th, Will emailed me and stated that his guys would be finished with the remaining punch list items by the next day and sent me u201cselectiveu201d pictures of the property and finished work. I asked several questions about things I didnu2019t like in the pictures but, Will reassured me that everything would be done to my satisfaction. My mistake here was not asking again for better pictures of each item completed on the list. Ivie Shelton, the realtor/property manager in the relationship, then supposedly posted the property to the MLS, Zillow, Craigslist and lots of other sites he spoke of. I was able to see the property posted on Zillow, however, without MLS access in Michigan I was unable to see it listed and did not ask for proof. Again, I took their word that they were doing what they said and did not verify the results. This would come back to haunt me later as I found out from a different realtor that Ivie never posted the property on the MLS. When the property first came up online for rent in January, the price had been set to $975 a month. This was shocking to me because Ivie and me had never discussed listing it so high. Our agreed upon price range was between $850 – $900 in all previous discussions. On January 29th I texted Ivie and asked if we had any interest in the property because I had not heard anything from him since January 18th. I did not receive any response but, did not push it. I then emailed Ivie on February 2nd and asked again if there had been much interest in the property. Later that evening he finally responded, asking me to please excuse his late response due to him having more family issues. He also stated u201cwe have had some interest in the property but it was limited due to an issue with the website that broadcast our rental listings. The issue has been resolved as of now and we should see a jump in the calls we receive this week. I do have a showing scheduled for Friday so we will so how that goes. Hopefully we can add a few more to the showing to generate some competition. I will send you an update after the showing on Fridayu201d. As I would come to find out, this was just the beginning of the communication issues with Ivie. As for Will, he would rarely get on the phone or text back, never answered my calls and would take a complete day or longer to answer any of my questions or concerns. On February 12th I again emailed Ivie, asked if there had been any interest in the property and also about the $975 price listing. Ivie responded with u201cI listed it at that price to see what type of interest we would get. We have had a couple of showings so far but no applications as of yet. I want to drop it to $950 and see if we get a better response. What are your thoughts on thatu201d? My response was u201cIf we know that it can be rented at $900 with no problems, let’s do that. I’m more concerned with getting it up and running for the first year and then raise rents as neededu201d. I then called Ivie to discuss the pricing and advised him to please run decisions like that by me prior to making them. I did not care about getting top dollar but instead, getting the property rented and generating some revenue. We then made plans to discuss changing the price on the 19th. On February 19th I sent Ivie the following text, u201cJust checking in before the weekend. Howu2019d we do at $900? I received no response. Over that weekend I noticed that Zillow did not show the property listed anymore and Ivie disappeared off the face of the earth. I could not reach Ivie by phone or email. I then sent Will the following text, u201cHe Will, are you in contact with Ivie? We were supposed to discuss the property pricing today but I cannot get a hold of himu201d. Will got back to me late that evening and said, u201cHi John, actually Ivie actually dropped his phone and broke it and heu2019s been waiting on a replacement since Wednesday. I will try to email him and let him know to reach out to youu201d. I heard nothing from either of them for the next 3 days. On February 22nd I sent Will the following text, Good morning Will. Were you able to get a hold of Ivie over the weekend? The Wayburn property was delisted from Zillow last week and I need to know whatu2019s happeningu201d. Will then got back with me with the following text, u201cHey John, I did speak with him and he indicated that he would call you. I will be leaving a meeting shortly headed to office and hopefully Iu2019ll run into himu201d. After several more textu2019s on the 22nd and 23rd between Will and myself, I gave up and waited to hear from Ivie himself. I had also sent him an email on the 22nd stating my concern with his lack of communication. On February 23rd, Ivie finally called me late in the day and explained that his weekend was really hectic, his phone was broken and that he was sorry for not making contact with me. I asked why he did not try to email me and he stated that he should have but just didnu2019t. On January 24th, I texted Ivie and asked why the property was delisted from Zillow on the 18th. He texted back and said that he was investigating the problem but thinks that he had updated the price that day but would let me know what the issue was shortly. I never heard back from Ivie that day. On January 25th, I texted Ivie to let him know that the listing was back up but the price was still wrong. He texted back later that evening and stated that the price change was made. On January 29th, early in the morning, I texted Ivie and asked how the last week had gone and did we get any applications. By around 1pm I hadnu2019t heard anything from him and then tried to call him. When I couldnu2019t reach him by phone I sent another text asking him to call me when he had a minute. I then received the following text from Ivie, u201cIu2019m getting some work done to my car, I should be able to call within the houru201d. After not hearing from Ivie for the next 4-5 hours, I sent him a text to call me before daysu2019 end as I had concerns about the communications between us and how I needed to proceed forward. At this point I had decided to start looking for a new property manager and move away from Will and Ivie. Late that evening, Ivie called me. I let him know right away that we had a serious problem with his communication issues. Ivie was very defensive and stated that I was not his only client and needed to understand that. Not being happy with his attitude or answer, I spent a long time on the phone with him explaining that I was the customer in this relationship and should be treated as such. I then stated that I was looking for a new property manager and would probably be changing companies. However, by the end of the conversation Ivie had promised that things would be better and as soon as winter was over, it wouldnu2019t take long to get the place rented. I decided to stick with them for another month because hiring another manager was going to even cost me more money. Besides that, Ivie had been telling me that he was showing the property every week to prospective tenants. About this time in the relationship I noticed that Ivie and Willu2019s website had gone down and I could not access it. After asking Ivie what had happened, he stated that he had taken it down to re-build it, however, it would be back up and running within the month. The website never came back online nor did any other new site during the remaining time I was doing business with them. Then shortly after the website was taken offline, Ivie changed his business name from Investoru2019s Choice Realty, LLC to Michigan Investments, LLC or something close to that. When asked about the name change, Ivie stated that he had been wanting to do it for some time and decided the time was right. Looking back on everything that happened to me, it would not be a surprise if they have done this to other investors and then were forced to change their business name and website. Finally, in May of 2016, after 4 months of Ivie being unable to rent the property and continues communication issues, I chose to switch management companies. This time Ivie didnu2019t put up a fight and agreed to hand the property over to the new manager. THIS IS WHEN THE BOMB DROPPED! As soon as the new manager had someone enter the property to inspect itu2019s u201crent readyu201d status, he called me right away to let me know that the house was nowhere near u201crent readyu201d. This instantly infuriated me because now I finally knew why Ivie couldnu2019t ever get the place rented and that his partner Will Curry of 4th Dynasty had taken my $11,500 and did very little work to the property. I instantly sent Will and Ivie an email stating what the new property manager had told me and to let them know that I would do anything it took to get my money back that they stole from me. Thatu2019s when Will took over and became very defensive about everything. He would hear none of it and only made claims that the work was done satisfactorily. However, he stated that he would send his guys back over to the property and fix anything that had been in the original invoice. Again, this would never happen and Will was full of excuses. I finally told him that I couldnu2019t wait any longer for his people to get over to the property and that I would have the new property manager take care of the repairs and send him the bill. Even after sending him the pictures from the other contractor and the list of minimal items needing done to make it u201crent readyu201d, he refused to pay. The rest of this story continues down the same path and I will give the remainder of it to my attorney. But, just as a summary, it would take me 2 more months of fighting with Will to get an old furnace that I had to send my contractor to pick up and a $400 check to go buy a new water heater. The final tally for me to have my new contractor come in and either do what 4th Dynasty never did and redo what 4th Dynasty did very poorly, is not in yet (Sept. 17, 2016.) However, it is already very close to the original $11,500 that I had paid Will back in January 2016 and I was able to place a renter right away once the rehab was completed correctly. Will and Ivie refused to pay me a settlement amount of $5000 to end our relationship. Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to go after them for whatever I can get in court.
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