Tuesday, December 30, 2014

908 Highland Avenue, The House That Haunted Greensboro

Here's an interesting story, the story of 908 Highland Avenue, a home in the Glenwood Community of Greensboro. 908 Highland was once owned by Bulent Bediz who was proclaimed by then Greensboro City Councilwoman Nancy Barakat Vaughan as the Cancer of Glenwood.

Surprisingly, Bulent Bediz has spent the last 40 years restoring, remodeling, reclaiming and sometimes moving entire homes located within the Glenwood Community in order to save them. As a matter of fact, Mr Bediz has saved over 30 homes in the Glenwood Community. Here's some of the homes Mr Bediz has saved:

1009 Haywood Street 116 photographs.

1017 Union Street 59 photographs

1019 Union Street 48 photographs

1007 Haywood Street 59 Photographs

901 Lexington Avenue 28 photographs

Moving 714 Highland Avenue to 1012 Haywood Street, March 2012. 73 photographs

Is this the kind of remodeling done by slumlords? Looking at those photographs I think it is safe to say most anyone would be proud to live in a home remodeled by Bulent Bediz, a former UNCG art instructor turned home restorer.

Bulent Bediz was a man with a real dream for Glenwood and Greensboro. He was doing for our city what our city leaders claim they want to do for our city.

But all that was before Ben Holder, Brian Higgins, Nancy Barakat Vaughan, the City of Greensboro, the University of North Carolina and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro along with various others came to Glenwood's "rescue." While a Google search for Bulent Bediz will result in lots of media reports telling the City's side of the story not one single Greensboro media outlet has ever taken the time to investigate and tell Mr Bediz's side of the story-- why?

For example, take the curious example of 908 Highland Avenue. Unlike the 60 houses the City and UNCG have already destroyed and the 40 more that are on the Glenwood demolition list, 908 Highland survives.

And let's not forget the 160 giant 80 to 100 year old hardwood trees Mayor Vaughan so graciously allowed to be cut down in 3 blocks in Glenwood without so much as uttering a word-- Mayor Vaughan, the champion of west Greensboro trees who doesn't give a damn about anyone else's trees.

Mr Bediz purchased 908 Highland from Housing and Urban Development in 2005. He completely restored the home. When UNCG and the City of Greensboro pushed Bulent Bediz into bankruptcy, Carolina Bank paid $35,000 to win the bid to buy the house. That was 2009.

Carolina Bank sold the house to Gate City Company in August of 2010 for $30,500-- a $4,500 loss. The Gate City Company is owned by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. The registered agent for the Gate City Company, according to the NC Secretary of State, is none other than Walker H Sanders, the same man who is responsible for paying $586,000 in taxpayer dollars to David Hagan without the approval of the Greensboro City Council. Just how someone who doesn't work for the City runs up bills on the City's behalf and gets away with it is another mystery yet solved.

In July of 2012, Gate City Company sold 908 Highland to Housing Greensboro, Inc for $500. Housing Greensboro, Inc was incorporated by Donald R Vaughan. Sound familiar? He should, he's married to Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan. Housing Greensboro, Inc is in-fact, Greensboro Habitat For Humanity. 

In August of 2013, after extensive remodeling and a room addition, Greensboro Habitat For Humanity sold 908 Highland to Jonathon O Neese and his wife, Madison for $105,000. Interestingly enough, the assessed value of 908 Highland is only$76,500-- a loss of $29,000.

Remember, this is Glenwood we're talking about. As far as I know the Neeses are just a couple who got suckered into paying too much for a house by another of Greensboro's "non profit" organizations.

According to Guilford County records the taxes were never behind at 908 Highland. and while the Neeses paid far more for the house in 2013 than Mr Bediz had paid for the house years before  their combined City-County tax bill at $677.41 was less than Mr Bediz had paid $725.58 when he bought the house in 2005.

Make sense to you? Me neither.

So what does this prove? It proves that the story of Bulent Bediz isn't exactly as Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan, Brian Higgins, Ben Holder and others have made it out to be. But then have any of their stories ever turned out to be what they claimed them to be?

And what does 908 Highland Avenue look like today? It's a good home, just like all those other cookie cutter Habitat for Humanity Homes.

Photo, Guilford County Register of Deeds.

In the weeks to come you can expect to read more about Bulent Bediz and why he is being persecuted and prosecuted by the City of Greensboro, UNCG and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. You'll come to rethink who the real heroes and villains are when it comes to who is destroying and saving our communities. And you'll understand how close each and every one of you are to losing the very homes you've worked your lives to keep.