Property owners, tenants identify man who agreed to buy, rent homes

When Eugene and Lorri McGuire signed this Quitclaim Deed, they thought they had sold their Jewett City property and that they would be free from debt.
When Eugene and Lorri McGuire signed this Quitclaim Deed, they thought they had sold their Jewett City property and that they would be free from debt.

PROPERTY OWNERS, TENANTS IDENTIFY MAN WHO AGREED TO BUY, RENT HOMES

An investigation by The Day found more than a half-dozen instances across the state where property owners facing foreclosure allege they were misled and taken advantage of by Timothy W. Burke and companies with which he is associated.

These are the principals as identified by the property owners and tenants:

Timothy W. Burke was sentenced in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Sept. 10, 2003, to 60 months in prison followed by a three-year term of supervised release for his involvement in an equity skimming and mail fraud scheme. He began his probation Aug. 23, 2007, and two years later filed a motion to terminate supervision, which the court granted. At the time, he told the court he wanted to move to Ireland with his son, Ryan, who he said was mentally ill. It is not clear whether he moved to Ireland and, if he did, when he returned.

Burke is listed as the agent or managing member of four companies - Turnkey Construction Associates LLC; The Complete Handyman LLC; Landlord Maintenance Services LLC; and Quality Asset Management Services LLC - all of which share the same Milford address. The companies are registered with the secretary of the state but have not kept their business filings up to date.

On a recent visit by The Day to the Milford address, the business suite was empty. There were no signs on the door, and it was locked. Employees of a law office directly across from the suite said they hadn't seen Burke in a year and did not know where he was.

Homeowners and tenants interviewed by The Day said Burke represented himself as associated with three companies - Realty Partners Group, New Haven Investments and Saunders Associates. The Day's investigation showed these companies promised to buy foreclosed properties but never did, instead renting them out without the homeowners' knowledge. Tenants know Burke as Jimmy and homeowners know him as Bill.

Realty Partners Group and New Haven Investments share a post office box in New Haven, while Saunders Associates has a post office box in Fairfield. All three companies have the same fax number as Burke's attorney, Bradford Barneys.

The logos used by Realty Partners Group and Saunders Associates on their business letterheads - a small, red, purple and blue building on the upper left and black and white skyscrapers on the upper right corner - are the same.

Business cards for New Haven Investments and Realty Partners Group use the same image of a brownstone building.

When a reporter called Saunders Associates, the woman who picked up the phone said she provided an answering service for 12 companies. When asked to connect the caller to someone at Saunders Associates, Realty Partners Group, New Haven Investments or to Timothy W. "Bill" Burke, the woman hung up. Attempts to reach Burke by phone or at addresses that are affiliated with him were unsuccessful.

Bradford Barneys, the attorney for Timothy Burke, has a law office above a day care center on Boston Avenue in Bridgeport called Elle Em in Oh Pre. A person wouldn't know that a law office is in the building were it not for a printed notice taped on the main door notifying clients that the office is in suite 200. A flight of stairs leads to a lone, locked, wooden door. A young woman who answered a knock on the door would not let a reporter or photographer inside. She said Barneys was not in.

Barneys graduated from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1991 and shortly thereafter passed bar exams in New York and Connecticut. According to court records filed in Hartford Superior Court, Barneys practiced law in New York in 1992 and 1993 and then moved to the District of Columbia, where he worked for the Justice Department as a trial lawyer until 1996.

A grievance was filed against Barneys with the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland in 1998 after a client lost a substantial amount of money. While Barneys was not a member of the Bar in Maryland, a commission investigator found a lobby sign describing Barneys as an "attorney at law" and a law office sign in Barneys' name outside his suite in Langley Park, Md. A hearing judge subsequently concluded that Barneys represented at least five cases in the District Court of Maryland.

After a series of hearings and appeals, Barneys was disbarred in Maryland on Aug. 28, 2002. As a result, he also was disbarred in the District of Columbia on Nov. 24, 2004, and was suspended from practicing law in Connecticut for two years beginning Jan. 8, 2003. He was reinstated June 28, 2010, to practice law in Connecticut. He also was prohibited from representing clients before an immigration tribunal for five years, effective Feb. 24, 2011.

The Day was unable to locate Barneys for an interview.

1

Housing Scam

Henry McDonald believed he had sold his home to Realty Partners Group only to discover that the company had left the mortgage in his name and was renting the property. McDonald said Bill from Realty Partners offered him $2,000 for moving expenses so he could get the rest of his belongings out. At that meeting, he was given $1,000 in cash, as reflected on the receipt, above. McDonald said he never received the remaining $1,000.
Henry McDonald believed he had sold his home to Realty Partners Group only to discover that the company had left the mortgage in his name and was renting the property. McDonald said Bill from Realty Partners offered him $2,000 for moving expenses so he could get the rest of his belongings out. At that meeting, he was given $1,000 in cash, as reflected on the receipt, above. McDonald said he never received the remaining $1,000.

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments