Questions about the future of the Slave Theater have been raised to a higher level with the current photo exhibit at Five Myles Gallery. The theater is a part of what’s left of the estate of Judge John L. Phillips after passing through the hands of four court-appointed guardians.
We spoke with Reverend Samuel Boykin, the court-appointed administrator of the Phillips estate and a nephew the eldest of Judge Phillips on the status of the estate.
He is the only member of the family the court has given permission to make financial decisions regarding the estate. However, Synphonie Moss, a cousin, was able to make personal decisions a regarding the person of Judge Phillips. But had overruled Moss and Boykin in placing Phillips in the Castle Senior Living at Prospect Park residence, rather than allowing him to stay at home. Boykin is now suing the residence for wrongful death negligent health care.
As we go to press, Reverenc Boykin told us that he spoke with the state comptroller’s office on Tuesday, and they said they are actively considering doing an audit of the Brooklyn Supreme Court Guardianship program. Boykin has charged that the illegal handling of the estates of elderly people, the misappropriation of funds and in some cases embezzlement and mortgage fraud should be a part of that probe in the handling of the Phillips estate.
He also told us that he has spoken with a representative of the NYS Unified Court System Office of Administration who said they were investigating some of the activities of the court-appointed guardians in the Judge Phillips case. DG
Boykin: “Judge John L. Phillips had 13 properties listed with the Brooklyn Supreme Court Guardianship program. Of those 13 properties listed, there was only rent recorded being collected for two months for two properties at 563 & 565 Nostrand Avenue, no other property has paid rent in 13 years.
OTP: The people in the Slave Theater now, what is their status?
Boykin: No one has paid rent in the entire time they’ve been there and all are there in a state of trespassing.
OTP: But they have access.
Boykin: That’s because they won’t leave voluntarily. I have an eviction notice that has been going on for 5 months, and I’m waiting on the court’s decision to evict. We’re having a hard time selling the buildings because people want a building empty. Not with tenants who have not paid rent in ten years.
OTP: But what about the electric?
BOYKIN: Dr. Paul Lewis of the Messengers for Christ World Healing center on the second floor is paying the utilities. It’s an international church. His church has been there for eight years and he is not paying any rent. Mr. Hardy (downstairs) uses the church’s utilities and is paying zero bills. People assume he is the spokesman for the family because he happens to be there.
OTP: And the status of the Slave Theater?
Boykin: I’ve terminated my agreement with Massey and Knakel. I put a “For Sale” sign on both theaters, “For Sale by Owner”. I’ve received over a hundred calls. We’re accepting bids and those that are authentic and qualified I will turn over to the attorneys.
What’s next for the Slave and the Black Lady Theater is that they must be sold because we owe over $2 million dollars in back taxes and liens. No property taxes on any of the properties have been paid in ten years.
OTP: Whose responsibility is it to have paid those taxes?
Boykin: These past guardians sold all the property and paid no taxes and filed no taxes.
OTP: Where did that money go?
Boykin: A lot of that money we can’t find. It’s been a continual embezzlement against the estate of Judge John L. Phillips non-stop by court-appointed guardians, by people who were close to Judge Phillips and say they loved him, but remain in the buildings without paying rent or taxes and others.
OTP: When you say that past guardians have been guilty of breaking the law, specifically, which laws are you talking about?
Boykin: Failure to file taxes. Estate taxes, state and city taxes. Selling property way undervalue. Waiving of the guardianship law. Failure to advertise property they were selling. Paying off illegal mortgages. Mortgage fraud was committed against 68 Cumberland Street for $391,500. Instead of the court reporting these people to the District Attorney’s Office and sending them to prison, they allowed Imani Taylor to pay off the loan from Judge Phillips’ account. I couldn’t get anyone to respond until recently. I sent information to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Supreme Court Appellate Division, State Attorney General, NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct. Judge Phillips’ case is not isolated. Anyone in the guardianship program is at the mercy of court-appointed attorneys and others who collaborate in mismanaging the estates.
OTP: And the longer it takes, the more money everybody makes.
Boykin: That’s correct.