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Indiana man says name was used in Buncombe real estate deals ‘without my knowledge’

NC Secretary of State's office admits mishandling complaint

Eddie George's house in Gary, Indiana // Photo: Lake County (Indiana) Assessor

On paper, Eddie George was a savvy real estate investor, chairman of VLM Investments LLC that bought and sold nearly $1 million worth of properties in Buncombe County in a little more than a year.

But George, who is 65 and lives in a modest home in Gary, Indiana, alleges he had no knowledge of VLM or its business dealings and did not sign the legal documents bearing his name, according to relatives and a 2018 complaint he filed with the North Carolina Secretary of State.

George is the uncle of Lisa K. Roberts of Asheville, who, as Asheville Watchdog previously reported, has negotiated deals for investor Robert Perry Tucker II to acquire houses and lands from Buncombe homeowners, many of them elderly and/or Black, at far below market rates.

Roberts’s attorney,

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‘Missing’ Heirs: Local Attorneys Tell Court That Property Owners Can’t Be Found

“I’ve been in Asheville 20 years,” says one owner, easily located by Asheville Watchdog

Robert P. Tucker II, left, and Peter Henry at virtual court hearing // Screen capture by Sally Kestin

At stake inside a Buncombe County courtroom were a grandfather’s legacy and a family’s inheritance.

Asheville real estate investor Robert Perry Tucker II had just purchased 10 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but nine siblings in the Lyda family still had a claim to approximately 25 percent of the property, left to them by their grandfather.

So Tucker’s company went to court. Just three months later and without any input from the Lydas, Tucker’s company won a judgment that stripped the family of its land. The Lydas never had a chance to defend their ownership because, two of the brothers said, they never knew about the case.

Tucker’s lawyer, Peter R. Henry of Arden, reported to the court that none of the nine Lyda siblings could be located. Ile Adaramola, another attorney who had ties to Henry and Tucker outside the case,

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A Box Full of Cash and an Empty Promise

In Part 3: “If this is legal, it shouldn’t be,” a local lawmaker says

Most homeowners could never fathom strangers acquiring a portion of their property, obtaining a court order to sell it without their consent and depriving them of the value they’d accrued over years or decades of ownership.

There are legal protections against that, Tasha D’Ascanio thought — until it happened to her.

D’Ascanio and her uncle, Derrell Ray Pettit Jr., had each inherited half of a one-acre tract just outside West Asheville, with a tax value of $123,600, that had been home to three generations of their family.

But investors including Robert Perry Tucker II acquired the land and through an exploitive but legal process cut the family out of its fortune, an Asheville Watchdog investigation found. In the end, D’Ascanio got nothing, and Pettit ended up homeless for five months.

“I don’t know what happened,” D’Ascanio,

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