A woman won her vacant property back this week after a Forsyth County judge ruled in a lawsuit that alleged a Winston-Salem man and others stole the property by forging the deed and other documents and creating a fake company.
The Winston-Salem man, Isaiah Baskins, was briefly famous four years ago when he accused a volunteer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center of assaulting him and using a racist slur. Baskins is black. He posted a seven-minute video of the confrontation on YouTube that became viral. Criminal charges against the volunteer, who was dismissed by Baptist, were dropped after Baskins failed to come to court.
According to a lawsuit and affidavit in the recent case, Doris Stubbs, who lives in New Jersey, owned a property on Claremont Avenue. The lawsuit, filed in Forsyth Superior Court in December 2019, alleged that Baskins, his wife, Whitnee Watkins, and another person, Robert Baskins fabricated deeds in an effort to transfer properties to a fake company called Piedmont Equity Investors. Through that company, the properties were transferred to "innocent third parties." No criminal charges connected to these allegations have been filed.
Efforts to reach Isaiah Baskins, Watkins and Robert Baskins were not successful. The court papers don't say whether Isaiah Baskins and Robert Baskins are related.
Stubbs said in an affidavit that a deed signed by her late husband gave her the property in 1999 and the only person she allowed to stay in the house for a period of time was her niece in 2018. In 2019, she said law enforcement contacted her and told her that people were staying in the vacant house.
The lawsuit said that the defendants created fake notary seals and that the names of the notaries were also faked. The company Piedmont Equity Investors is not registered with the N.C. Secretary of State, the lawsuit said.
Isaiah Baskins, Watkins and Robert Baskins are alleged to have rented the house to "unsuspecting individuals," the lawsuit said.
Stubbs' attorneys, Andy Fitzgerald and D. Stuart Punger, filed the lawsuit to get an injunction and to declare that the allegedly forged deed was null and void.
Judge Richard Gottlieb of Forsyth Superior Court held a hearing on the matter Tuesday. The defendants, who have not filed a written answer to the complaint, did not show up, and Gottlieb ruled that the deed transferring the property was invalid.
"Ms. Stubbs worked thousands of hours to buy and pay off that house, and then the house was taken from her in moments," Fitzgerald, one of her attorneys, said in a statement. "We are grateful that she has her house back."
The incident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center happened on April 14, 2016. Baskins said he had gone to the hospital for an appointment for his daughter, who was 3 weeks old at the time. At a news conference in June 2016, he said that his daughter had a heart condition and had gone through two heart surgeries.
Baskins said that the incident started when the volunteer complained about his two other children making noise in the lobby on the seventh floor. He said the volunteer kicked and pushed him and used the N-word.
Baskins' attorney, Justin T. Bamberg, accused prosecutors of not notifying Baskins or him about any court date or about preparing for trial.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill disputed Bamberg's contentions, saying that court dates are public record and that his office corresponded with Bamberg's office about the court date.
The medical center dismissed the volunteer after the incident and issued an apology.
Isaiah Baskins has had other run-ins with the law, including an incident in which he was accused of locking himself inside a utility room at Polo Laundry and calling in a false 911 call to avoid being discovered.
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