DETROIT (WJBK) –Kenny Brinkley plays a mean saxophone. He’s a military veteran and was a member of the Motortown Revue band and the decoys. He played all over the world.
But home is a modest place and his family has owned the house on Taylor Street in Detroit since 1951.
“My family have had it so long and I don’t want to lose it,” he says. “I got a lot of memories here.”
In 2010 Kenny and his longtime partner, artist and educator Sandi Combs, lost the home when Brinkley had major heart surgery and she lost her full time job.
They said in 2011 the new owner agreed they could rent to own, but they never signed a land contract. For years they paid $300 a month to Detroit Property Exchange to live here – until last fall.
“That’s when we found out that Detroit Property Exchange, the entire time that we paid them, had never paid any property taxes whatsoever,” Combs says.
So the house was again sold at auction. Kenny and Sandi didn’t even know, and continued to pay $300 a month to Detroit Property Exchange until they received a notice of eviction in November.
Sussex Immobilier, out of New Jersey, had purchased the home for $19,500.
Sussex says the house needs repairs and is too run down to rent to Kenny and Sandi.
The property manager tells FOX 2 that if the couple wants, they can purchase the house for $46,000 and keep it. If not, they have to leave, because the investor wants to renovate it and rent it out.
But they can’t afford that and the thought of leaving behind a house they’ve had for so long is heartbreaking. The eviction paperwork has already been filed and a move in the middle of winter seems imminent.
“He’s 82, I’m 64,” Combs says. “And we’re going to have to have a lot of help to orchestrate a move and to find another place to live.”
The owner tells FOX 2 they will give the couple time to pack up and relocate. Brinkley and Combs are still hoping to find a solution to stay in their home.