Online film critic Jennifer Merin is currently in the middle of a bizarre and devastating battle over the loss of her family’s home in Queens, which she claims has been stolen via a phony deed filed by the current occupant.
The New York Post reports that the house, which has been in the possession of Merin’s family since 1931, was taken from Merin in February of this year. Merin first sensed something was wrong after a spike in the water bill, but she learned the full extent of the theft when one of its occupants, Darrell Beatty, claimed he was the current owner of the house. When Merin investigated, she found the locks changed, her car missing, and most of the possessions she’d left in the house gone.
Merin has since learned that Beatty, a convicted armed robber, filed a deed transfer that claimed he purchased the house from an “Edith Moore,” but that the address given for Moore does not exist. The Finance Department has confirmed that the deed is fraudulent, but Beatty has not been charged, as the case is currently part of an ongoing investigation into a possible ring of deed scams. Merin’s attempts to evict Beatty and his two adult sons in court, meanwhile, have been appealed after an initial approved eviction when Beatty failed to appear in court, as Beatty claimed he had health problems. Merin and Beatty are in court over the case again today.
Merin has written reviews and interviews for the New York Press, DocumentariesAbout.com and Women’s eNews. She also, notably, serves as the president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, for whom she blogs on the site Cinema Citizen. She’s a passionate advocate for women on film and for documentaries, with her recent posts including reviews of women-centric and women’s rights-centric documentaries like “The Invisible War” and “The Arbor.”
Merin first took her story to ABC News back in June, but it’s thankfully now getting the coverage it needs. Following the New York Post article on Sunday, Merin appeared on CBS News Monday night, and she’s found support from a number of film writers and critics online. Our hearts are with her through this ordeal.
— Jennifer Merin (@aboutdocsguide) October 13, 2014