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23rd Apr 2024

Man returns home to land he bought to find someone’s built a $1.5 million house on it


‘I own that and I never sold it.’

A man is taking legal action after he returned to the land he had purchased to find a house already being built on it.

Dr Daniel Kenigsberg bought the half-acre strip at 51 Sky Top Terrace in Connecticut in 1991. The land, just outside of New Haven, was close to the site of his childhood home, which his dad bought in 1953 for $5,000.

Kenigsberg never lost his fondness for the town. For decades, he held on to a vacant parcel of just under a half-acre next door to his childhood home. His father had bought that land, also in 1953, directly from Eleazar Parmly Jr. — the family that settled the area in 1716.

Greenwichtime reports that despite raising his family in Long Island, after medical school in New York and a residency in Maryland, Kenigsberg never lost his fondness for the two, so held on to the land

He hoped to pass it on to a future generation of Kenigsbergs. “Certainly if one of my children wanted to live in Fairfield, Connecticut, I’d be very happy about that,” Kenigsberg told the publication.

However, that plan was scuppered when a close friend called him on May 31 to say work had begun to build a home on the vacant lot. Recalling the conversation, he told CT Insider:

“I said, ‘I own that and I never sold it’. I was shocked.”

Four-bedroom house was valued at $1.45 million.

Dr Daniel Kenigsberg visited the site, where he saw a cleared site and a 4-bedroom house, nearly completed.

According to official records, the land was sold to 51 Sky Top Partners LLC for $350,000 in October 2022, something Kenigsberg says he knows nothing about.

He is now suing the firm involved on nine counts including trespass, statutory theft, and unfair trade practices.

The lawsuit seeks to make the sale of the land void. Kenigsberg is also seeking $2 million in damages.

He is also demanding that the company involved removes “any structures and/or materials from the Property and restore the Property to the condition that it was in prior to Defendants’ trespass upon it”.

According to a listing, the four-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot house, which was valued at $1.45m, was subject to an offer following its listing in March. Kenigsberg said:

“I’m angry that so many people were so negligent that this could have happened. It’s more than obnoxious – it’s offensive and wrong.”

Fairfield Police Lieutenant Michael Paris told Greenwichtime that a criminal probe is underway to determine who received money from the buyers.

“It’s still under investigation as of this point,” said Paris, the department spokesman. “It’s a bank account transfer.”

The lawsuit claims that a ‘Daniel Kenigsberg’, from Johannesburg, South Africa, had forged a power-of-attorney to steal real property. The power of attorney, it’s claimed, was granted by Anthony Monelli of Trumbull, Connecticut.

Gina Leto and Greg Bugaj of 51 Sky Top Partners have now said they too were the victim of a scam, according to reports.

A statement from 51 Sky Top Partners reads: “We learned to our shock and dismay that Kenigsberg, had not, in fact, sold the property to us.

“Rather, a third party had impersonated Kenigsberg and — through the carelessness and neglect of the various real estate professionals involved in the transaction — managed to list, market, and sell the property without anyone ever catching on.”

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