A property company owned by Dallas Mavericks point guard Devin Harris accrued $193,636 in building code violations and at the beginning of the year owed $251,000 in back taxes on properties, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation. Currently, the Harris-owned Divine Momentum LLC owes about $160,000 combined in fines and back taxes.
Harris, a Milwaukee-area native who attended the University of Wisconsin, bought 67 rundown properties in for about $600,000 in 2012, or $9,000 per property. It seems that initially the company responded to maintenance issues and was improving the properties, but in late-2013 that stopped. In a letter to the city, Divine Momentum wrote that their former property manager faked doing his job while collecting a salary, while he told the Journal Sentinel he was actually ordered to cease all but emergency work.
According to a city attorney, Divine Momentum is the worst building code offender in Milwaukee:
Over three years, Divine Momentum had 57 cases filed against it in municipal court — so many that it was “the number one offender in the City of Milwaukee as it relates to code enforcement,” according to Adam Stephens, a deputy city attorney. Those comments came in a November letter rejecting the company’s request to waive all of its remaining fines.
Besides Harris seemingly being an aspiring slum lord, the most interesting part of the story is the secrecy surrounding Divine Momentum. According to the Journal Sentinel, Harris isn’t named on any public company documents, and city officials had no idea who owned the company. They were able to confirm his involvement through that former property manager, and a Divine Momentum attorney who used Harris’s name multiple times, but still tried to get the paper to not name him.