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A real estate attorney and a former staffer for the city of Detroit maintained Tuesday that Robert Carmack did not pay for the southwest side property he sold for $1 million to an Illinois developer.

Bruce Goldman, an attorney for the city who oversees real estate transactions, and a former city employee who worked on real estate transactions were called back to court to face questions from Carmack's defense attorneys about emails they wrote in 2017 concerning the disputed Melville Street parcel.

Chidi Nyeche, a former staffer for the city of Detroit's planning and development, acknowledged writing in a  2017 email to Goldman that Carmack had closed on the property.

But Nyeche testified Tuesday in 36th District Court he later retracted the email, saying he made the comments in error because he found that the sale was rescinded and that $70,000 was refunded to Carmack.

 Carmack's co-counsel Lillian Diallo also asked Nyeche about a later email in which Goldman said the sale of the Melville property was approved by Detroit City Council and that the $70,000 refund was for another property and not the site at 7751 Melville.

Nyeche said "there was no check in my file" for the Melville property from Carmack but did not dispute a closing settlement.

Goldman testified it would have been "impossible" for Carmack to have closed on the Melville property because he had not paid for it.

"There was no closing," Goldman said. He said for real estate to be conveyed to a new owner, "funds would be exchanged and the deal would be closed."

Judge Cylenthia Miller asked Goldman why there was no notation of the words "copy" or "draft" on the deed that Carmack's attorneys say he has on the property, noting that the city maintains the document is not official.

"This is a copy," Goldman replied.

Carmack, 59, of Woodhaven is charged with four felonies in connection with his 2016 sale of the 10-acre property in southwest Detroit. Authorities contend he never completed a $250,000 purchase of the site but used draft documents from 2007 to fraudulently represent that he owned the land before selling it.

Both sides rested Tuesday and closing arguments are expected when the preliminary hearing continues Friday.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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