Durham real estate businessman Booker Tate—who already was barred from managing or selling property and pleaded guilty to felony charges related to his business practices—was forbidden this month by the N.C. Licensing Board for General Contractors from doing construction and renovation work.
The injunction, issued by a Durham judge last year but just made public by the regulatory agency, is the latest development in a long history of the company formerly known as Dunbar Realty, a fixture on Durham's "Black Wall Street" since 1935.
In 2000, prominent civil rights activist Lavonia Allison turned her company over to Tate amid an ongoing investigation by N.C. Real Estate Commission regulators looking into Allison's financial management and complaints of unsafe living conditions in the low-income rentals. Tate renamed the business AT&G and Associates, but soon after Tate took over, clients complained they were not being paid rental income from houses he was managing (see www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A22712).
In 2004, the state revoked Tate's real estate license. In March 2005, he was indicted on four felony counts of obtaining property under false pretenses, leading to a guilty plea to at least one charge, a suspended sentence and five years probation (see www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A23875).
In the most recent development, the general contractors board accused Tate and a business partner, Prince Hatley, of contracting to do a construction and renovation project valued at more than $30,000—a project that requires a license, neither of which Tate or Hatley had, according to regulators. After the sheriff's department couldn't find either man to serve them paperwork, a judge issued the order prohibiting them from undertaking future projects.