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Judge delays auction of Broken Angel • Brooklyn Paper

Judge delays auction of Broken Angel

Divine Intervention: Arthur Wood, an 80-year-old Clinton Hill artist, saved his Broken Angel House from a foreclosure auction — for now.
Community Newspaper Group / Kate Briquelet

Clinton Hill’s Broken Angel has been saved by divine litigation — at least for now.

Artist Arthur Wood’s famous hand-made ziggurat on Downing Street will avoid a foreclosure auction for another month as a judge decides his fraud case against lender Madison Realty Capital.

“Trust me, there’s going to be no foreclosure!” said the 80-year-old Wood, who bought the iconic home in 1972 and spent nearly three decades turning it into a handmade high-rise that has become one of the borough’s most recognizable buildings.

On Friday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Bernadette Bayne said that she’d rule on Wood’s mortgage fraud case in 30 to 60 days, but gave little hope for the Angel’s salvation in the end.

The Downing Street mansion — used as a backdrop in the film “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” — went into foreclosure in 2008 after Wood and investor Shahn Anderson defaulted on a $4-million mortgage.

The duo hoped to preserve the building by turning it into condos, but those plans fell through following the recession and the death of Wood’s wife, Cynthia, in 2010.

Still, the artist has held onto his homemade abode through a series of litigious maneuvers, including a suit against Anderson for failing to finish the building and an appeal of the foreclosure.

According to Wood’s 2009 complaint, Madison Realty Capital committed mortgage fraud by changing the dates on the paperwork.

Madison Realty Capital didn’t respond to The Brooklyn Paper’s requests for comment.

Broken Angel has faced trouble long before its current legal woes. A 2006 fire devastated the building — including the couple’s 50-foot glass and steel addition — leading the Department of Buildings to uncover a slew of code violations. Cops arrested the couple after they refused to heed an order to vacate.

Today, the manse is a forlorn shell with broken windows, bare wood, and Wood’s collection of art. Whoever buys it will inherit his lawsuits and a $2.7-million lien.

But Wood is holding the eternal hope that Broken Angel will once again be a one-family home — and even a museum.

“People are not going to miss the Broken Angel unless they look at it and come back and realize in its place is a Starbucks,” Wood said. “To look at it costs nothing. To go into a Starbucks will cost you fives bucks.

“You will miss it then,” he said, “forever.”

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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