Howard hunts for broker who made client’s money disappear

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BROOKLYN -- Most of us have probably been there. You put down money on something you really can’t afford. Nikomo Rios did it for an apartment in Brooklyn with a broker named Anthony Howell of Skybox Realty.

“There was a studio apartment I was interested in,” Nikomo said. “The one I wanted wasn’t available. He told me about another one. It was a penthouse suite that was beyond my budget, but I was like, it was a little beyond my budget. I was excited. I decided to move forward and pay the broker fee. (Then)I spoke with my accountant and she said that’s beyond your budget!”

So the day after he put down $2,000 he got in touch with Howell and said he couldn’t afford the apartment and needed his money back. No problem for Howell, at least not until Howell’s bank would not honor a PayPal refund he issued.

Nikomo says Howell gave him the refund rerun around for weeks. Eventually he got in touch with me and we went looking for the erstwhile Howell.

Turns out the address I had for him was actually his parents’ house. And his ex-wife lives across the street. The ex-wife says she hasn’t seen him in three years. But it seems his mom may have gotten in touch with Howell after I spoke with her. Howell got into a three-way texting game with Nikomo and me. The upshot was he agreed to give Nikomo a cash refund the next day at PIX11.

So Nikomo and I waited. And waited. And waited. And guess who never showed up. No good explanation. Howell was just playing another game.

So for now, where does that leave Nikomo? He has a court judgment against Howell and he may have to ty to enforce it.

Of course, Howell could still do the right thing and give Nikomo his $2,000 back. If you read this – and I know you will, Anthony – how about it? We’d love nothing better than to report that you eventually did the right thing.

In the meantime, people, all you can do is protect yourself and look out for Anthony Howell the President of Skybox Realty (supposedly located in Midtown Manhattan but found mostly on the web).