Thousands of dollars worth of vehicles and tools were reported stolen from former NBA star Jayson Williams’ home in greater Bluffton, which is in foreclosure, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.
Among the property missing from 4 York Circle in Berkeley Hall are specialty tools left there by a consultant who lived in the home for about six months in 2011 while making repairs to prepare the house for sale, according to the consultant, Michael Walters.
Williams pleaded guilty in early 2010 to aggravated assault in the 2002 shooting death of limousine driver Costs Christofi in Alexandria Township, N.J. He was sentenced to five years in prison but released in April 2012.
Walters said he was contacted by Charles Houston Jr., who had power of attorney over Williams’ assets while he was incarcerated. Williams decided in September 2010 to sell the seven-bedroom home, and Walters was asked to fix it up.
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He also was asked to live there, in part because of concerns about security. In 2010, at least $60,000 worth of electronics, jewelry and sports memorabilia was reported stolen from the house.
Walters said he lived and worked at the residence from January 2011 until June 1, 2011, when Berkeley Hall security stopped him at the community’s gate and would not allow him inside. He said he had to leave his tools behind.
“We don’t know why, they just said, ‘You can no longer come in the front gate,” he said.
Berkeley Hall contends that Walters and Houston lost the right to work or live at the property after Williams revoked Houston’s power of attorney in February 2011, according to court documents.
Walters said he spent seven months in civil proceedings over Berkeley Hall’s decision to deny him access to the property.
He eventually was allowed inside in October, after the house went through foreclosure and MTGLQ Investors L.P., a subsidiary of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc., took ownership, according to court records. The bank escorted Walters to the house Nov. 19 to retrieve his property, including a Ford F-150 truck, two motorcycles, custom-made construction tools, clothing and household goods.
Walters could see the vehicles and items through the garage and guesthouse windows, but they were secured by electrical locks and there was no power to Williams’ home.
“I was very, very pleased to see all my equipment was just the way I left it,” he said. “But I’m not gonna break in, I’m not a crook.”
Walters planned to return with the bank’s agent after power was restored. However, about a month later, MTGLQ Investors L.P. took its own inventory. The bank sent Walters its pictures of the garage, images that did not document most of his property, worth about $75,000, he said.
“My truck looks like it drove out of the factory,” he said. “The specialty tools, they’re tools you can’t buy.”
In May, Walters, Williams and Houston sued the gated community in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, claiming Berkeley Hall wrongfully denied the contracted men from carrying out their work.
Berkeley Hall attorneys argue the men did not have a valid contract. When Williams’ wife filed for divorced in 2009, the court appointed a receiver to manage the couple’s properties, including 4 York Circle, the response states. They are still married.
Walters and Houston also made no attempt to retrieve their property after they were barred from the community, according to the response.
Several motions are pending before the federal judge, according to attorney Terry Finger, whose firm is representing Berkeley Hall. However, the lawsuit might go on without Williams after he filed to withdraw himself as a plaintiff Oct. 22.
For now, Walters said he’s concerned about his property — particularly his showpiece vehicles and custom-made tools.
“All I want is my stuff back.”
Reached Friday, Lt. Col. Bill Neill said the Sheriff’s Office had nothing new to report about the theft allegation.
Attempts Friday afternoon to reach Williams’ attorney were unsuccessful.