Volunteers at three community gardens are breathing easier after a series of court decisions staving off eviction by developers that each group believes obtained their garden's lot through shady means.

"It's crazy, all of a sudden my garden docket is clear," said Paula Segal, director of the green space advocacy group 596 Acres and lawyer for all three gardens.

On Tuesday, a judge discontinued the eviction case against the Eldert Street Garden in Bushwick. The order to toss the case doesn't specify why, but it comes after members of the green space near Knickerbocker Avenue successfully fought being locked out, saying they had never been served with eviction papers, and challenged the circumstances by which the lot sold for $300,000 last year. The gardeners got permission to use the derelict property in 2009 from board members of the owner, a defunct daycare nonprofit called Alianza de Damas Unidas de Brooklyn.

The 2014 sale was made by other people claiming to represent the board, and netted a middle-man named Ari Hertz $500,000, according to court filings by the Attorney General's Office. Property sales by nonprofits are supposed to be approved by the state attorney general, but this never was, the records indicate. The AG's Office opened an investigation into the sale in April and a lawyer for purported Alianza board president Elba Roman is now fighting a subpoena, filings show.

The buyer, Eldert Bushwick House LLC, had filed to build a four-story building on the plot, but now that its eviction of the gardeners has failed, it is reconsidering its options, representative Harry Schwartz said. Asked if he would challenge the gardeners' use of the property again Schwartz said, "They wanna use the garden, I'm okay with that." He added that the company has no plans to evict "at the moment." Asked if he and his partners still plan to build, he said, "not really."

He acknowledged that "Ari Hertz was the broker," then declined to discuss the transaction further.

In a statement, garden founder Kim Anderson pledged to fight on whatever the developer and law enforcement agencies decide.

"We'll continue to do our best to stay open as a community resource during these challenging times," she said.

The corner of Rogers Avenue and Park Place in Crown Heights is the site of a standoff between community gardeners and a development company. (Roger That Garden/Facebook)

The Eldert Street reprieve comes a day after a judge threw out the eviction against Roger That Garden in Crown Heights. Founded in 2006 on Rogers Avenue at Park Place after a long-abandoned hardware store there was demolished and locals tried in vain to contact the hardware store's owner, the garden is under threat from a company called TYC Realty, which claims to have purchased the property from the elusive proprietor for $10 in 2013. The gardeners found out about the eviction in June the week they were supposed to appear in court. TYC lawyers said they had served the gardeners in April, but the gardeners say that is baloney.

The eviction came after TYC tried to fence the gardeners out, filed permits to build a four-story apartment building in the place of their raised beds, and rejected offers to buy the land, upping their demand at one point to $1.5 million. The judge's recent order didn't go into detail, but specified that the developer could serve Segal in the future.

Crown Heights Youth Collective founder and Medgar Evers College history professor Richard Green has been involved in the garden from the beginning. He said the garden is just what New Yorkers need.

"New York City needs green space now more than ever," he said. "Everything’s being moved into buildings. People need space where they can see greenery, and that's what the space provides."

Segal said Roger That members recently found out that the lot has been foreclosed on for nearly $500,000 in tax liens, a fact she said TYC hid from the gardeners. The lot could soon go up for auction, and the gardeners may try to bid on it, she said.

A lawyer for TYC Realty did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The garden is also getting a boost in the form of legislation, proposed by Assemblywoman Diana Richardson and state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, to seize the property using eminent domain and hand it over to the gardeners under the management of the Parks Department. The lawmakers recently finished drafting the bills and are in the process of introducing them.

Montgomery wrote:

Since Roger That! Garden volunteers exercised every effort to secure the property legally and have invested nearly a decade into cultivating a garden beneficial for the entire community, and the current property owners obtained the land through questionable means and have continued to let liens accumulate on the property, we believe the best course of action is to acquire the property through eminent domain and permit Roger That! Garden to flourish.

The Maple Street Community Garden is battling eviction by two brothers who they say obtained the lot the garden occupies fraudulently. (Maple Street Community Garden/Facebook)

In Prospect Lefferts Gardens, similar bills have been proposed to take over the Maple Street Garden. The bills face a potentially unfriendly reception in Albany, as Gov. Cuomo vetoed a similar bill seeking to save a Williamsburg senior center from eviction.

The 237 Maple Street property is contested by Jamaica, Queens's Makhani brothers, realtors with histories of criminal and otherwise questionable dealings. The brothers' assertion that they bought the lot for $5,000 from nephews of the deceased owners back in 2003 suffered a setback on November 4th when Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Mark Portnow ruled the transaction "is of dubious validity."

In his decision appointing a guardian to get to the bottom of who the lot belongs to, Portnow noted that the Makhanis, operating through Housing Urban Development LLC (not to be confused with the federal agency), had lied three times in related court filings, had failed to serve the gardeners (though one found a notice in a plant bed nine months after the court case began), that their deed transfer named the two nephews but omitted their contact information, and that it provided no proof that the nephews were the "sole heirs" to the deceased owners. The judge's order bars the developer from interfering with the garden while the guardian investigates.

In October, the Makhanis' LLC filed to build a five-story, 17-unit residential complex on the lot. In an email to DNAinfo, the Makhanis' lawyer Michael Leon said they are the real ones suffering in all of this, and claimed they want to provide below-market rate housing:

The gardeners allege they are benefitting (sic) the community, but in fact they are performing work on the property causing hazards without insurance and creating a nuisance. It is Housing Urban Development who is the victim in this matter and is planning to develop the property with affordable housing for the community.