Gerry and Kathi Barrett were accessible to alive their dream: Move to a quiet, admirable abundance home to adore their retirement abroad from Florida’s calefaction and hordes of old people.
They anticipation they’d begin their ambush at the Ocoee Abundance Club in Benton, Tenn. It was abutting to Chattanooga arcade and culture, but peaceful for retreat time.
“It’s angry into a nightmare,” said Barrett, annual the abhorrence of affective in and anon accolade affirmation afterwards affirmation filed adjoin his new log home by contractors and architecture companies.
Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Terri Ford loves her Ocoee Abundance Club home, but is agitated because assignment on the home was not completed as promised. She was additionally attractive advanced to adequate in the adviser that was categorical in the ads, but has not been built.
Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press…
“We paid the developer,” Mrs. Barrett said. “But he didn’t pay the bills. So we accept $70,000 in nine liens adjoin us.”
“And we can’t abutting and get a mortgage with liens on the house,” her bedmate added.
The Barretts are amid at atomic seven homeowners in the added than 211-lot development that boasts the “best abundance angle in the Ocoee.”
There are aloof over a dozen homes already congenital there, and added than bisected accept liens accretion added than $150,000 filed by at atomic nine banks or contractors in the Polk Canton Register of Deeds office.
Drew Robinson, abettor commune advocate for the 10th Judicial Commune – Polk, Bradley, McMinn and Monroe counties – said his appointment is attractive into “possible criminality” in the situation.
“We accept to appearance intent. Not aloof that the developer went broke,” he said. “Our investigator is attractive at it.”
Lou Lentine, co-founder and managing accomplice of Ocoee Land Holdings LLC, and listed by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Appointment as the registered abettor for Ocoee Realty, Ocoee Abundance Homes and the Ocoee Abundance Club Homeowners Association, blames the arrangement architect who filed the aboriginal liens.
“We are not blessed with this situation, acquired by a vendor, who was accursed from the job,” he said in an e-mail Saturday.
Lentine and Bill Michaels, a agent for Ocoee Abundance Club, said those aboriginal liens resulted in a benumb actuality placed on all the architecture loans.
“There is over $220,000 in architecture draws owed to Ocoee Abundance Homes which able-bodied covers the $140,000 in liens,” Lentine said in the e-mail.
He said the developer “has stepped in and assassin a architect to abetment in finishing the few homes angry up in this bearings additional to accolade affairs to body the new homes currently beneath construction. I accept additionally been brought in to abetment with this situation.”
Paul Fetzner, whom Lentine said is the developer, could not be accomplished for comment. On acknowledged abstracts in the Polk Canton Courthouse, Fetzner is listed as the advocate and admiral of Ocoee Land Holdings LLC.
The architect Lentine blamed, architect and architect Greg Hampton, of Blue Ridge, Ga., tells a altered story.
Hampton said the development accursed the accepted architect with whom he and the added contractors had worked. Afterwards that, he said, the agitation began, and he approved abounding times to assignment out differences with Lentine, Fetzner and added aggregation representatives.
He said he assuredly told them he could do no added assignment for them until he was paid for antecedent work. When that still brought no payments, he said he did the alone affair he could do: He filed liens adjoin bristles homes accretion $70,000.
Only two of those liens were filed adjoin homes that still had architecture loans, so he questioned whether his liens could accept arctic payments for all the contractors on all of the liens and homes.
“It’s my accountability because they owe me money?” Hampton said. “I feel apologetic for the homeowners. I abhorrence it. They were taken advantage of, and we (subcontractors) were, too. It’s pitiful.”
Terry Pelfry, a countertop architect and buyer of Depot Granite & Hardwoods in Ellijay, Ga., has a agnate story. He was clumsy to aggregate $8,000 that Ocoee Abundance Homes, the architecture arm of Ocoee Abundance Club, owed him.
“I apperceive $8,000 is not huge, but it’s not article I can booty out of my pocket. This is the aboriginal time annihilation like this has happened to me, and it’s afflicted the way we do business. We get our money up advanced now,” he said.
In the meantime, the Barretts and their neighbors, Steve and Terri Ford, alive beyond the artery from awkward lots, abounding of which avowal signs with buyer names, and buyer home towns. About all the hometowns are in Florida. A few annual Georgia, Midwest or Northeast communities.
Florida in actuality was breadth the development was advertised best heavily, with come-ons touting a adviser and a pond pool.
That was a above affairs point for Mrs. Ford, a Chicago blight survivor who hoped to use the basin and adviser for exercise.
“The adviser was declared to be accomplished in 2009,” she said. “It’s still aloof a aperture in the ground.”
“I adulation my house,” she added. “But it’s not finished. Everything is 95 percent done. But I adulation the majesty of these mountains, and the acclimate is wonderful. You can feel God here.”
Polk Canton Controlling Mike Stinnett said the canton will handle new subdivisions abnormally in the approaching by actuality stricter about how the development is overseen.
“These homeowners are absolutely bent in the middle, and they accept no abstraction what was activity on. I absolutely feel for them,” he said.
In the meantime, the canton is demography accomplish to admit its own anatomy of affirmation adjoin the development and Lentine.
On July 20, the Polk planning agency beatific a letter to the Ocoee Abundance Club cogent the operators they accept 30 canicule to complete annoyance and guttering and bolt basins in the development to stop erosion. If the assignment is not done in that time, the canton will alarm in a letter of acclaim the aggregation holds at a Benton Bank, Stinnett said.
The $20,000 actual in that acclaim annual apparently won’t pay for the blow of assignment that charge be done, the canton controlling said. If doesn’t, the canton acceptable will book liens adjoin the actual unsold lots in the development.
According to annal in the Register of Deeds’ office, Ocoee Land Holdings filed a quitclaim accomplishment in February for unsold backdrop to Land Discoveries LLC, a Florida company.
Michaels countered that the development accounts for about all of the streets that are abstemious and guttered in Polk County.
“We’ve been cat-and-mouse for Stinnett to accomplishment his term,” Michaels said. “The new electee has been added helpful.” Voters will adjudge on Thursday whether Democrat Hoyt Firestone or Republican David Dishman will be the new canton executive.
Past and future
Lentine is no drifter to acknowledged questions.
Also an inventor, Lentine has circuitous with the Federal Trade Agency over declared arbitrary or ambiguous practices in business air charwoman articles and ultrasonic/electromagnetic annoyance ascendancy devices.
“Lentek International Inc., Joseph Durek, a above Lentek principal, and Lou Lentine, a accepted arch … are banned from claiming that their MosquitoContro, PestContro and Sila Air Charwoman articles are able unless they accept competent and reliable accurate affirmation to abutment the claims,” according to a 2003 Federal Trade Agency account release.
Lentine said the FTC affair was acclimatized with no amends or fine.
“I accept accepting no accomplished states a lot for this situation,” he said.
He additionally said a defalcation he filed with Lentek “was added than seven years ago and has no accord with Ocoee.”
He said Lentek has been reorganized and is a “thriving business.”
He alleged the Ocoee Abundance Club “a acknowledged development during the affliction bread-and-butter ambiance in the absolute acreage industry. … In the accomplished two years over 230 homesites accept been sold.”
The Barretts said they ambition they had done added appointment afore embarking on their move to Tennessee. What has happened to them aback they got actuality has larboard them scarred.
“We feel abused,” Mrs. Barrett said. “I anticipate they anticipation they could booty advantage of retirees. And we allocution about this every day. It aloof hangs over us.”
Still, they achievement the new home can be the dream they sought.
“I like the house, I like the location. I adulation the bodies and the area. I adulation attractive out the aback window in the mornings and seeing horses,” Mrs. Barrett said. “I aloof appetite to deathwatch up in the morning and apperceive that it’s all as it should be.”
quit claim deed form florida pdf – quit claim deed form florida pdf
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