What’s A Developer To Do?

A massive monkey wrench has been thrown into the field of real estate development with a 55 million dollar verdict against developers of a condo conversion project in South Carolina.

Developers are the people we homeowners all love to hate. They’re the bane of our existence. Their rotten reconstruction work has led to the financial ruin of hundreds of thousands, even millions of American homeowners. So we generally stand and cheer when a jury hands down a huge verdict against a developer.

Well, let’s stand back and give this one a little reflection.

There are about 200 residents of the East Bridge Town Lofts in Charleston, South Carolina. They all bought into the idea of buying an apartment that was converted to a condominium. Sloppy work. Unlicensed building inspector, all the usual jazz. But including all the legal costs, each of these property owners will theoretically get about 300 to 400 thousand dollars. So far, so good.


…when the bankruptcy filings start filling the courts like an overflowing sugar bowl, where will those homeowners all be? When the delays and appeals to higher courts start piling up even higher costs, where will those homeowners be?

The American legal system was originally meant to provide justice for the injured. Sadly, that’s not the way things turned out. Oh, the lawyers on both sides will claim victory, of course. But the homeowners? The ones who’ve had to declare personal bankruptcy? The ones who’ve died or divorced or moved on to try to repair their lives elsewhere, what happens to them? Will they look back with great fondness on how the legal system treated them?

(South Carolina verdict)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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