Pickwick Pines homeowners get fee reprieve

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

ABERDEEN – A group of homeowners at Pickwick Pines Resort won a concession in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Friday with a preliminary injunction that at least delays an increase in their homeowner fees for 2013.
Attorney General Jim Hood was awarded the preliminary injunction, another step in an almost three-year-old consumer protection action against the resort and owner David McMeans.
“The homeowner fees continuously increase despite the fact that the brochure used to entice potential homeowners expressly stated that fees would not change,” reads one of nine arguments in Hood’s motion.
The attorney general further contends in the motion that McMeans sought to delay his agency’s action against the resort by filing bankruptcy in June 2012.
When the attorney general’s office filed the consumer protection lawsuit on Jan. 22, 2010, fees had already reached $1,800 per year after starting at $500 per year in 2003, although the resort’s promotional materials say homeowner fees would not change. Notice of the latest increase would have fees going from $2,100 to $2,400 per year.
“The fees are not substantiated by services and amenities being provided as a result, despite such promises by the defendants,” the attorney general’s motion further reads. “Further, in the face of a chancery court’s order to compel, the defendants failed to provide their financial records in discovery to show what they are, in fact, doing with the money.”
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com