"Greensboro City Attorney Tom Carruthers says the Heritage House Homeowners Association was supposed to pay the utilities for the building, but they currently owe the City of Greensboro between $50,000-$60,000 for water bills."
Tom Carruthers didn't say the tenants owed the bill. And he didn't say the home owners owed the bill. The homeowners association is a separate legal entity incorporated in the state of North Carolina with all the rights and responsibilities of any other legal entity. The HOA owns 15 units. The City has the right to take those 15 units. The City does not have the right to take 155 units that do not belong to the HOA. This is the point the ACLU and other lawyers will grind the city to death on. The lawsuits-- 155 lawsuits will cost in the millions. It could bankrupt the city when they add in pain and suffering.
The point is this: The Heritage House Homeowners Association owed the City $59,000 correct?
The Heritage House Homeowners Association held deeds to 15 units-- that I have verified via the Register of Deeds.
How is it the City of Greensboro can place a lien against 155 properties that do not belong to the entity that owes the water bill?
The answer is: The City cannot do so. Give it some thought. If three neighbors on your street fall behind on their water bills does that give the City of Greensboro the legal right to take possession of every house on your street? Of course not. Being under one roof is of no consequence as each and every unit has a separate deed. Think of the halls at Heritage House as if they were streets and each condo as an individual home with an individual deed.
As a matter of fact: each unit has an individual deed separated from the rest.
The city cannot punish the few who owned their homes and were living in them trying to do the right thing or the few landlords who might have been good landlords but that is exactly what is going on.
This is where the lawyers are going to chew the City to pieces.
Heritage House was a neighborhood just like any other neighborhood-- it just so happened that it was all under one roof. And that's the way the judges will view the case.
If some of the owners are found guilty in a court of law of violating laws or gross negligence then the city might have the right to take more units. The City of Greensboro is attempting to avoid the courts via something known as Civil Forfeiture-- the most insidious of all government practices-- and has seized the property without a court order.
The city wants you to believe that everyone living in Heritage House was renting their condos. That isn't the truth. I've already been in contact with Heritage House owners who lived in their homes there. They want their homes back. They were lied to and cheated by the Heritage House Homeowners Association and now they are being lied about and cheated by the City of Greensboro-- why?
The following video verifies there were homeowners living in Heritage House:
Why didn't the City just take the 15 units owned by the HOA and the 5.87 acres of common area worth millions owned by Southern Community Bank and Trust on which taxes have never been paid? That's right, 5.87 acres of prime real estate easily converted to commercial or industrial zoning on which zero taxes have been paid since Heritage House first opened its doors. Would 15 units and 5.87 acres of paved parking lot and commons areas not cover a $59,000 water bill? Such a move would also give the City of Greensboro a seat on the board of directors of the HOA if the City had really wanted to solve the problems there.
The City of Greensboro has the right to sue millionaire Charles Coffey and the rest of the board of directors of the Heritage House Homeowners Association but instead they plan to take deeded properties away from innocent people-- why?
Someone is intent on doing other things with that property. Some city council members are already talking about a retirement home there. Could it involve Britthaven of Greensboro which operates next door at 308 West Meadowview and is owned by Neil Realty Company of Kinston, North Carolina? That's right, North Carolina's largest chain of health care, nursing, and rehabilitation centers is owned by a realty company that operates under the names Hillco, Ltd. and Neil Realty Company.
Do we really want another nursing home owned and operated by a real estate company? We've already got Britthaven of Greensboro and Britthaven of Guilford just about a mile away.And Britthaven has one of the worst patent care records in the industry.
Another thing from the Fox8 article I linked above:
“Unfortunately this HOA failed in its duty,” said Carruthers.
Carruthers says the city plans to foreclose on the property.
“Will we recoup every dollar spent here? No. Will we put a lien for the water bill and the cost of closure? Yes,” said Carruthers.
Carruthers says the city will have to foot the bill for all the resources used to safely get tenants out of Heritage House. That includes staffing the property with as many as 50 police officers, which was a necessary precaution considering how emotional and stressful the situation has been for tenants."
Fifty police officers to guard that 1 building? How is it we need 50 police officers to guard it on overtime pay now that it is empty but couldn't find police officers enough to make it a safe place to live when it was inhabited? The City is simply trying to inflate the bill so that it becomes impossible for the homeowners to ever afford to come back. No more than 3 officers at any one time are needed to watch that building according to GPD officers who have talked to me off the record.