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Developer responds to misconduct suit

Denies allegations; pays money toward mechanic’s liens

KINGWOOD — A North Carolina developer  denies allegations made against it in a lawsuit and has deposited money so that mechanic’s liens in another case can be lifted.

In September, Aaron and Elvia Sanders, of Virginia,  asked the Preston Circuit Court  grant a temporary restraining order to stop the sale of Lot 33 at Waterfront Preserve, declaration of breach of contract and other relief against the Waterfront Group WV, LLC.

In a separate court action in September, Waterfront Group WV, LLC, is suing DTEC Services LLC, a Kingwood firm, alleging it did not fulfill a contract to prepare the land for sale. In August, DTEC Services  filed mechanic’s liens totaling $592,769.98 in the Preston County Clerk’s office against Waterfront for alleged nonpayment.

Papers filed with the court show that Waterfront Group deposited in escrow $620,926.55, which is the total of the liens plus one year of interest at a rate of 4.75%, which is the rate set by statute. 

Under state code, this allows the liens to be released and is not an admission of guilt or liability.

Waterfront couldn’t sell lots in the development while the liens were in place because they “prevented the issuance of title insurance,” Waterfront’s attorney, Michael C. Cardi of Bowles Rice LLP, wrote in the filing.

 Whitewater Preserve is owned by The Waterfront Group, WV, LLC, which was created by the owners of The Waterfront Group in Cornelius, N.C. It is developing  1,806.5 acres in Pleasant and Grant Districts of Preston County.  

In the suit filed by Mr. and Mrs.  Sanders, they accuse the developer of a bait and switch tactic. According to the suit, they were shown Lot 33 and that’s the lot on their purchase agreement, but Waterfront later told them they had bought Lot 32.

In its response to the Sanders suit, Waterfront says, “actions of Waterfront’s contractor(s) caused a mistake in signage on certain properties” before Aaron and Elvia Sanders walked the property.

And, “the pricing index in existence on Aug. 8, 2020, also reflected incorrect information that corresponded to the mistakenly placed signage.”

As of Aug. 8, “the majority of Waterfront’s sales team,” including the Realtor who worked with the Sanderses, were not aware the signage was incorrect, according to the reply.

Waterfront denies  the company’s Realtor made a call to verify that Lot 33 was still available, when asked by the Sanders. It also denies that they walked  Lot 33 or were encouraged by the realtor to make an offer on the lot.

 “Waterfront admits the purchase contract mistakenly references Lot 33, but the intent of the parties was to execute an agreement for the sale of Lot 32,” the company says in its reply.

Furthermore, “the lot designation on the contract of sale is immaterial if the intent of the parties was contrary thereto,” wrote Waterfront’s attorneys.

In the suit, J. Brandon Shumaker, attorney for the Sanderses, says they were “advised that this contract contains no Right of Recission and is immediately binding on the parties.”

 The couple failed to mitigate their alleged damages, Waterfront says, and it reserves the right to prove it. “Waterfront asserts that, at all times material herein, it acted in good faith and dealt fairly with Plaintiffs,” the reply says.

Waterfront filed a counterclaim, requesting a declaratory judgment in the case and that the court say the purchase agreement is no longer in effect.

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