Rancho Mirage Country Club Development
A group of Rancho Mirage, California homeowners filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court against real estate developers, Ronald Richards, alleging that the defendants bullied elderly homeowners and depressed their property values in order to make them relinquish their rights to the neighboring golf course.
The complaint, filed by the Los Angeles branch of nationwide class-action firm, Hagens Berman, details the aggressively bad faith, retaliation tactics taken by Richards in multiple communities, including dumping five tons of raw manure next to the homes of residents who resisted their development project in Escondido, California.
It alleges that Richards routinely purchases golf courses inside residential communities and then destroy the courses in order to drive down surrounding property values. That way, they are able to pressure the elderly neighbors into allowing development projects. See a before and after photo of the Rancho Mirage community.
The complaint states that one of the homeowners is a career firefighter, while another was a decorated Army general. According to the complaint, the homeowners of Rancho Mirage Country Club are disproportionately elderly and living on fixed incomes. More than 25 percent of them are legally handicapped.
The complaint alleges that the homeowners have suffered $32 and $39 million in diminished value. All for the purpose of making them give up their rights.
“Defendants have received more than $100,000 in sanitary and aesthetic municipal fines in their campaigns against homeowners, which they routinely pay without changing their tactics. To them, that is just the cost of doing business. And doing business means getting homeowners to relinquish rights under their covenants,” the complaint states.
On December 23, 2015, the Court entered a preliminary injunction requested by Plaintiffs that requires Defendants to maintain the golf course property in a manner suitable for use as a golf course.
The suit seeks damages for loss of value to residents’ homes in an amount to be proven at trial, loss of their nonpossessory interest in the golf course, loss of quiet enjoyment of their homes and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
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