Monday, June 1, 2009

Ginn Company Sued by Homebuyers - Employees Posing as Competing Buyers!?

A group of buyers in communities built by The Ginn Co. — including grandiose Tesoro in Port St. Lucie — are claiming the developer and its affiliates fraudulently inflated real estate prices.
A class-action lawsuit filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville targets Celebration-based Ginn, its sister companies, financing partner Lubert-Adler and banks that worked with Ginn, including SunTrust, Fifth Third Bancorp and Wachovia Bank.

The suit alleges Ginn led a scheme to bloat prices at every step of the process — from lavish sales launches to manipulated appraisals. Among the claims: Ginn staffers posed as competing buyers to pressure people to sign a sale contract.

The misdeeds happened in more than a dozen Ginn developments, starting as early as the late 1990s, according to the suit.

Some properties are now worth as little as 10 percent of their appraised value, “a phenomenon that absolutely cannot be explained by mere market downturn,” the suit states.
Buyers from as far as England and as near as Boca Raton are parties. They are seeking class certification.

“We will vigorously defend against this litigation and any other false allegation brought against our company,” Ginn spokesman Ryan Julison said.

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