Lawsuit seeks $13.5 million from Sequatchie Pointe developer

Lawsuit seeks $13.5 million from Sequatchie Pointe developer

February 24th, 2009 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

At least half a dozen people who bought land in the Sequatchie Pointe development in Marion County, Tenn., have filed complaints against the developer claiming they were misled, court records show.

The plaintiffs are all Florida residents who purchased property from Sequatchie Mountain LLC. Marion County Chancery Court records show Sequatchie Mountain is owned by J.J. Detweiler Enterprises Inc. of Uniontown, Ohio. The suit also names Joe J. Detweiler, Bradley L. Watson, Dan Graber and John Barrack.

Calls to J.J. Detweiler Enterprises and Sequatchie Mountain LLC were not returned.

Donald and Patricia Bird and John and Shirley Hallman are seeking $13.5 million in a class-action complaint that claims Sequatchie Pointe was never an approved "development" under local and state law and that the company misrepresented properties to customers, records show.

Sequatchie Pointe, atop Ladds Mountain near New Hope, Tenn., did not have "the required final approval of the Marion County Planning Commission, the Marion County road superintendent, the Marion County Health Department and other regulatory agencies," documents state.

The Birds and Hallmans claim Sequatchie Pointe developers "wrongfully targeted out-of-state elderly persons. Specifically, holding home 'parties' in Land O'Lakes, Fla., and offering a 'minivacation' as an incentive," court records state.

Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger said, as far as he knows, the Sequatchie Pointe developers have satisfied local regulations.

"I'm not personally aware of any county regulations that they've failed to meet," Mr. Gouger said.

Another complaint against Sequatchie Mountain LLC was filed by Florida residents Richard J. and Mary L. Czajka, records show. The lawsuit claims the company refused to allow the Czajkas to cancel their transaction within three days as allowed under state law, records show.

Graham Swafford, the Czajkas' attorney, said his clients simply wanted to "get out of the deal" and go back to Florida.