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Judge appoints receiver for property of former Marshall Square residents

Injunction granted against Marshall Square

Posted: January 13, 2016 - 1:01am
Attorney John B. Long speaks to former Marshall Square residents after a hearing Monday morning.   Photo by Steve Crawford
Photo by Steve Crawford
Attorney John B. Long speaks to former Marshall Square residents after a hearing Monday morning.

An Augusta Superior Court judge appointed a receiver Monday to conserve and help recover property of former Marshall Square residents, who allege their personal belongings were taken and sold in the wake of a June 2 fire that displaced them from the Evans retirement resort they called home.

Superior Court Judge Carl Brown told attorneys representing the plaintiffs and assorted defendants that he had ruled to grant a temporary restraining order and an injunction against Marshall Square and its parent company, Resort Lifestyle Communities Inc., preventing any further disposal of residents’ property and to provide information that will help identify those parties who have sold or purchased any of their belongings.

Brown said the case “could benefit from the appointment of a receiver” and told the parties that he had appointed Freddie San­ders, a well-known attorney with the Augusta firm Ca­pers, Dunbar, Sanders and Bruck­ner, to serve in that role.

Brown said Sanders would be empowered to investigate the disposition of the property, and conserve and recover property, if he finds it. Both sides share in the fees to employ Sanders, Brown said.

After the brief hearing, John B. Long, an attorney for Charles and Margaret Moye and other former Marshall Square residents, said he was pleased with the ruling, including Brown’s granting the plaintiffs’ request to expedite the discovery portion of the civil lawsuit, which normally takes about six months or more.

Long said he wanted the discovery period to be shortened to “90 or less,” primarily because of the age of many of his clients, who are in their 80s and 90s and had lost all their worldly possessions in the blaze that destroyed
two-thirds of the Evans complex.

Long’s Dec. 16 motion alleges that residents’ property – such as jewelry, guns, furniture and other items – was removed by “unknown persons” from the Marshall Square apartments after the fire and sold at auction without authorization from residents or due process through the courts.

“The property auctioned by and disposed of by the defendants or their agents constitutes ‘stolen property’ and the title to such property was never passed to any person who either removed the property or subsequently stole the property,” the motion states.

Long said having Sanders appointed as a receiver will facilitate and speed the recovery of assets and compel the defendants to supply any evidence, such as photographs of residents’ property that might still
exist.

Long said he would be working with Harry Revell and Sam Nicholson, who represent another former resident, Rhetta Cadle, in her lawsuit against Marshall Square and the other defendants, to craft an order for Brown to sign.

Sanders said that without an order in hand he couldn’t comment on his responsibilities Monday, but he has had previous experience serving in the role as receiver, most notably in the case involving Dr. Richard Borison, a former psychiatrist, and
his partner, Bruce I.

Dia­mond, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia who were convicted of defrauding the government of millions in research funds in the 1990s.

Charles Mayers, an attorney for Resort Lifestyle Communities Inc., declined to comment at the hearing but issued a statement rebutting allegations made by the plaintiffs’ attorneys that the Marshall Square complex was built to circumvent building codes that applied to assisted living facilities in the county.

“Marshall Square is an Independent Senior Living community, not an assisted living facility or health care facility of any type. It was designed and built appropriately for its intended use, as approved by Columbia County before commencing its construction. The building passed all construction inspections by the County, evidenced by the County’s issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy,” Mayers’ statement said.

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