About 240 residents of Barefoot Camping Resort in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., last week filed individual lawsuits for damages, saying the campground managers encouraged owners to upgrade property but failed to tell residents that the owners intended to sell the land, according to a report in the Sun News.
“They should have notified these people [of the intent to sell], they shouldn’t have hid it from them,” said Bill Hanna, attorney for Barefoot residents.
Hanna says there is evidence that the owners knew in October that they were not going to continue running a campground.
Residents say Barefoot’s management promised them, among other things, that the property would remain a campground for at least 25 years.
An attorney for the campground’s owners, however, told residents April 21 that they have to leave within six months because the owners plan to sell the property. Barefoot is an oceanfront campground that leases permanent sites for one year to residents.
The rising price of coastal land, especially oceanfront, is enticing many landowners of golf courses – and now campgrounds – to sell to developers.
Barefoot residents earlier filed a class action lawsuit. Attorneys for the landowners filed a counter claim to that lawsuit, saying Barefoot residents have no entitlement to the 59-acre tract and therefore should post a $59 million bond – the assessed value of the property – or remove the claim against the land. The pending suit says that Barefoot residents claim an interest in the property.
“Each tenant had a one-year written lease agreement. That’s all and nothing more,” said Henrietta Golding, attorney for LLL Partnership, the landowner, and Barefoot RV Resort Inc. “Under state law, you can’t claim what someone told you if you can read the document.”
She said she has not seen the individual lawsuits yet but plans to file counter claims against each one.
“They filed the individual lawsuits because they know they are on weak ground with the class action,” she said.
Lawyers for the residents say they filed the individual lawsuits because each resident has a different amount of damages based on home value.
A few Barefoot residents last week were offered full price for their manufactured homes by Tom Rice, an attorney for the landowner, said Terry Fletcher, co-chairman of the Barefoot Residents Association and lead name on the class action lawsuit.
Previously, residents were offered a portion of their purchase price if they purchased the homes after 2001.