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One of Arizona’s high profile real estate families is demanding a group of seniors pay thousands of dollars each to continue living next to the golf course at Casa Grande’s Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort.
According to a report in the Arizona Republic, residents have filed a lawsuit in Pinal County Superior Court against the resort, owned by members of the Wolfswinkel family. The suit calls the premiums levied years after they bought their park model mobile homes “unconscionable.”
Last week, both sides agreed in court to a temporary injunction allowing residents to stay on their lots and not pay premiums until the court rules on the case.
Seven years ago, residents were enticed to the new resort just west of Interstate 10 with the promise of two years of free rent as well as future amenities. About 50 of those original buyers still live in their park models next to the original nine holes.
Residents said they bought the park models for about $30,000, and pay about $3,000 a year to rent their lot and an annual premium of about $600 for their golf course views. Over the years, the resort has made a number of improvements, including lush landscaping, an upgraded clubhouse with recreation classes and a swimming pool.
In November, Palm Creek sent a letter to the original families demanding premiums as high as $38,000. They were given three options: pay 60% up front; pay the entire premium upon sale of the park model; or move when the lease has expired.
Jack and Janet Harold are one of the original owners. Jack, 64, said Palm Creek is just trying to snatch profits from the residents who helped establish the resort.
“There have been some original owners who decided to sell and made some money over and above what their park model was worth,” he said. “The park sees it as their money because they’re the ones that put the improvements into the ground. They say we’re cheating the Wolfswinkel family.”
Palm Creek managing partner Ashton Wolfswinkel doesn’t disagree.
“The residents were taking advantage of what we created at Palm Creek by selling their park models at inflated prices,” he said. “We created the value. . . . They don’t have to stay if they’re not happy.”
He said one resident recently sold a used park model for $92,000, when a new model could be built for about $65,000. New residents must pay the resort a premium fee upfront for a golf course lot.
“It was never my intent to stir the pot,” Wolfswinkel said. “We just want a reasonable, amiable solution.”
The residents’ lawsuit asks the court to declare the premiums void. Attorneys on behalf of Palm Creek filed an answer to the lawsuit denying all claims. Both sides have until Feb. 15 to submit briefs and responses to Presiding Judge William J. O’Neil of Pinal County Superior Court.