5 homeowners think Paugus Woods settlement is just a good start

LACONIA — An attorney for the five people who have been told they can sell their homes at the Villas at Paugus Woods back to developer Brady Sullivan Properties, LLC at cost has said that while the negotiated settlement between the developer and the Attorney General's Office is a step in the right direction, it does not fully address his clients' legal concerns.

Attorney Darrin Brown said yesterday that on behalf of his five clients, he may have to file a motion to intervene in the AG's suit in order to get the financial justice his clients are entitled to.

Brown said yesterday that settlement between the AG and Brady Sullivan announced earlier this week was about a  2011 suit filed by the Attorney General Office against the Brady Sullivan company and Brady Sullivan Paugus Woods, LLC over a violation of the Land Sales Disclosure Act — RSA 356-A.

That suit came after eight homeowners complained about poor quality modular home construction and the N.H. Fire Marshal discovered some of the modular components of their homes were not bolted together. Inspectors also found that some of the foundations under the modular units were not built such that the units could be supported. Other complaints coming from the subdivision off White Oaks Road were about electrical systems, ventilation and air-handling systems.

Brown was hired by five of the original eight complainants in Paugus Woods and in 2013 filed five separate lawsuits in Belknap County Superior Court against the developer for violations of the Consumer Protection Act as covered by RSA 358-A. The individual claims are for breach of contract and shoddy workmanship and ask for damages and legal fees.

The attorney said the rescission, or offer to buy back the five homes at their original selling price, is a positive step toward making his clients whole, but the conditions of the settlement also include the five dropping their individual lawsuits and agreeing not to talk to anyone, including the media, about the settlement — or, in other words, accepting a gag order.

Brown also said that some of the residents have invested money into their homes and the settlement does not include the value of those improvements nor does it include his legal fees — which are included in the 2013 individual suits.

"The offer is not compliant with the consent decree (in the 2011 AG v Brady Sullivan) suit, is prejudicial to (his clients), and seems unfair," Brown said.

Brown, however, said his clients consider the decree to be a promising development and are open-minded about continuing the dialogue with Brady Sullivan.

He said he will file a motion to intervene of behalf of his five clients in the 2011 suit should Brady Sullivan decide against further negotiation.

He said his clients are open-minded, but Brady Sullivan can't combine the five individual lawsuits of 2013 with the one brought forward by the AG in 2011 into one consent degree.