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Archive for July, 2012

ONLY ON 3: Property owners want to know where money, developer Saunders are

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Coastal Companies in Brunswick County will tell you it is the area’s biggest employer, but some customers paint a different picture. Upset property owners say developer Mark Saunders stole their money and ran.

Records show Saunders owes $3.5 million in taxes dating back to 2008.

“Coastal Communities created a dream, and they also shattered that dream,” Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato said.

Property owner Norman Fitzgerald agrees.

“The sales people said this was going to be his crown jewel – the Jaguar’s Lair Property – and that was going to be his legacy to the community,” Fitzgerald said.

Property owners like Fitzgerald were expecting lush greens, blue water and lavish luxury similar to Ocean Ridge Plantation, which was also developed by Saunders and the Coastal Companies. Instead, they have loose wires, run down buildings, empty lots and roads to nowhere.

To understand their pain, you need to know where it all began.

Property owners paid between $300,000 and $500,000 per lot six years ago. Then they lost even more.

“For many people that was there lifetime savings, and that has impacted their quality of life,” Cerrato said.

We received email after email. Complaints from property owners. They’re paying home owners association fees for unfinished amenities in Jaguar’s Lair. They can use all of the amenities at Ocean Ridge, but they want their own.

However , there is more than one side to a story, and in this case, there’s one house standing in Jaguar’s Lair. It belongs to Larry Sweeney.

“We had a very good experience with Saunders on buying the house, and I ultimately contracted with his company to build the house after looking at two or three different builders,” Sweeney said.

He can’t complain.

“When water was needed, it was here. When electric was needed, it was here. When sewer was needed, it was here,” Sweeney said.

In a statement, The Coastal Companies claims 114 home sites at Jaguar’s Lair are buildable, including Fitzgerald’s property. Documentation backs that claim up, but banks do not.

Property owners asked for construction loans, but their banks turned them away because of the missing infrastructure. And still, the burning question remains.

“Where’s the money?” Fitzgerald said. “I think he owes Brunswick County a flow of funds statement starting back in 2006 up to today’s date, as to here’s the money I brought in, and here’s where it went.”

“Some have called it a Ponzi scheme at (town) council meetings,” Cerrato said.

The Coastal Companies laughs at the claim. It points to a plaque representing good business, saying the money is invested in the community’s development.

Because of the money tied up in his Jaguar’s Lair property, Fitzgerald had to sell the home where he was living and move to Florida, where property and taxes are cheaper.

A top employee from the Coastal Companies, Deborah Boodro, did provide information for this story, but she refused to go on camera.

As for Saunders, we could not find a working personal number for him, and voicemails to his businesses went unreturned.

More: continued here

Health officials warn of pertussis outbreak

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Most parents keep a close eye on their children, making sure to keep them safe and healthy. Now, though, some parents are worried their direct contact with their children may make them sick.

The CDC says an outbreak of whooping cough is sweeping the country, and it may be closer than you think. The highly contagious disease has infected 17,000 people nationwide already this year and has the potential to kill.

“This is unprecedented,” pediatrician Dr. David Hill said. “We’re already at twice the number of cases that we’ve seen in any year since the late 1950s, and it’s definitely hitting home.”

The New Hanover County Health Department says there have been 366 cases of whooping cough in North Carolina this year, and two of those confirmed cases are in the county.

The disease is especially harmful to young children who can catch the cough from caregivers.

Health care professional say you can keep the disease away, though, by getting vaccinated.

“Make sure that your children and and everybody that cares for your children has been properly immunized,” Dr. Hill said.

Some caregivers say they were unaware that even if they already had the vaccine, they may need a booster. One grandmother says Medicare does not cover the shot, so she’s trying to figure out how to pay. But she agrees the money would be well spent to keep her grandson healthy.

“No matter what it costs, it would be worth it to keep this little guy protected,” Hope Hickam said.

The state of North Carolina is trying to help with some of the financial concerns. You can get the pertussis vaccine booster for free. For more information contact your doctor or county health department.

More: continued here

‘Iron Man 3’ to shoot at port for three weeks

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — “Iron Man 3” will make the State Port of Wilmington a Hollywood East hot spot.

A film permit filed with the City of Wilmington says the movie, code named “Caged,” will shoot at the port nightly from August 13 through September 7.

No word on what kind of scenes the cast and crew will shoot.

More: continued here

Brunswick teen court director dies

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Glenda Ansley was 55

More: continued here

Choice Neighborhood surveys online

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Housing authority is seeking grant

More: continued here



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