Dozens of Lowcountry HOAs join lawsuit over alleged false billing

Dozens of Lowcountry HOAs join lawsuit over alleged false billing

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Nearly 50 homeowners' associations from Seabrook to Summerville and Charleston have filed a class action lawsuit against management company Marshland Communities and its owner, Karen Colie.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Charleston County listing 48 homeowners' associations as plaintiffs, alleging Marshland Communities and Colie "unlawfully and illegally misappropriated monies and/or funds from at least some" of the HOA's.

Several Marshland employees have submitted affidavits as part of the lawsuit.

According to an affidavit, Marshland Communities COO Meredith Millender became "suspicious" of financial transactions with the Associations' accounts.

The affidavit states that Millender confronted Colie in early March; Millender's statement also said that Colie admitted to engaging in "illegal activity by billing associations for services that Marshland Communities did not provide to its clients."

An affidavit from Adam Kraemer, an association manager for Marshland, said that a bounced payroll check prompted his review of financial records for several associations in mid-Feb 2016.

Kraemer's statement said that he's unable to substantiate or justify legal charges for Shellring Property Owners' Association, Liberty Hall Property Owner's
Association, or Shadowmoss Plantation Homeowner's Association.

Kraemer's affidavit also states he confronted Colie over the charges. According to the affidavit, she allegedly confirmed taking funds.

An additional Marshland Communities association manager, Lauren Ellison Fox, also submitted an affidavit with the lawsuit filing.

According to the court affidavit, Fox was unable to verify several legal charges for Shellring, Liberty Hall or Shadowmoss during her employment.

Her statement also said Fox reviewed the financial history for Pelican Cove and found flood repair charges which she was unable to confirm.

A court hearing is scheduled for next Monday. Marshland Communities and Karen Colie have not returned a request for comment.
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