Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of two stipulated judgments with the owner and operators of a now defunct manufactured housing dealership in Southern Oregon, who allegedly violated both the state's consumer protection and civil racketeering laws by deceiving customers with losses in the thousands and many with nothing to show for it.
Named in the judgments filed in Jackson County Circuit Court are Gary A. Waggoner, formerly of Medford and now a resident of Montana, owner and president of Alpine Mountain Homes, Inc. and Brad M. and Deborah A. Blanchard of Rogue River, operators of both the Medford and White City locations of the manufactured housing dealership. The stipulated judgments do not admit any violation of law.
In June 2005, the Oregon Department of Justice obtained a temporary restraining order and filed a lawsuit against the three defendants for allegedly violating state laws through a pattern of wrongful activities such as thefts, an instance of forgery, and violations of both Oregon's mortgage banker/broker law and the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The company had closed its doors in April 2005 and filed for protection under the federal bankruptcy laws a month later.
The stipulated judgments resolve the lawsuit for ORICO and UTPA violations and require the defendants to be permanently out of the manufactured housing industry and the mortgage banking or brokering business in Oregon. The three also agree to not violate the state consumer protection laws.
"The documented losses are in the hundreds of thousands with 30 victims losing from $100 to $80,000," Myers explained. "Unfortunately, just before the enterprise closed its doors, the company took large sums of money from trusting consumers on the understanding their money would be safeguarded but the company used their money to pay off other outstanding obligations. Alpine reached the point where it was no longer possible to take one consumer's money to pay off the flooring on another consumer's home."
A flooring company, formerly Bombardier Capital of Vermont and now GE Commercial Finance of Colchester, Vermont, allegedly lost over $350,000 with approximately $266,000 representing "out of trust" loans, where the homes which were the collateral for the flooring loans left the dealership but Alpine didn't pay off Bombardier. The Vermont company has sued Alpine in federal court. Two consumers have filed private lawsuits against the defendants in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Under the Blanchards' limited judgment, they are required to pay Justice $33,000 for distribution to eleven consumers, who lost $10,000 or more. Justice has been paid $9,000 and expects the rest by operation of the judgment lien on the Blanchards' home The stipulated general judgment signed by Waggoner reflects that he has paid Justice $10,000 for its Consumer Protection and Education Fund.
"Unfortunately, the company's recklessness with other people's money leaves little for all the victims. The judgments are the most that could be achieved under the circumstances," Myers said. Justice has provided the victims and their lawyers with detailed information on the bankruptcy case and various bonds they might try to access.
Consumers wanting more information about the judgments and consumer protection in general may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4732 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org