Orlando, FL: (Mar-09-08) A class action lawsuit was brought against The Villages of Lake-Sumter Inc., the Village Center Community Development District and developer H. Gary Morse, alleging that monthly amenity fees paid by every homeowner in the sprawling community of 70,000 residents had been misused. The suit, brought on by complaints from community residents like Elaine Dreidame, 64, contended that there was mildew and mold in the ceiling tiles of the Paradise Recreation Center, where she played bridge twice a week. The class action sought reimbursements that will hold good to cover improvements and repairs to recreation centers, swimming pools and other facilities that make the retirement community alluring.
Sources stated that a settlement had been reached in the matter, in which the powerful developer and corporations behind The Villages have agreed in a civil court to pay $40 million over 13 years, which would serve to cover improvements and repairs to the community. Under the settlement, the money will replenish depleted accounts used to finance facility improvements and pay pool monitors, after-hours golf ambassadors and Neighborhood Watch staff. The settlement also requires the defendants to pay $50,000 each to Dreidame and four other named plaintiffs and $6.7 million to the plaintiffs' brother-sister legal team, Dougald McMillan and Carol McMillan Anderson. [