Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against The Legacy Lofts on Courtland LLC and its owner, Scott Call, accusing both of multiple violations of Ohio’s consumer protection laws.

“When people put a deposit down for a condo to be built, they rightfully expect for their condo to be built,” Yost said. “These are huge deposits. Consumers are out of pocket, and they’ve received nothing in return.”

According to the lawsuit filed in Hamilton County, Legacy Lofts and Call planned to develop a former school and former church building into condominiums in Norwood, Ohio. In 2017, Legacy Lofts began soliciting consumers to enter into agreements to purchase units in the condominium project. The consumers made a deposit, often of $5,000, and agreed to close on the unit when the project was completed. However, the condominiums, due to be completed in 2018, were never developed, and the deposits were never returned.

The lawsuit alleges a wide array of behavior by Call and his company in violation of Ohio’s consumer protection laws, including the Consumer Sales Practices Act, by failing to provide refunds and misrepresenting through various documents that deposits would be refunded. The lawsuit also includes violations of the Condominium Property Act for failing to hold purchasers’ deposits in escrow, not refunding deposits and not providing required disclosures. 
Consumers who have complained to the Attorney General’s Office allege that a total of at least $30,000 has not been returned. 

To help consumers avoid problems regarding developers and deposits, Attorney General Yost offered the following recommendations:

• Research developers carefully: Ask for recommendations and talk to past customers about their experiences with a developer. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Find out if the business is registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Conduct an online search of the business name and the owner’s name. Be skeptical if you find no information. Some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to detect their record of shoddy work.

• Understand your rights: Find out your cancellation rights prior to signing a contract and what percentage, if any, will be refunded. There may be times when you are not entitled to receive any of your deposit back.

• Get verbal promises in writing: If a developer makes verbal claims, make sure they are put in writing. Otherwise, they are not guaranteed.

• Be wary of requests for large deposits: It’s reasonable for a developer to require a down payment, but be skeptical if you’re asked to make a large deposit before any work begins. If possible, pay in increments as the work is completed.

Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioProtects.org.