“The Consumer Protection Division of the Idaho Attorney General’s Office is now free to pursue a planned lawsuit aimed at banning Paul Hathaway, the former owner of Hathaway Homes Group, from selling mobile and manufactured homes,” per Bryan Clark for the Post Register and Standard Journal
Hathaway Homes Group is in the process of being liquidated in federal court.
The Idaho A.G’s lawsuit against Hathaway has not yet been filed, said Clark. “Spokesman Scott Graf said the office could not comment on pending litigation.”
Local media reports that Hathaway and his former company are both bankrupt, and that 16 former customers have claimed in interviews with the Post Register that Hathaway cheated them in one way or another:
- receiving large upfront down payments for homes that were never delivered,
- were different than the homes customers ordered,
- and/or were delivered long after the promised date.
Some “said they were left destitute and homeless after their dealings with the St. Anthony man,” said Clark.
The Daily Business News previously reported on this case, at the report linked below.
Several customers have also filed suit against Hathaway.
Hathaway admitted in bankruptcy filings to millions in casino gambling losses in recent years, though the precise amount were not known. Some of the funds Paul Hathaway gambled away — he claims only $20,000 worth — belonged to his customers.
Hathway faces millions in debt he’s apparently unable to pay.
Why the Delay by the AG?
“The Attorney General’s Office had been holding off filing the consumer protection suit due to a procedure in bankruptcy court known as an “automatic stay,” per Clark. “That’s a block on most types of civil lawsuits which goes into place while a bankruptcy court is resolving the various claims against a debtor.”
Deputy Attorney General Stephanie Guyon argued in a hearing earlier this month that the stay doesn’t apply to the consumer protection lawsuit, but she sought authorization from the bankruptcy court as “a courtesy.”
Stephen Madsen, an attorney for Hathaway, tried to force the Attorney General’s Office to disclose its suit in bankruptcy court as a defensive tactic. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joseph Meier ruled for the Idaho Attorney General’s office, ruling it was not necessary to disclose the lawsuit before it was filed in state court and that the Attorney General’s Office had a right to pursue its suit.
“The state is not here to collect a debt,” Meier stated. “… It is concerned about its citizens and its enforcement of consumer protection laws.”
If the “Park Girl” case in Texas is any indication, this case could drag on for several more years.
Some other ‘black eye’ mainstream news stories of issues that dog the industry’s image and customers, are linked in the related reports, further below. Defendants are, of course, deemed innocent until proven guilty via the appropriate legal processes. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)
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In manufactured housing, Terry Decio with Skyline quipped on camera ” I’m tired of being the best kept secret, I’m ready to help house America.” Terry’s father Art was on the cover of Time Magazine, and in a good way.