“The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is looking into complaints of a potential unlawful eviction in Kokomo,” says Fox 59 and CBS 4 news.
Scott Barnhart, Chief Counsel and Director of the Consumer Protection Division, told MHProNews the following about this incident.
“If consumers allege a violation of the law, it’s our duty to investigate to determine whether a violation has in fact occurred and if it’s within our authority to pursue a remedy. It is important for the public to know the consumer complaints can be and are often a critical part of the investigation process.”
Contact information for the Indiana Attorney General’s office is found at their website via the link below.
The “eviction” efforts in question are in connection with Woodlawn Estates of Kokomo, Indiana. That community is being rebranded by its new owners as The Oaks of Kokomo. According to the Oaks of Kokomo website, Jennifer Haasz O’Keefe is listed as the General Manager. Tupper Baker is also listed as General Manager. Baker has been contacted to confirm or deny that he is the same Tupper Baker that was a corporate executive with Clayton Homes. See references to Baker in the judgement filed against Clayton in the court documents linked here.
Here is how Fox 59 reported the matter. The nomenclature faux pas is in their original.
Kokomo mobile home evictions under investigation by Indiana Attorney General’s Office
This comes after several residents of Woodlawn Estates reached out to Fox 59 News for some help.
“It’s awful, stressful, and it’s overwhelming,” Resident Jessica Simpson said.
Simpson said money isn’t easy to come by for the 15 families still living at Woodlawn Estates mobile home park, now called The Oaks of Kokomo.
“No one out here has any money. Everything that we have doesn’t seem like that much but to us, it’s the world. It’s what we own. It’s everything,” Resident Troy Hickman said.
Couple Jessica Simpson and Troy Hickman said on July 6th the new owner of the property placed 30-day notices on everyone’s property to vacate.
Simpson said no one living there can financially afford to move out in 30 days. She hasn’t been issued any court documentation telling her she had to leave.
She was extremely surprised a few weeks back when the owner came out and took off her porch.
“They’re just basically bullying us and intimidating us to get out,” Simpson explained.
The residents want to get compensation for their property since most of the homes are too old to move.
“It’s not much but who’s to say who lives in what,” Resident Tim Martin said.
We tried reaching out to the new owner Jennifer O’Keefe about the eviction notices. Before we could, she called the sheriff’s office on us for conducting interviews. The deputies told her since FOX59 News was invited by residents to the homes, they own she couldn’t have us kicked off the property.
Also, because nothing has been filed in court, they can’t force the residents off the property.
“They’re not asking for money. We tried to pay rent and other people have tried to pay rent and they refuse our money. They just want us out,” Hickman explained.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office is currently looking to see if this is a lawful eviction and if it falls into their jurisdiction.
“I’m basically having to start all over again that’s not my fault because I chose to live here how many years ago?” Martin said.
The sheriff’s office said if the case is taken to court, they will be back out to remove anyone still living here.
According to the Oaks of Kokomo’s website, they’re planning to turn the property into a new subdivision for manufactured homes. The Attorney General’s Office is still looking into the complaints.
If you feel like you’re being wrongfully evicted or taken advantage of, you can file a complaint with the AG’s Office at 1-800-382-5516.
The map of the community location and images below are from various sources as shown.
CBS 4 had essentially the same report as Fox 59.
LinkedIn reflects the following profile of Jennifer Haasz-O’Keefe, Oaks of Kokomo, Haasz Acquisitions, LLC.
LinkedIn also reflects the following profile of Tupper Baker, noting that there is no photo. But the Oaks of Kokomo did not deny that this is the same Baker that once worked for Clayton Homes and Oakwood Homes. If that is later clarified, this report can be updated to reflect that point.
MHProNews plans to monitor these developments to see if the Indiana AG’s office determines if these residents are being properly or unjustly treated.
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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