This report, analysis and expert commentary provide the curated information from various named parties, docket activity, and local news coverage of federal case Garvey Farm LP and Flagship Communities REIT (et al) v. City of Elsmere, Kentucky et al, case number 2:23-cv-00015. As the Local 12 news video reflects, the suit representing the interests of Flagship Communities (MHC-UN.TO) is drawing apparent support in its claims that minorities are being discriminated against. Flagship Communities reportedly has owned this land since 2020, when it was apparently cleverly and creatively obtained through the use of a reverse mortgage. An individual’s commentary under the apparent pseudonym “Marco Polo” is also provided herein. Polo supports Elsmere in pushing back against Flagship, leftists, and “socialism.” In Part II of this report, a brief MHProNews analysis and commentary will follow including the apparent market response to this suit. In Part I, the various elements of information obtained from curated and named third-party sources are provided.
Housing company sues city of Elsmere, cites discriminatory practices to stop development
by James Pilcher, WKRC | Thursday, February 9th, 2023
ELSMERE, Ky. (WKRC) – The owners of a manufactured housing complex are suing the city of Elsmere in federal court, stating the city’s actions to shut down a planned expansion discriminate against the minority residents there.
The dispute centers on 18 acres in the heart of the city.
The owners of the manufactured housing complex Heartland Pointe want to expand and build 65 more homes there. The existing complex has about 203 homes, with about 70-80% of the residents there of Hispanic or Latino descent.
But city council members in Elsmere at a Dec. 13 meeting denied a zoning request that would have allowed the new development.
Then the city started the process of trying to take the land through eminent domain, saying it was going to build a park there.
But the company argues there is no existing access to the property except through Heartland Pointe, meaning the city would have to build new roads at even greater expense.
Flagship Communities has owned the land since 2020, having paid the previous owner an undisclosed sum in a reverse mortgage and taking ownership when he died.
Company spokeswoman Kathy Groob says Elsmere’s moves are discriminatory.
“Based upon the Dec. 13 sham of a hearing, they had a preordained conclusion,” Groob said.
In its federal lawsuit, the company argues the city’s actions unfairly target minorities, also including the elderly and single parents.
Linda Vila Passione is an advocate for the Latino community in Northern Kentucky who says the city’s actions were not surprising.
“Sadly, it’s almost a feeling of ‘We figured,’” she said. “Whenever something good is going to happen, somebody comes and takes it away from us.”
City leaders including the mayor and city manager declined to go on camera with Local 12.
In a written statement, the city said:
The city took great care to follow all procedural requirements and provide a fair and equitable hearing on the request. Elsmere City Council was unified on this issue, voting unanimously for the attached Municipal Order denying the requested zone change Elsmere values and is immensely proud of its historically diverse culture and looks forward to defending the city in court.
The decision came after the Kenton County Planning Commission signed off on the company’s proposal in November, stating a county-wide goal of increasing affordable housing.
Vila Passione says the community life at Heartland Pointe dispels stereotypes many have about trailer parks and the like.
“These are here to stay,” she said. “This is not somebody coming in for two weeks or three weeks and moving out to another part of Kentucky. These are people wanting to put down roots but don’t have the funding available.” ##
Part I b.
As of this date, less than 300 views of this video have occurred. But others in local media have per an online search check are reporting on this developing story and litigation.
Part I c.
From the YouTube page linked here is the following posted comment by “Marco Polo,” an apparent pseudonym. The typos are in the original.
The issue here is not racial discrimination, it’s an issue of a community deciding not to issue permits to build more low income housing. They have every right to do that. At the end of the day, people move out of the major cities to get away from all of the results of liberal policies. With low income housing comes more crime, more litter in the streets, more problems with theft, violence, gamgs, drug activity. Those are the facts, if you disagree look at the statistics in crime, ect. If Elsmere does not want to forever expand low income housing they have the right to do so. What about civil rights? Nobody has the civil right to force a community to make choices that will endanger their communities, lower their property values and raise crime in the communities they work hard to preserve. Communities have the right to say NO! We don’t want to make decisions that will weaken our communities. People see what radical social and economic politics have done to our major cities and are leaving them in growing numbers. This isn’t a race issue and its disgusting for “local 12” or any other bought corporate shills to push. This is another example of smaller communities standing up for what is best for their communities and not bowing to surreptitious political interests. Great job to Elsmere for standing up for your communities. The public encourages more to do so. Not only that, but we need to call out the wolves and sheep’s clothing, using race and class division for political means. People come to communities like Elsmere to build families away from the squalor of major cities and their failed policies. Let us not forget, families that want a safe community are not the problem, the ones pushing socialism and propagating a permanent underclass are. Remember it when you go and vote! ##
Part 1 d.
Parties, docket activity and news coverage of federal case Garvey Farm LP et al v. City of Elsmere, Kentucky et al, case number 2:23-cv-00015 per Justia at this link here. The use of lower-case typo in the first use of the word “REIT” below has been corrected by MHProNews. It is worth noting that the plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial. It is also noteworthy that this is being described as a discrimination suit.
Garvey Farm LP et al v. City of Elsmere, Kentucky et al
|Plaintiff:||Garvey Farm LP and Flagship Communities REIT|
|Defendant:||City of Elsmere, Kentucky, Matt Dowling, Gloria Grubbs, Nancy Bowman, Lisa Mitchell, Joanne Barnett-Smith, Malcom Daniels and Aaron Moore|
|Filed:||January 27, 2023|
|Court:||US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky|
|Presiding Judge:||Danny C Reeves|
|Nature of Suit:||Civil Rights: Accommodations|
|Cause of Action:||42 U.S.C. § 405 Fair Housing Act|
|Jury Demanded By:||Plaintiff|
This docket was last retrieved on January 27, 2023. A more recent docket listing may be available from PACER.
|Date Filed||Document Text|
|January 27, 2023||Filing 4 Summons Issued as to Joanne Barnett-Smith, Nancy Bowman, City of Elsmere, Kentucky, Malcom Daniels, Matt Dowling, Gloria Grubbs, Lisa Mitchell, Aaron Moore; Summons issued and returned to counsel electronically (ECO)|
|January 27, 2023||Filing 3 FRCP 7.1 DISCLOSURE STATEMENT by Flagship Communities Reit, Garvey Farm LP. (Coffaro, Steven)|
|January 27, 2023||Filing 1 COMPLAINT ( Filing fee $402; receipt number CKYEDC-5464416), filed by Garvey Farm LP, Flagship Communities Reit. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1-Kenton County Planning Commission, #2 Exhibit 2-Letter dated 2/26/2020, #3 Exhibit 3-City of Elsmere, KY Municipal Order, #4 Exhibit 4-City of Elsmere Letter dated 1/12/2023, #5 Civil Cover Sheet, #6 Summons to be Issued)(ECO)|
|January 27, 2023||Conflict Check run. (ECO)|
Law.com provides this summary.
Garvey Farm LP et al v. City of Elsmere, Kentucky et al
U.S., Eastern District of Kentucky
Garvey Farm LP and Flagship Communities REIT, which operate the Heartland Pointe Mobile Home Park in Elsmere, Kentucky, filed a lawsuit against the city on Friday in Kentucky Eastern District Court. According to the suit, the plaintiffs purchased neighboring property to build low-cost homes and community amenities, but were unable to develop the property due to the city’s opposition. The suit further contends that the city’s opposition was motivated by racial prejudice. The complaint was filed by Keating Muething & Klekamp and attorney Richard L. Robinson. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is 2:23-cv-00015, Garvey Farm LP et al v. City of Elsmere, Kentucky et al. ##
Part II Additional Information with More MHProNews Expert Analysis and Commentary in Brief
It is no secret to longtime MHProNews readers that this publication has provided several reports that have taken a critical look at Flagship, their SSK Communities predecessor, and their leadership, including, but not limited to prominent MHI member, Nathan Smith. That disclosure said, objectively, several points in their litigation as described by the sources shown are worthy of mention.
Among them are these possible takeaways.
- A). Flagship and manufactured housing are presented in a rather favorable light by the Local 12 news report.
- B). The social media comments by “Marco Polo” reflect some of the work that needs to be done in addressing perceptions of manufactured homes, for example, on the issue of crime.
- C). For whatever reasons, the headlines from the screen capture on Yahoo Finance doesn’t reflect this suit. There doesn’t seem to be any noticeable response by investors to this development, but it may be because the suit has not yet caught investors eyes. One might wonder, should Flagship promote their litigation to the public? If done properly, couldn’t promoting the issues around this litigation help their cause, that of affordable home seekers, and therefor that of manufactured homes?
- D). Mindful of the various points herein, this Flagship suit in a narrow sense could be seen as important and positive.
- E). With D above noted, this Flagship suit also should be a reason or added motivation for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to initiate its own lawsuits on behalf not of a specific brand (be that Flagship or others), but rather on behalf of “all segments” manufactured housing in the arenas that are noted below.
- 1) Suit(s) to enforce the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) “enhanced preemption” provision over local zoning.
- 2) Suit(s) In favor of manufactured home single-family ‘home only’ (chattel loan, personal property loan) financing, as needed, for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHFA, HUD/FHA to do their respective jobs in supporting more competitive manufactured home lending via the secondary markets already mandated by law.
- 3) Suit(s) in opposition to the enforcement of the Department of Energy (DOE) looming manufactured home energy rule.
MHProNews has not yet obtained the underlying pleadings and response. That said, based on what is known at this time, one final bottom line emphasis is that this suit by Flagship is being applauded. More well-conceived, properly initiated, and robustly supported legal actions are needed. See the linked and related reports to learn more. MHProNews plans to monitor and report on this litigation as deemed warranted. ##
Note: the article linked below is one of the leading reports month-to-date in terms of reader engagement. Given that it was only published about a week ago, it is possible it may finish at or near the top for professional readers on MHProNews, and because our publication is the largest and most read, thus throughout MHVille.
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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.
This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
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