Thursday, November 7, 2019

Bridgewater Accuses HOA Operator of Embezzlement

The Bridgewater Owner's Association accused Ridgway Lane of embezzling over $500,000 from its accounts in a lawsuit filed in Madison County Circuit Court yesterday.    Ridgway Lane is a homeowner's association management company in Flowood. 

The defendants are David Lane (Both W & L), Ridgway, Lane & Associates, and some John Does.   Ridgway Lane managed BOA since 2014.  David Lane and his son are the President and Vice-President of Ridgway Lane.

Suspicions about the handling of Bridgewater funds arose in September.  The complaint states the company provided the audited financial statements to the Board just before its regular meeting began on September 16.   Bridgewater's treasurer, Cindy Dunbar, questioned several items in the financial statements several days later.  She emailed more questions about "material discrepancies" between the Ridgway-created financial reports and the actual bank statements.  One such discrepancy is an alleged $94,928 difference between the bank statement and Ridgway Lane report for the operating account.  She asked for him to respond within 48 hours.  He replied, "I can't possibly meet your deadline."  The lawsuit charges he tried to delay providing more information to Bridgewater to prevent the homeowner's association from discovering the degree of misrepresentation.

Bridgewater accuses David Lane and Ridgway Lane of refusing to provide information needed for Bridgewater to access its bank accounts.   The complaint minces no words: "David  Lane/Ridgway Lane continued to conceal fraud and misconduct that had occurred concerning BOA's accounts maintained by Ridgway Lane in trust for BOA."   He finally provided access to the accounts on October 29 but Bridgewater says the damage was done. 

The lawsuit claims Ridgway Lane converted Bridgewater funds for Lane's own personal use.  Baby Lane allegedly wrote Bridgwater checks payable to Ridgway Lane accounts without Bridgewater's approval.

Bridgewater accused Lane and Ridgway Lane of looting more than $100,000 in 2019 from Bridgewater accounts.  A CD for $117,000 allegedly disappeared as well.  Bridgewater claims the total losses are more than $500,000.

The lawsuit seeks damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, fraud, unjust enrichment, and negligence.

Attorney Roy Lidell of Wells Marble & Hurst represents Bridgewater.  The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Dewey Arthur.  The agreement states Bridgewater will pay Ridgway Lane $1,750 per month to manage the association. 

Bridgewater notified its members of the lawsuit yesterday.  The letter states the losses are "believed" to be "several hundred thousand dollars."

Kingfish note: Several Bridgewater residents said they did not receive the letter from the association. 


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the presumption of innocence here. Homeowners Associations are notorious for making terrible accusations before they have all the facts. They are often headed by bird-brained people with nothing better to do than spend their husband's money.

Anonymous said...

Dang! This must be the reason that when Walter Michel passed his CID legislation allowing Homeowners Associations to impose a tax on the residents that he didn't let that law apply to Madison County - only to the HOA's in Jackson after he had abandoned his residency in the Capitol City.

Debits and Credits said...

So let me make sure I have all this correct. Some Flowood crooks were robbing some Ridgeland homeowners Assoc. My goodness crime is on all sides of Jackson on this scandal. I hope none of the money stolen was earmarked for fake stucco repairs.

Anonymous said...

5:44, I agree with you regarding many HOA’s being headed by bird-brained people but don’t bet too much $$$ against the Bridgewater folks. Lot’s of smart people out there…and it will be very interesting to find out who those “John Does” are.

Anonymous said...

Ridgeway Lane was our (Red Oak Plantation) HOA management company. We fired them for non-performance. Nothing illegal but very poor attention to what we were paying them for. Nothing about this surprises me!

Anonymous said...

Ridgway Lane manages a ton of properties...including mine.

Might be time to take a look under the hood.

Anonymous said...

There might be some Bridgewater "bird brained" wives spending lots of their husband's money, however, Cindy Dunbar is not one of them. She is incredibly smart and has managed far more than this piddly amount - she is also the type of person that would check, re-check and triple check before she breathed a word of caution - these guys have done something wrong!! I bet they underestimated this pretty "house wife!!"

Been There, Done That said...

You NEVER EVER allow an HOA's management company to endorse checks.

All checks must be signed (endorsed) by a member of the HOA board, i.e. treasurer/president/secretary, but NEVER the management company.

Anonymous said...

These HOA management companies are a freaking joke. Half of our HOA dues go to them to manage and charge back 100% of what they spend managing our HOA. The jokes on our HOA board are too afraid of doing any work so no one will buck the system....while Homeland has a hall monitor ride by in a baby Mercedes SUV to see if someone is breaking the rules.

Ridgeway Lane manages a bunch of commercial buildings and this will be a black eye for certain.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:44, you will have your day in court.
I Like that you are anonymous.
I’m sure you will get some time for the crime.
Good luck. Sucks that bank records don’t disappear. Right?

Anonymous said...

RidgwayLane hoodwinked folks at Lost Rabbit, too. Hopefully this will be a bit of comeuppance.

Anonymous said...

I know the younger David Lane and he’s a stand up guy. Don’t know his father. There are always two sides to every story.

I’m going to reserve judgment based upon my dealings with Lane, Jr.

I’m a Kingfish fan, but just bc lawsuit or accusation is presented on this site, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

And no....I’m not an employee of the Lane company. Don’t waste your time with that lazy, stupid response.

Anonymous said...

5:44 is just pissed because he has no idea how to save money and jealous that men who do, let their wives soak in the fruits of the labor.

“ Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”
- Huckleberry Finn

Heddy-Dale Matthias, MD said...

If true, why no criminal charges? Why a civil lawsuit first?

Anonymous said...

8:33 got one too many violation notices and wishes he or she lived on his or her own estate. But all they can afford is to live in a covenant neighborhood. That’s cool, but the covenants were in place when you bought your house. Now you have to live by the rules. Management companies are supposed to have someone looking for violations. That’s how it works. Get over it. And cut your grass.

Anonymous said...

NOW HEAR THIS!! when you start shopping for property run the title all the way back to the choctaw cession and learn whether or not the neiborhood you are buying in is run by a homeowners association. most HOAs are run by a board made up of home owners. some are run well, others are run right out of a chapter of alice in wonderland by total morons. HOA management companies like ridgeway-lane are brought in when the neiborhood can't find enough property owners to serve on the board, and as you can see for yourself here they are quite often crooks. moral of story, before you buy, do your homework and find out how well the neighborhood is run before you plop down your hard earned money. most homebuyers never give this a second thought and many end up regretting their decision to buy. a badly run HOA can trash your property values and you will have little to no recourse against them. your only remedy will be to sell and move out.

Anonymous said...

Attention Bridgewater HOA board - it's past time for a forensic audit by a qualified CPA.

Anonymous said...

11:31 Your "stand up guy" may not be so stand up!

Anonymous said...

Ridgeway Lane manages a ton of neighborhoods in the area. This lawsuit could do some major damage, and based on the complaint, maybe RL needs to be shutdown. Bridgewater has some top notch professionals as residents. I wouldn't underestimate the ramifications of this lawsuit even if there is a settlement. Also, if RL had provided documents, then maybe no need for lawsuit. This lawsuit now gives HOA subpoena power.

Anonymous said...

They manage our old neighborhood Timers1 in Crossgates. They are very shady. They had our board hood winked from day 1. It's funny that Timbers II next door fired them a while back and decided to manage it themselves. We were a neighborhood of town homes so maintenance of the outside of houses and lawn care were part of the HOA fees, close to 200 a month. They did absolutely nothing they just showed up at the annual meetings and gave out the financials. I am so glad I moved. I might call up my old neighbors and tell them to check the financials.

Anonymous said...

Attention Bridgewater HOA board - it's past time for a forensic audit by a qualified CPA.

Yep...and we have some good ones in the State. Some mean as junkyard dogs.

I mean that in only the kindest way.

Anonymous said...

5:44 pm I suspect I know more women in Bridgewater than you.
Many of them are doctors, lawyers, or have their own businesses. You see them engaged in leisure activities because they've arrived at a point where they can manage to have more free time because they've been successful.
Some are on boards of government, business and charities.
Many put their husbands through school or financed his business start up by working in the first decade or two of the marriage...all the while , also managing to keep the home fires burning and civilizing their children.
The thing is, if you are successful, you get to a point where the children are grown and successful in their own right and you have more money than you ever imagined. If you enjoyed your work, and many successful people do, you mentor and teach others, rather than do the bulk yourself.
I've not forgotten the days of struggle when we would literally have just single dollars in the bank at the end of the month. I know there are people who can't do what we did. We were lucky to be born with the ability to learn, with parents who supported us and encouraged us and good mentors who saw our potential. Then we were blessed with hard working employees who were like we used to be starting out.
Oh yes ,there are the trophy wives and a few born with silver spoons in their mouths who are running through their inheritance at such a rate, it will be shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves for their grandkids. I've watched several friends who inherited millions squander every penny by the time they were 40. But, here in Mississippi, those born to wealth have never been plentiful and in my generation, their numbers have dwindled. Only the few who raised their children well still are thriving.
The chip on your shoulder is what holds you back. You have excuses rather than insight about how YOU could have made better decisions.

5:44PM From Yesterday said...

Have any of you mouthbreathers even read the factual allegations in the complaint?? It is filled with errors and typos, one being page 5, paragraph 12:

"By September 18, 2018 ..." the year is wrong. It's 2019. The attorney is just copying and pasting...hoping this will stick or settle out of court.

Anonymous said...

KF, this complaint doesn’t include Bridgewater at Old Agency (ie, BW II). RL is the property manager for BW II. Do you know if BW II has filed a similar complaint?

Anonymous said...

As someone with many years of real estate experience including professional interactions with HOA's and hired management companies, it seems odd to me that the HOA moved so fast to file suit. 1.) HOA financials presented to HOA prior to 9/16/19 meeting. 2.) Treasurer has serious questions and voices these days following the 9/16/19 meeting. With a 48 hour demand on Management Company to produce documents and answers to her questions 3.) Management Company expresses it can't deliver on the HOA request in that amount of time. 4.) Fast Forward approximately 30 or so days and their in a law suit. Somewhere between step 3 and 4 somebody got their feelings hurt by the Management Company. Hence possible ego driven law suit.

One more thing, the Management Company works at the invitation/contract of the HOA. Therefore, HOA needs to follow the agreed to contract's methods of getting the problems resolved. Again sounds like hurt feels.

Believe me, the most inefficient manner to settle a dispute is in court. Been there, Done that, and Got the very expensive T-Shirt. Hopefully there is no reason for it to go that far. BWC

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that there are a lot of due diligence calls being made by other HOA board members that use this property manager for an accounting.

Anonymous said...

This is classic: "Don't forget the presumption of innocence here. Homeowners Associations...are often headed by bird-brained people with nothing better to do than spend their husband's money. November 7, 2019 at 5:44 PM"

So; while preaching that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, this clown at 5:44 wants us to by his chicken-shit suggestion that the woman speaking for the HOA might be a bird brain.

While he suggests we should not jump to conclusions, he stumbles all over himself doing just that. That's not egg on his face, it's chicken-shit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kingfish! I’ll bring the popcorn!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Richard Ridgway the Ridgway in Ridgway Lane & Associates. Heard David Lane and he split earlier this year for whatever reason and David kept the management company. Mr. Ridgway may have some concern if this was going on while they were still partners and under his watch..

Macy Hanson said...

"Believe me, the most inefficient manner to settle a dispute is in court. Been there, Done that, and Got the very expensive T-Shirt."

I could not agree with this more. But, sometimes, you have to go to war; there is no alternative. I don't know anything about the facts of this case, but $500k is worth fighting over. Especially is there is potential fraud involved.

Anonymous said...

I am still waiting on someone to provide a good reason as to why these allegations, which are very light on the factual side, prove to any misdeeds on the company's part.

They barely scrape above Rule 11 Sanctions.

Anonymous said...

11:33 - My thoughts exactly!

Anonymous said...

Lane manages Dinsmor HOA, too.

Anonymous said...

HOAs are the antithesis of what the supposed conservative values and limited government folks living in the upper middle class neighborhoods that have them. Let’s all give away our civil and property rights to live under a corporation with restrictions that any idiot/Karen with extra free-time can then get on the board and write you up for any perceived infraction, whilst tripping on the power of the purse over you. The only thing “good” about HOAs for all the uppity white folks in the neighborhood is so it can be used to keep out the undesirables (legalized Jim Crow). I guess keeping “those people” out is worth sacrificing your constitutional property rights to power tripping Karen to make sure your grass is 3 inches or less and you don’t paint your shutters without paying homage to the crown first.

Anonymous said...

David Lang also manages all the 16th section land for the Jackson School Board. Just wondering!

Follow the HOA Money said...

Now Dinsmor is reporting "irregularities."

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

Note to self: Invest in popcorn futures ASAP.

Anonymous said...

@2:38 PM can't afford to live in a nice area, so he bad-mouths the nice developments. Sad. Bless your heart.

BTW, we live in a very nice HOA development, and our neighbors are white, black, and Asian.

How long have you been a racist?

Anonymous said...

The only thing “good” about HOAs for all the uppity white folks in the neighborhood is so it can be used to keep out the undesirables (legalized Jim Crow).

I'll be sure to tell my black neighbors that they aren't supposed to be here.

You've got a serious mental problem and depositing your rants here like a roaming dog isn't going to restore your health. If you really want to take dumps in public, move to California.

Anonymous said...

I hope their E&O doesn't have a $1,000,000 Aggregate limit!

Anonymous said...

All these little redneck riviera communities are going down in flames. Dang! Who would've ever thought a "good ole boy" would do this?? Oh well!

Anonymous said...

Isn’t the boards for these HOAs elected to provide some oversight for the other homeowners? While i understand these are thankless responsibilities, someone with access to the checks could do a quick review monthly to determine if the money is being spent correctly.

Wunna Them People.. said...

2:38 - Please, if you will, tell us how protective covenants keep black folks out of the neighborhood. This should be interesting. Go.

Anonymous said...

Melvin, drop some weight and get yourself a 'partner'. You're going nowhere trolling JJ.

Anonymous said...

Go forth and educate yourselves, those of you living in the gulags.

Kingfish said...

Keep in mind some of these neighborhoods maintain their own roads. Thus their road $$$ was allegedly stolen. Big deal.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:05 pm from 11-7-19, u really need to get ur facts straight before publishing false BS!
Walter represents Northeast Jackson and the City Council had a “unanimous” resolution to
request for the “neighborhood improvement districts.” All 5 senators who represent parts of
Jackson sponsored the bill. The Jax city council lobbied for something that was much needed
and the senators helped get it done.

Anonymous said...

Errors and omissions coverage has nothing to do in this. If it’s an intentional act such as theft that’s excluded. E and O is for honest errors.

Cynical Sam said...

@11:05 PM - True, but anyone with check writing authority should be bonded, and that covers conversions (civil theft for graduates of the JPS).

Phillip said...

I suspect that this will ultimately engender a criminal investigation.

Anonymous said...

Should be bonded but were they? Did they have check writing and cashing authority? Key is who is obligee on the bond?

Anonymous said...

I live in Palisades and they WERE our mgt company until the past few days. I received a letter this morning that our HOA is also missing a large amount of money. I knew something wasn’t right with RL! They are rude and extremely unprofessional. Now, I know it’s because they were money hungry thieves!

Anonymous said...

This comment is about original Bridgewater with entrance on Steed Road. Ridgway Lane canned b/c they took a huge % of the neighborhood's money. Rising HOA dues and almost zero neighborhood maintenance. Not a good idea to raise the HOA dues again anytime soon. HOA president for multiple years is an ACCOUNTANT. The buck should stop with this guy and the neighbors who voted him into HOA office. Should've been checking the bank statements, not the doctored documents from RL management. Check under the hood of your property management company and check under the hood of your HOA. Check. Check. Check.

Anonymous said...

HOA boards should keep an eye on MOST of these property management companies. Most do nothing but collect a check. They try to avoid doing their job at all or push it on a vendor so it looks as if they’ve done something.

Anonymous said...

Bridgewater HOA shelled out a mighty fine penny ($$ hundreds of thousands $$) to repair 2 lakes that are not part of the HOA's responsibility. Ya'll talk about some ticked off Bridgewater residents. The majority of the neighborhood voted against it - still the repairs took place. More to follow for sure - pass the popcorn.

Anonymous said...

Alleged embezzlement = $500,000
Lake repairs = $500,000
Total = $1 million

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