Attorney General Files Suit Against Developer Bonita Bay Group

A lawsuit was brought against the Lee County real estate development company by Bill McCollum’s office over the company’s failure to pay refundable member deposits.

Palm Coast, FL – March 19, 2010 – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against the Bonita Bay Group, Inc. over allegations the company took hundreds of thousands of dollars in “membership fees” to country clubs, marinas and other social establishments, but failed to provide the promised refunds. The lawsuit alleges that despite demands, Bonita Bay Group has not refunded membership deposits to approximately 800 resigned members and may owe over $215 million in un-returned membership deposits.

According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, Bonita Bay Group’s main businesses are the acquisition and sales of land, subdivisions and building lots and the operation of several golf courses, seven resort country clubs and two marinas in the Naples, FL area. Construction and sale of residences is handled by third-party builders. The lawsuit states that an integral part of Bonita Bay Group’s marketing strategy is the marketing of club memberships with the written representation that a member’s “deposit,” which ranged from $25,000 to $180,000, would be immediately refunded within 30 days of a member’s resignation.
In June 2009, the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division began receiving complaints from people who owned homes in seven planned residential communities in Lee and Collier counties that had been developed by Bonita Bay Group. Consumers reported that Bonita Bay Group amended the membership plans in November 2008 and suspended the immediate refund of membership deposits. According to the lawsuit, the opportunity for an instant refund of membership deposits was an integral part of the Bonita Bay Group’s real estate development and marketing and the sale of residential home sites and amenities to consumers, prior to November 2008. The lawsuit alleges the suspension of the instant refund program constitutes violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The Attorney General has requested that the Court grant a permanent injunction against the company and full restitution for any victims. The Attorney General is also seeking civil penalties of $10,000 per violation or $15,000 per violation if the victim was an elderly citizen or disabled individual. The lawsuit also seeks the recovery of any fees and costs associated with the litigation and investigation.
1 reply
  1. dave parker
    dave parker says:

    Great Information


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