Channel 2 Actions News has learned even though the company declared bankruptcy and Georgia’s Attorney General filed suit, MV Realty is still trying to enforce its controversial 40-year listing agreements here in Georgia.
Georgia law was changed to prevent future contracts after a series of investigations by Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray, but he found MV Realty is still going after homeowners.
MV Realty is still enforcing the liens on the homes of people who signed the agreements before the law was changed.
But there was a big win in court this week for homeowners. A judge ruled that lawsuits by state attorneys general trying to void those agreements can go on even though MV Realty is going into bankruptcy.
Barbara Padgett was set to close on the sale of her home in the North Georgia mountains on Feb. 14 but instead learned of a lien for more than $8,000 placed on her house by MV Realty.
“This letter here was January 16 this year. So they’re still doing it,” Padgett said, showing Gray the letter she received about the lien.
“What did you think when you got this?” Gray asked Padgett.
“I started crying. I mean, I did. I started crying because I thought everything for was going out the door because I don’t have $8,000 to give them,” Padgett said.
MV Realty is still enforcing the 40-year listing agreements even while facing legal challenges from attorneys general in nine states, including Georgia, and going through bankruptcy.
MV Realty’s homeowner benefit program gives you a small check now but a big penalty later – 3% of the value of your house if you don’t use them to sell your house.
“Who did they say they were?” Gray asked Padgett.
“They never did say that. They said they were financial assistance,” Padgett said.
MV Realty was trying to place all those attorney general efforts to block the liens and payments on hold with the bankruptcy.
But a federal judge Thursday dismissed their motion, writing that it is an unprecedented attempt to interfere with the procedural and substantive rights of the defendant states.
What that means is Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s and others’ cases can go on.
The AG lawsuit claims the payments MV Realty demands from homeowners like Padgett are illegal.
The judge’s ruling also gives us new information on the scale of all this.
There are approximately 38,000 existing HBAs, plus about 2,000 that homeowners already paid.
In the past 24 hours, Padgett proved she never even received a check from MV Realty, who is now removing the lien from her house.
“This has been just a nightmare,” Padgett said.
The judge’s ruling also declared that there appears to be no path out of bankruptcy for MV Realty unless it’s allowed to enforce the homeowner benefit agreements because they are essentially the company’s only asset.