Homeowners, condo associations file suit against property management company over funds

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:

Millions of dollars are feared gone after a property management company closed its doors in Collier County.

The money belongs to more than two dozens of homeowners and condominium associations.

Their claims are the foundation of a lawsuit filed against their property management company American Property Management Services.

Their office in East Naples appears to be no longer open for business.

Attempts to reach the company over the phone were unsuccessful.

Marsha Knapp arrived at the offices of American Property Management in East Naples with a mission.

She was trying to get her belongings, documents, condo keys and more belonging to the Royal Bay Villas where she is a director.

She had no luck at the offices but then she called the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

Only then was Knapp allowed inside and her belongings were handed to her.

“We are just right now trying to figure out how to pay our bills and we are having continual board meetings, brainstorming,” said Royal Bays Villas officer Laura Rigsby.

Court records show Royal Bay Villas and more than two dozen other condo and homeowners associations are suing American Property Management and its bank Wells Fargo.

The lawsuit claims Americans Property Management refused to turn over Wells Fargo bank statements to show what’s happening with the associations’ money.

The suit alleges the associations no longer have access to their funds.

“It’s scary,” Rigsby said. “This is some scary times for us.”

Jason Hamilton Mikes, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit, claims tens of millions of dollars are unaccounted for.

He wants a judge to immediately freeze that money so American Property Management can’t touch it.

As for the owners of American Property Management? WINK News could not reach them on the phone.

And their offices in East Naples?

WINK News watched people hired to clean out the office pack up cars and drive away.

“We are now operating like in emergency mode, so to be betrayed like this and to just know that we’ve been being lied to and that they basically, they took all our money and ran and this affects lives, this affects other associations’ lives this affects families,” Rigsby said.

“We reached out to Wells Fargo for comment and a spokesperson said they can’t offer comment due to the ongoing litigation status.”

The lawyer representing the associations said American Property Management got served with the lawsuit last week.

The company has 20 days from then to respond.

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