Upset neighbors take fight to court - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Upset neighbors take fight to court

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Some Hickory Hill residents are fed up with their homeowner's association and are fighting to take it back.

It's a battle that has taken them to court and led them to call for the king of their neighborhood to be dethroned.

These homeowners say they're tired of being treated like renters, especially after they say the board they thought they elected isn't in power. They  simply want a say in how their hard-earned money is being spent.

There's an old saying: You get what you pay for.

Elma Griffin, who's lived in her home in Menden Downs for 23 years, says her homeowner's association doesn't live up to that phrase, after what she describes as a hostile takeover of the neighborhood board.

"He appointed himself president," Griffin said. "He said he was going to help us until we had an election."

Griffin added that real estate investor Anthony Tuggle took over as president of the homeowners association in 2010, after he purchased rental property in the neighborhood.
Soon after, Griffin claims she and her neighbors were shut out of any decision making, and locked out of the very areas their homeowners fees are paying to keep up.

"We're supposed to be able to get into the common area," Griffin said. "Where that concrete slab is (pointing) is where our swimming pool used to be. We could still use that. We could make it into a patio, we could use the club house for parties, reunions, whatever.  But, we're not allowed."

Griffin and her neighbors, pay $1,800 a year in homeowners association fees. That's $150 a month. Griffin says before the new regime, the money was used to clean gutters and for lawn care. But when residents stopped seeing these types of services performed, Griffin and 20 other homeowners hired  attorney Web Brewer and sued the homeowners association board.   

Brewer says these homeowners have exhausted all options, even holding an election.

"They held a vote, looked through the bi-laws and tried to hold a vote, gave notice and ousted that board," Brewer said. "But the board would not turn over control of the operations. Financial accounts and operations."   

FOX13 News reached out to Tuggle, but didn't hear back from him. The station also contacted his attorney but he declined an interview because the case is "on-going".

Both sides are set to appear in court next Tuesday, July 23, to iron out details for an Aug. 7 election to elect new board members. Still, Tuggle and other investors in the neighborhood could have the upper hand in the upcoming election.

"Let's say someone buys three or four units in the place, then they have three or four votes," Brewer said. "That makes it easier to get a block of votes to control what happens."

A special master has been assigned to this case until a new board is elected, so the bank account for the Menden Downs Homeowners Association has been frozen. In the meantime, Griffin and her neighbors are still locked out of the common area and clubhouse.

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