Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trouble in Paradise


The North Carolina State Bar has filed the complaint in its disciplinary action against Avery County attorney Randy Carpenter. The complaint, filed October 23, 2008, is available online at:




Carpenter served as an attorney, surveyor and engineer in various matters concerned the Village of Penland development in Mitchell County. After pulling off the $100 million scam at the development, several of the developers are facing jail terms.


The following information on Carpenter was originally posted in July 2007:


Mr. Carpenter’s name appears in several capacities in many of the activities of Peerless Real Estate and related entities. First of all, numerous corporations were formed to carry out the objectives of Peerless Real Estate Services, Tony Porter, et al. Several of those corporations were listed among the defendants in the Penland lawsuit brought by NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

For most of those defendant corporations, and for numerous other corporations affiliated with the Peerless group, as well as some corporations involved in the Grandfather Vistas project, Randy A. Carpenter was on record as the initial registered agent. This is a partial list, from the records of the NC Secretary of State, of those corporations and the dates they were established:
Deer Park Estates, Inc. (2/28/02)
SDT, LLC (5/1/02) [Anthony Porter, then of Burton, SC was organizer of that corporation.] The corporation was renamed Communities of Penland, LLC (12/18/02)
Bailey’s Peak Investment Group, LLC (12/16/02)
Bailey’s Peak Reserve, LLC (12/16/02)
Peerless Real Estate Services, Inc. (6/23/03)
COP Preservation Partners, Inc. (12/29/03)
Village of Penand, LLC (5/12/04)
Hanging Rock Fraser Fir, LLC (7/8/04)
MFSL Land Holdings, LLC (8/9/04)
COP Land Holdings, LLC (12/20/05)
Blue River Ridge of Blowing Rock, LLC (2/7/06)
Grandfather Vistas, LLC (3/23/06)

On April 15, 2007, Randy A. Carpenter resigned as registered agent from these (and probably several more) corporations and certified that written notice of resignation had been mailed or delivered to John Perry, Vice President of Peerless Real Estate Services, Inc.

LAND TRANSFERS

To get a more complete picture of the Peerless developers’ land acquisitions, and Randy Carpenter’s involvement, you need to go back through deeds recorded over the past five years in Mitchell and Avery Counties. In addition to preparing deeds and surveys, Randy Carpenter was a party in the purchase and sale of various properties involved in the Peerless dealings.
Mitchell County deeds are not available online. [ Correction - the Mitchell system is operational again, go to www.mitchellrod.com ]

However, you can access Avery County deeds by going to the Avery County register of deeds website to search for various transactions involving Randy Carpenter, RC Avery County Land Holdings LLC, Communities of Penland LLC, COP Preservation Partners, MFSL Landholdings LLC, Hanging Rock Fraser Fir LLC, Mountain Land Company, Roy C. Young, and Angela Whichard, among others.

Here are some of the Avery County deed book and page numbers of interest:
353/1599
374/601
374/722
374/725
374/735
378/601
379/599
379/1568
398/2169
398/2172
398/2175
394/2649
380/2874
380/2891
381/1112
405/1718
405/1721
405/1724
405/1730
405/1733

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

If you turn to page 5 of the December 2004 issue of the NC Bulletin (Newsletter of the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors) you'll find a report of disciplinary actions taken by the Board from August 11, 2003 to October 14, 2004, which includes two cases against Carpenter:

CASE NO. V03-008
Randy A. Carpenter, PLS No. L-3814
Spruce Pine, NC
VIOLATION:
Map 1
1. Certified a plat which does not comply with the requirements of G.S. 47-30.
2. Failed to accurately locate all watercourses on boundary [.1604(e)(8)].
3. Failed to show calls of property lines [.1604(e)(2)].
4. Failed to report the results of a survey in a clear and factual manner
[.1602(f)] including not showing roads and changes of lot lines.
5. Failed to protect the public by not establishing control corners required by
G. S. 39-32.1 [.0701(b)].
6. Failed to make adequate investigation [.1602(a)].
7. Failed to monument corners [.1602(d)].
8. Failed to properly reference north arrow [.1604(e)(1)].
9. Failed to identify all references sources [.1602(f)].
10. Performed a substandard survey, failing to protect the public [.0701(b)].
11. Failed to provide adequate tie [.1602(g), .1604(e)(9)].
Map 2
1. Failed to properly reference north arrow [.1604(e)(1)].
2. Failed to provide adequate tie [.1602(g), .1604(e)(9)].
Map 3
1. Failed to identify all references sources [.1602(f)].
2. Failed to provide adequate tie [.1602(g), .1604(e)(9)].
3. Failed to properly reference north arrow [.1604(e)(1)].
4. Failed to protect the public by not establishing control corners required by
G. S. 39-32.1 [.0701(b)].
5. Failed to show calls of property lines [.1604(e)(2)].
Map 4
1. Failed to accurately locate all apparent rights-of-way and improvements on
boundary [.1604(e)(8)].
2. Failed to describe monuments as set or found [.1602(f)].
3. Failed to indicate title source [.1604(e)(11)].
4. Failed to provide adequate tie [.1602(g), .1604(e)(9)].
5. Failed to monument corners [.1602(d)].
6. Failed to report the results of a survey in a clear and factual manner
[.1602(f)].
Map 5
1. Failed to accurately locate all apparent rights-of-way and improvements on
boundary [.1604(e)(8)].
2. Failed to indicate ratio of precision [.1603(a)].
3. Certified a plat which does not comply with the requirements of G.S. 47-30,
to include inadequate certificate.
4. Failed to monument corners [.1602(d)].
Map 6
1. Failed to accurately locate all apparent rights-of-way and improvements on
boundary [.1604(e)(8)].
2. Failed to monument corners [.1602(d)].
3. Certified a plat which does not comply with the requirements of G.S. 47-30
to include inadequate certificate.
BOARD ACTION: Pass Ethics course from New Mexico State University or
University of Maine with 70% each part, successfully complete the NC Society of
Surveyors Institute Spring 2004 (courses to be determined by the Board) and
Civil Penalty of $2000. (Combined with Case No. V03-023)

CASE NO. V03-023
Randy C. [sic] Carpenter, PLS No. L-3814
Spruce Pines, NC
VIOLATION: Failed to make adequate investigation [.1602(a)]; failed to examine
most recent deeds and recorded plats of adjacent properties [.1602(c)]; issued
an inaccurate survey creating an encroachment on the adjoining property
[.1602(a),(f)]; and failed to sign and seal a survey not marked as preliminary
[.1103].
BOARD ACTION: Pass Ethics course from New Mexico State University
or University of Maine with 70% each part, successfully complete the NC Society
of Surveyors Institute Spring 2004 (courses to be determined by the Board) and
Civil Penalty of $2000. (Combined with Case No. V03-008)

GLOBAL TRADE AND FINANCING

One interesting diversion for the Peerless developers was participation in the 2005 Latin American and Caribbean Program of Americas Linkage (a program of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, funded by the State of Florida Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and sponsored by American Airlines).

Americas Linkage program was described as an "opportunity to meet high level executives in
targeted countries, learn about business opportunities, exchange ideas and forge personal bonds that can lead to new business ventures."


Participants in the May 2 session in Rio de Janeiro are identified and several familiar names appear on the list:

Randy Carpenter
Global Trade and Financing
9380 Sunset Dr. # 140
Miami, FL 33177
Phone: 305-596-3606
Fax: 305-596-1336
luis45@msn.com
Sector: Real Estate

Also listed with the same contact information as Mr. Carpenter are Mr. Skip Amelung, Mr. Anthony Porter and Mr. Luis G. Castillo, who also listed a website - http://www.globaltradeandfinancing.com/ - where the company’s mission is described:

We are a privately owned financial services company independent of anygovernment, with the mission to help the private and public sector, operatedby business entrepreneurs who understand the difficulties of obtaining a loan. Our management team represents numerous wholesale lending sources nationwide and internationally.

The 2005 brochure published by the Peerless group touted the company’s "integrated construction products pipeline" including Brazilian hardwoods, Brazilian granite and and Brazilian stone.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Minutes from the October 10, 2005 meeting of the Mitchell County commissioners reflect discussion of the Sanitary District proposed for the Village of Penland development. From the minutes of that meeting:

Mr. Chairman, I am Randy Carpenter, professional engineer with my office located here in Mitchell County. I am also a freeholder within the district and a resident of the district. I have been providing engineering services to the developer for the past four years on this
project…

For whatever reasons, the Village of Penland request for a Sanitary District was withdrawn in March 2006. But, other speakers at the October 10, 2005 meeting referred to the permit issues that the development faced with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to other reports, DENR found that Village of Penland / Communities of Penland violated the Dam Safety Act in restoring Diamond Lake at the Penland property. Apparently, Carpenter filed with DENR on the basis that the restored dam would be lower than 15 feet, but exceeded that limit without the proper permit. And, in working on the dam and development, VOP improperly disturbed wetlands in violation of the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act. Eventually, they entered into a Settlement Agreement with DENR in December, 2005, agreeing to pay $250,000 in fines (which VOP paid in late 2006) and a $650,000 mitigation fee (which has not been paid, and which liability likely will be inherited by whoever takes on this property). More than one communication from DENR in 2004 and 2005 required that another engineer, besides Mr. Carpenter, supervise project construction.

LIENS

In May 2007, Randy Carpenter filed liens against various Village of Penland properties for amounts that he asserted were due to him for his work on the Penland development. Carpenter claimed that he was owed $1,388,275.33 plus costs for "professional services including land surveying, civil engineering, master planning environmental/development consulting, construction inspection, and project management" provided from July 1, 2002 through April 17, 2007, as the result of a contractual agreement with Neil O’Rourke, Anthony Porter, Frank Amelung, John Perry, Kevin Foster and Jean Austin.

Copies of those liens are available:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/214674/Randy-Carpenter-Liens-Part-1

http://www.scribd.com/doc/214672/Rancy-Carpenter-Liens-Part-2

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

According to the High Country Press article of July 12, 2007, Randy Carpenter intends to establish a 161-acre rock quarry atop Burleson Bald Mountain in Avery County. The proposed quarry triggered debate at the July 10, 2007 meeting of the Avery County Planning Board:

… Randy Carpenter, owner-operator of RC Landholdings, submitted a permit application to the state for the quarry and met with strong resistance from the citizens’ association. [Unincorporated Citizens’ Association to Protect Wildcat Cliffs]
… On May 22, the North Carolina Division of Land Resources conducted a public hearing on Carpenter’s application. Subsequent to the state hearing, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources notified Carpenter by certified letter on June 18 that he had to resolve several issues before his application could be considered for processing.
The modifications to the application reflect the concerns the citizens’ association presented at the public hearing.
… Many attendees also questioned the suggested connection between Carpenter and the board because Carpenter had seated himself at the board’s table prior to the meeting coming to order, giving an impression that he had a connection with the Planning Board. In response to the concerns and to quiet the quickly rising anger in the voices of those complaining, Carpenter was asked to seat himself with the rest of the crowd.


The July 17, 2007 issue of High Country Press reported on issues raised at the Planning Board meeting and addressed during the July 16 meeting of the Avery County Board of Commissioners:

County Attorney Michaelle Poore informed the board that "the county has been served with a notice of a lawsuit to be filed by RC Avery County Landholdings, LLC [Randy Carpenter’s company] against the county for preparatory judgment action seeking to have the 90-day moratorium to halt high-impact development in the county be declared invalid and unconstitutional."

Obviously, we’ve not heard the last of Randy Carpenter.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Soooo, have any of the Penland Perps gone to jail, or will this go on forever...

GULAHIYI said...

Well, you know, justice moves at a glacial pace. As far as I'm aware, the good time boys are still awaiting sentencing. I've not been particularly diligent in keeping up with this situation since pleas were entered, but will certainly pass along any news that comes down the pike.

Anonymous said...

I would think that proceeding against these individuals would (and maybe should) primarily be an attempt to get get someone to roll over to support a case against RC.

Class of '74

Anonymous said...

Hi, Love your blog. In case you didn't know, DNER denied RC's quarry permit application on Sept. 3 (due to his shenanigans with Penland) and he did not appeal within the 30-day limit. It was a long fight to save that mountain. Let's hope that's the end of the story, but you never know.
Debbie