INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is suing the owners of the I-70 Mobile Home Park after RTV6 first uncovered the story of dozens of residents being forced from homes they own.
In August, the owner of the park, Blue Lakes Inc., told residents they had to either move their mobile homes from the property or they would be demolished on Oct. 15. Residents called RTV6 looking for help after being left with a list of questions and few answers on why they had to leave the property the residents themselves owned.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit accusing Blue Lakes Inc. of deceptive consumer sales, knowingly violating the consumer sales act, not obtaining permits to sell mobile homes in Marion County and exploiting senior citizens who paid for mobile homes they never received titles to, as required by Indiana law.
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In August, RTV6 spoke to residents after they learned they may have to move because the park's owner decided to close instead of fixing $100,000 in water pipe problems.
When RTV6 first visited the I-70 Mobile Home Park, residents had two major concerns: One was the question of what happens to their contracts that allowed them to live in the park, including some who paid in advance. Another was that many residents needed to move their actual home, which they own.
"If you could imagine taking your home and moving it somewhere else, its not something you do over night," Jay Morehead said in August. "They're evicting us and saying we have to be out in 60 days. Its not like living in an apartment and you're going to move your trailer, or you're going to pack up all of your stuff, get out the apartment and get in another one. It's not that way."
Citizens Energy, which had been in contact with the mobile home park's management regarding repairs for about a year, said the repairs would fix issues with the park's private sewer lines, but they are not mandatory.
Some residents said in August that they would be willing to help if it meant they would not be evicted.
"If the sewage is the issue, we're more than happy to pay a little more on our lot rent," Tonia Clark said in August. "Every one of us has said that."
RTV6 also contacted Chase Haller, an attorney with Christian Legal Clinic, in an effort to point residents in the right direction.
Haller said the way the mobile home park's management treated residents was not fair, and he handed out complaint forms for the Attorney General's office.
"If you don't want to rent to them anymore that's fine, but many of these people have spent thousands of dollars on the trailers that are immovable," Haller said in August. "And so are they going to be compensated for that? Is there going to be some kind of refund for the money they paid for that? I think those are questions the owners should answer."
Elected officials and the mayor's office also held a resource fair so I-70 Mobile Home Park residents could learn more about housing assistance and legal clinic services. In September, the community rallied further for residents with a moving company offering deep discounts and legal entities that provided information on affordable housing.
State Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) also said he was considering legislation that would offer more protections for mobile home owners in Indiana.
And now that the Attorney General's office is intervening, the saga of the I-70 Mobile Home Park has taken yet another turn.
Read the lawsuit below: