FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 15, 2002
CONTACT: Olha N.M. Rybakoff, Deputy Attorney General
ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES MOBILE HOME PARK FOR SUPPLYING RESIDENTS WITH UNSAFE WATER
Wilmington, DE -- Attorney General M. Jane Brady has announced that her Office has filed a civil law enforcement suit today against the owners and operators of Briarwood Mobile Home Park in the Court of Chancery in Sussex County. The Complaint charges Mobile Gardens MHP, LLC, Cavalier & Associates, Management Resources, Kenneth C. Burnham, William J. Kilroy and others with violating various provisions of the Delaware Mobile Home Lots and Leases Act, the Consumer Fraud Act and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, by failing to provide a consistently safe and potable water supply in the preceding two year period for residents of the Briarwood Mobile Home Park, located near Laurel, Delaware.
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the matter last summer, after receiving complaints that residents had been provided with water containing high levels of nitrates - known to be unsafe for infants, pregnant and nursing women and small animals. The investigation revealed Briarwood had been cited several times by state and federal authorities for the nitrate problem as well as other water problems, but continued to supply the high-nitrate water to residents rather than arranging for an alternative water supply. The investigation also uncovered evidence of improper attempts by park owners to raise residents' rents during this time period, as well as some evidence of retaliation against tenants. Attempts to resolve these problems directly with park owners and operators by the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit remained largely ignored, necessitating the lawsuit, said Deputy attorney General Olha N.M. Rybakoff, Director of the Consumer Protection Unit.
"Every citizen is absolutely entitled to a safe and reliable drinking water supply," said Attorney General M. Jane Brady. "Commercial entities which profit from renting property and supplying water to consumers should be held to the highest standards possible in order to ensure the public is protected."
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief as well as restitution for all affected consumers. The lawsuit also requests the establishment of a receivership, civil penalties, costs and attorney fees. Consumers who believe they may have been affected by improper mobile home park operations are encouraged to call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit, which has enforcement jurisdiction over mobile home laws in Delaware. Consumers may call (302) 577-8600 in New Castle County, and (800) 220-5424 in Kent and Sussex Counties.