Nicholas Malfitano Aug. 2, 2016, 1:00pm


HARRISBURG – The Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Wednesday it filed a civil lawsuit versus the owner of an Allegheny County manufactured home community, accusing him of engaging in “unlawful and deceptive business practices.”

Kane’s office, specifically, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, filed the litigation against Bill Chen, who does business as Twin Circles Mobile Home Park. The suit alleges “violations of the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act (MHCRA) and the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL).”

“This is a clear case of a property owner failing to meet his legal obligations and denying residents payments to which they are entitled,” Kane said. “This lawsuit is a necessary step to ensure the interests of the current and former residents of this community are protected.”

Per the lawsuit, Chen and his wife own a manufactured home community property located on Steubenville Pike, in Robinson Township. On Oct. 1, 2015, Chen allegedly sent a notice to residents informing them the property would be closing on April 15 of this year, and that residents would be required to leave by March 31.

The suit claims Chen’s notice omitted the fact that, by law, he is required to pay up to $4,000 to his residents’ home relocation costs. Chen also allegedly failed to disclose that current state law mandates he pay residents who are unwilling or unable to move at least $2,500 or the appraised value of their manufactured homes, whichever is greater.

According to the lawsuit, Chen then sent a second notice to residents on March 21, which again allegedly did not inform residents of his financial responsibilities as owner and operator of the property. The suit says a number of residents left the premises after receiving these notices, and were unaware of their rights.

The suit, filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, seeks payment under state law for the displaced residents and others who look to relocate. It further seeks civil penalties of $1,000 for each alleged violation of MHCRA and the UTPCPL, and $3,000 for every alleged violation involving a victim age 60 or older.

Moreover, the suit looks to prohibit Chen and any of his agents from continuing to engage in the alleged “deceptive business practices” described in the complaint.

The plaintiff is represented by Jesse F. Harvey, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in Pittsburgh.

According to Court records, the defendant has not yet secured legal representation.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-16-013133

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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