Bonita Springs mother evicted despite paying full rent
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Confusion over the ownership of a Bonita Springs condo led to the sudden eviction of the mother who had just given birth to premature twins.
Michelle Turner said U.S. marshals knocked on her door without warning to serve her an eviction notice. She had no clue that the owner of her home at The Tides at Pelican Landing had forfeited it to the federal government as part of an agreement in a health care fraud case.
“I was actually just cleaning my kids bottles and I got a knock on the door and the U.S. marshals came in and of course I freak out,” Turner said. “… He basically told me he was coming to give me a notice to vacate because the owner of this condo was going to prison and they needed basically to seize this property.”
Turner quickly discovered The Tides at Pelican Landing was not the owner of the condo unit she was renting. But Turner was confused because she only communicated with the manager of The Tides and wrote her check each month to The Tides.
The property’s real owner was Irina Krutoyarsky, who was sentenced to five years in federal prison for health care fraud. As part of Krutoyarsky’s agreement with the government, she had to pay back millions of dollars and forfeit more than a dozen properties she owned, including the condo Turner was renting.
“I was under the impression that The Tides owned this, so I had no idea what owner [the marshal] was talking about,” said Turner. “I went into the [The Tides front] office just to verify because I thought maybe they got the wrong condo.”
The WINK News Call for Action team tried to figure out where the misunderstanding may have begun. According to federal court documents, the government sent notification to The Tides at Pelican Landing and their management company telling them that the property had been forfeited.
That letter went out around the middle of December 2015, five months before a Deputy U.S. marshal showed up at Turner’s doorstep. Turner maintains the HOA never told her about the forfeiture.
Our team of investigators called numerous times, sent emails and even tried to speak with someone in person, but the HOA and management company refused to answer any questions.
“They [the HOA] never said anything to me,” Turner said. “I continued to keep paying rent to them. … I have two small kids and I don’t understand how they could just not care or at least be considerate and say, ‘This is what’s going on, you might want to, you know, find a place just in case.'”
Michelle has since moved into her new home and says her twins, who just celebrated their first birthday, are doing wonderfully. But she also says she has learned her lesson and will always be checking first to see who really owns any property she plans to lease.
Resources for renters
Lee County Property Appraiser — Find out who owns each piece of land and property
Lee County Clerk of Courts — Find out if a property has any liens or if a bank is trying to foreclose on it
Lee County Sheriff’s Office — Find out if the owner has an arrest record