Lake Deaton residents angrily objected Thursday to the Community Development District 10 Board of Supervisors’ handling of a tree cutting incident in their neighborhood.
Residents attending the board meeting at Savannah Center claimed their reputations have been “destroyed” and they have been unjustly branded as criminals thanks to the actions of a contractor, who was arrested in the incident.
“The way The Villages handled this, I was aghast,” said homeowner Jerry Hubbuch, who lives on Valleybrook Way, the scene of much of the damage.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office investigated the matter and issued a press release indicating the damage estimate was between $40,000 and $50,000. A detective said the contractor told residents he had permission from The Villages to perform the work. The detective describes what happened in this video:
“We were scammed as homeowners. Now, The Villages is trying to ram this down our throats and has us being scammed a second time,” said James Thompson, who with his wife purchased a home on Valleybrook Way in 2015 for $446,200.
His wife, Suzanne Thompson, said she and her neighbors had been “slandered” by officials.
“Every time you give your address, people sneer,” she said.
She said she recently got a painting estimate and the company representative paused upon hearing her “Valleybrook Way” address.
“Are you one of those people?” Suzanne Thompson said she was asked.
Residents said they have been unfairly compared to a notorious incident in late 2014 in the Village of Bridgeport at Lake Miona where trees were also unlawfully cut down.
Some residents said they have received invoices from the District Office, seeking money to help pay for the remediation of the damage.
The rage of the residents intensified when CDD 10 Board Chairman Don Wiley, near the end of the meeting, announced supervisors would be “withholding comments” as it is an ongoing legal matter.
After the meeting was gaveled into adjournment, residents got up out of their chairs and began yelling questions and accusations at the supervisors.
“We were the victims of a scammer. Now, the public servants that we pay, are working against us,” Suzanne Thompson said.