The developer of a posh south Chandler neighborhood is suing his homeowners, saying his customers are intent on ruining him and that is preventing him from doing his job.
The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, accuses eight residents of Eden Estates of defamation, infliction of emotional distress and other actions against Dan Clayton, owner of Homes for Southwest Living, which built Eden Estates.
Unfinished work in the neighborhood — including gates, landscaping and a promised park — has prompted criticism from the residents and complaints to two state agencies. The Chandler city prosecutor is considering filing criminal charges against Clay ton for not fulfilling requirements of the approved development plan.
Clayton said he has been working to refinance the project to get it back on track. He claimed he never said when he would install gates and landscaping; city officials have said they expected them in April.
Clayton said he had asked the residents named in the lawsuit to, "stop, for lack of a better term, harassing me so we could focus on refinancing."
"It’s a sign of desperation," Dennis Troggio, one resident named in the lawsuit, said. "He could be using (the money needed to file the lawsuit) to build the gates and the parks and the financial obligations he’s got."
At least two residents have filed lawsuits in Superior Court this year saying Clayton owes them money.
Upset residents didn’t start filing complaints with the state and voicing their concerns until March, though they’ve been waiting for the park and gates for years, said Joyce Crissman, another resident named in Clayton’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit says some residents gave false information to a state agency, to police officers and to the public. It also takes issue with Crissman and five other residents who picketed in front of the subdivision recently. The lawsuit says the signs were directed toward the adjacent Chandler Christian Church, which Clayton attends.
Chuck White, a resident and Clayton supporter, said the developer’s lawsuit brings negative attention to the neighborhood.
"The concept of fairly wealthy people who don’t have gates in their community doesn’t strike me as a tragedy," White said. "It strikes me that going and picketing a guy’s church is over the line."
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