Insurance Theft Leads to Loss of Trust in Fulton County HOA

A fire destroyed the Camelot Condominiums complex on Old National Highway. Residents were devastated financially and by losing homes.  An additional variant of devastation now has been inflicted upon the homeowners. As reported, “two officials from the Camelot Condominiums homeowners’ association (HOA) have been accused of stealing $1.5 million owed to victims of the fire that destroyed one of the buildings.” The magnitude of the alleged theft has been reported to be “$1.5 million dollars.”

Two HOA officials have been accused of the theft. Some of the homeowner victims of the fire have been stated in interviews that “the fire was the source of so much hardship in the days and months that followed.” Homeowner victims claim that were “shocked to learn some of it could’ve been alleviated with the insurance payouts.” They never received the payouts.

One of the residents, Jaquoria Harris, now a former resident, stated “we never got any help from no one.” An insight into the scope of the homeowners’ suffering is illustrated in additional comments Harris made. “Her life was changed forever after the January 2020,” Harris exclaimed. Not only was her unit destroyed but the fire “nearly claimed the lives of her mother, her sister-in-law Kristian Smith, and their kids who were all home at the time.”

Smith described characteristics of the fire. “It was like the black smoke it was so thick you couldn’t breathe.” A horrific aspect of the fire, as Harris described, was that her “nieces and nephews were thrown over the balcony to be saved.” Paradoxically, “the kids were saved by their grandmother, who died just months later.”

Harris expressed an initial hope that assistance would be forthcoming. With “no place to go, and their belongings reduced to tattered ashes,” Harris was hopeful that Camelot’s HOA President at the time, Bettye Ligon, engagement with the homeowners would lead to assistance. Ligon averred that she would contact the homeowners, but, in Harris’ words, “we never heard from anybody.”

Harris commented that she “didn’t see Ligon’s face again until almost four years later when her mug shot flashed across their TV screen tuned into FOX 5 Atlanta Friday.” In that news release, the South Fulton police announced “charges against Ligon and the HOA’s current treasurer Lyndon Baldwin” were being brought “{for stealing $1.5 million in insurance payouts from victims.”

In what might be considered an understatement, Harris declared: “It’s mind-blowing cause you never expect that to happen.” Harris added, rhetorically, “Why would you want to take from people and you know what we experienced that day firsthand?” Adding to the depth of the malevolence of the crime, Harris exclaimed: “You stood there with us, and watched the building burn down. You know we didn’t have anything.” One poignant fact that symbolized the depravity of the crime was the lack of safety conditions. Harris added: “The back door of the community was nailed down [so] that they couldn’t get out the back door. That’s why [the children] had to jump [over the balcony] and Bettye knew that.”

Harris has been quoted as asserting: “She needs to get what she deserves. She need to go to jail.”

D & B Staff

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Episode 205