Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Destin Log of Aug. 13, 2008

Man challenges Destin’s Waterstone with lawsuit over foreign workers

August 13, 2008

by: Fraser Sherman

Bill Harris says he’d have been much happier if he could have avoided a lawsuit over alleged illegal rentals in Panama City Beach’s Nautilus Cove Condominiums.

"I’m 62 years old and I’ve never sued anyone in my life," Harris, who filed suit last month, told The Log. "It was only after nine to 10 months of complaints that I hired an attorney — at that time I thought that just paying $300 for attorney letters to the board of directors and Waterstone (Resorts) would finally do the trick."

Harris, who hired Destin attorney R. Scott Whitehead to represent him, said he’s still hoping to settle out of court, but although he’s been told the problems are resolved, he’s not yet convinced.

Harris said that after moving into Nautilus Cove in May 2007, he noticed that the condo unit directly above his, owned by Waterstone Resorts Realty in Destin, held seven Asians working at a local resort.

Harris said he complained to Waterstone Resorts, which told him the condo had been rented to one individual and the problem would be dealt with. After leaving for a medical treatment, Harris said, "When I came back, three apartments were involved."

After repeated complaints to the board of directors that this violated the condo association rules, Waterstone and the management company — none of whom returned The Log’s calls — Harris hired the Destin attorney to write to them as a "shot across the bows." When nothing changed, he filed in court.

The lawsuit names Waterstone, Nautilus Cove and two Waterstone employees as defendants.

Since filing, Harris said, he’s been told "the situation is corrected, now they’re renting out more appropriately," but having been out of the area, he doesn’t know if it’s true.

Harris said he’s willing to settle, but only if everyone on the other side agrees to the terms: "I want assurances that this is going to stop and enforce the documents as written. Plus I want my expenses to date paid."Harris said he’s generally disappointed with Nautilus Cove because only half of the 168 units have sold and the rest are now being rented out so "I live in an apartment complex."

Harris has also taken his fight to the Web, posting reports on the lawsuit and relevant documents to

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