Owners of Ilwaco mobile home park ordered to pay $926k+ for unlawful evictions, shutting utilities off

A Pacific County couple has been ordered to pay $926,500 in penalties following instances of what Attorney General Bob Ferguson calls ‘egregious abuse' of their tenants at an Ilwaco mobile home park. 

Ferguson filed the motion for partial summary judgment as part of a consumer protection lawsuit against Michael and Denise Werner and their companies, including Deer Point Meadows Investments. 

The suit alleges the Werners "violated the Consumer Protection Act and Manufactured/Mobile Housing Landlord-Tenant Act during their purchase and operation of Beacon Charters and RV Park." 

"On April 11, 2022, the Werners purchased Beacon, intending to convert the park to short-term rentals. Prior to completing the sale, the Werners began issuing eviction notices to Beacon’s 45 long-term residents on February 25, 2022. The notices were signed by "Management."

On April 6, 2022 – still prior to owning the park – the Werners issued a utility shut-off notice, also signed by "Management."  The former CEO of Deer Point had testified that this was "standard practice" for the Werners.  The Werners attempted to shut-off the power but the local utility provider refused.

When issuing the notices, and subsequent notices around the park, two of the Werners’ employees were visibly armed with firearms, at the direction of Michael Werner." the AG's Office wrote. 

Tenants also said the Werners had refused to keep the park clean and safe, as required by law, allowing a rat infestation, piles of garbage, and feces-smeared bathroom facilities.

Judge Katherine Svoboda ruled that the notices were unfair and deceptive, in violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

"In written communication, Denise Werner described the Beacon residents as "filth." Michael Werner stated he is not concerned about the Beacon residents’ rights and that he does not believe the law applies to him," the AG's Office wrote. 

On Thursday, Judge Svoboda ordered the Werners and their companies to pay $381,500 in civil penalties, plus $545,000 in enhanced penalties because their unlawful notices impacted protected classes including the elderly, disabled, veterans and low-income individuals. 

Svoboda also ordered the Werners to pay the Attorney General’s costs and fees. That amount will be determined at a later date.

This is in addition to $57,000 in administrative fines from the Attorney General’s prior enforcement for violations of Washington’s Manufactured/Mobile Housing Landlord Tenant Act, and a court order to provide $2,000 or actual relocation costs to tenants, whichever is greater.