Moser Defends Morgan RV Resorts Action in Bay State
Morgan RV Resorts LLC has asked campers at its Flagg's RV and Cottage Resort in York, Maine, to pay upward of $13,000 in membership fees, a move similar to one the company tried in Massachusetts that resulted in a lawsuit, according to an Aug. 23 announcement by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Morgan's President Robert J. Moser, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., allegedly told homeowners if they didn't pay to join the "club," they could be removed from their site, according to Coakley's statement. An estimated 100 homeowners paid up, according to Coakley.
Coakley is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Morgan from soliciting further fees and is seeking the recovery of money already paid, The York Weekly reported.
Moser denies wrongdoing. Morgan was offering a rewards system to its customers, he said.
"The lawsuit has completely wrong information," Moser said Tuesday (Sept. 6). "Nobody has to be part of the club at all. It's 100% voluntary. That's why it's so upsetting. It's being blown up to something it's not."
A Morgan manager tried a similar move at Flagg's RV and Cottage Resort on Webber Road near York, a campground owned by Morgan RV Resorts, according to a camper interviewed and the former manager. After the Massachusetts AG's office filed the lawsuit, Morgan stopped pursuing the request for a membership fee, according to seasonal camper Melvin Riggs.
So far, no one staying at the park is known to have raised the issue with the Maine Attorney General, according to Riggs of Oklahoma.
In July, former Flagg's Manager John Mangum asked Flagg's campers to each pay a $13,000 membership fee to guarantee a space at the York Beach park for 40 years, according to Riggs and Mangum, though Mangum said he couldn't remember if the duration was a 40-year membership. The campers were told if they didn't pay the fee, their RV spaces in the park could be given to someone else, Riggs said.
By buying a membership, their yearly lot rent would be reduced to $1,000, said Riggs, who currently pays about $1,500 annually to leave his recreational vehicle at Flagg's year-round and to live there seasonally.
"My first thought was, 'I'm not going to be alive in 15 years,"' said Riggs on Sept. 2. When residents asked to see a copy of the contract, they were told it would cost $1,000 to get one, he said. This was in addition to the $13,000 membership fee.
Moser said Tuesday no one was being charged to get a contract. When The York Weekly asked to receive a copy, Moser said he didn't have one.
Moser said no one will be asked to leave Flagg's if they choose not to join the "club." They can continue to rent RV seasonal space at Flagg's, he said.
Mangum resigned three weeks into his tenure as Flagg's summer office manager, he said Tuesday from his Georgia home.
"I didn't like the way they were being treated," Mangum said of the resort's seasonal residents.
Mangum said Morgan planned to have all seasonal RVs removed from the park, to be replaced with park models. The seasonal residents would have to purchase a park model at a cost of more than $60,000, and also pay the membership fee, he said.
"There are still maintenance fees on top of that," said Mangum. "These are not the type of people who can afford this type of thing. They're retirees. I didn't feel comfortable because I couldn't get straight answers from (Morgan)."
Morgan moved an estimated six park models into Flagg's earlier this summer. The estimated 10 campers who had seasonal RVs parked in the spaces where the cottages, also called park models, were placed were told to leave, according to campers and former office managers.
The town in June ordered Morgan to removed the cottages, saying they were manufactured housing and illegal in the zone where they'd been placed.
Moser claims the park models are RVs and has appealed the town's order. The Appeals Board is scheduled to hear the case at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 in the York Public Library.