Pearl River Lake Estates property owners receive suspicious letters

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Several landowners in the Pearl River Lake Estates subdivision have received another offer from a local company to purchase their property.

Mark Gibson, owner of HL&C Pearl River Lake Estates, LLC and other companies, sent letters to landowners in the subdivision offering to buy their lots for less than their appraised value.

The letter states Gibson was told by the Mississippi Department of Health that he needs more land in order to install a “sewer filter line.”

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“Anyone from the state health department will tell you that,” Gibson said.

According to the On-Site Wastewater Division in the MSDH Office of Environmental Health, there is no central collection system in the subdivision, so each lot would require an on-site wastewater system.

There is no minimum lot size for on-site wastewater, MSDH said in an emailed statement.

Ben Kelly, from MSDH, said for a 60-by-113 foot lot, they would need to have good soil and a relatively small house in order to install an on-site treatment system.

Kelly also said it would depend if the lot had community water or a well system.

If there is a well, there would need to be a 100-foot buffer from the well to the wastewater system, Kelly said.

“If they had to have wells, there’s no way it could work,” Kelly said.

In a phone interview, Gibson said he wanted to purchase the additional properties “to broaden my horizons.”

However, his letter to property owners states, “I [Gibson] would like to put our mobile home on our family property, but the Health Department has told me that the sewer filter line requirements would need a little more space, to do it right.”

Gibson said in the phone interview that statement was correct.

However, according to county records, Gibson owns about 60 lots on one street of the subdivision under his company HL&C Pearl River Lake Estates, LLC.

“They don’t have to sell to me,” Gibson said. “I thought this was a free county.”

Gibson offered one property owner $281.57 for their lot, which was appraised at $500.

Property owners said they had not advertised for the sale of their land and were not actively seeking to sell their property, Becky Bowling, a representative of the property owner, said.

Previous coverage from 2007 states that Gibson, under his company G9, LLC, purchased over 800 lots in the subdivision from the State of Mississippi for unpaid property taxes.

That same year, he also sent out letters to property owners in the subdivision offering to buy their lots for a one time offer of $500, previous coverage states.

Gibson reportedly had several misleading statements in his 2007 letters, where he claimed the MSDH would not allow property owners to build septic tanks on lots smaller than one acre and that the county would soon be assessing a fee of about $6,000 per lot for road construction, water installation and other utilities in the subdivision.

Previous comments from MSDH and Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin in the 2007 article refuted those claims.

According to county records, under various companies, Gibson owns around a thousand properties throughout the county.

Tax records show that some of those properties have outstanding taxes due for as much as $2,000 from the 2015 tax year.

Jo Lyn Houston, bookkeeper for the Pearl River County Tax Assessor’s office, confirmed the Delta software company actively maintains the county’s online tax records.


About Julia Arenstam

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