Court decision states Gibson to pay more than $600k, he plans to appeal to Supreme Court
Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2018
A Mississippi court has ruled that Picayune developer Mark Gibson will be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Pass Christian couple, according to a final judgment filed in the County Court of Harrison County, First Judicial District.
Gibson, however, contends that the judgment is based on false facts and he intends to appeal the decision.
According the complaint in the case filed on Nov. 18, 2014, Quentin and Sharonda Bell took out several loans from Tower Loan in Pass Christian. The complaint states that the couple took out a $39,060 loan in July of 2009, using their home as collateral. In November of that same year, the couple refinanced that loan, making the loan $8,892. In December of 2010, the company offered to refinance the loan two more times in the same month, bringing the loan to $18,480, the suit states. By January of 2012, the total owed on the loan was about $12,000, and their home was worth about $85,000, according to the suit.
In 2013, when the defendants attempted to pay on the loan, they were then told it was in default and in a state of imminent foreclosure, but they could seek the assistance of a man who purchased loans from Tower Loans, the suit states.
It was then that they spoke with Gibson, who purchased the loan.
Gibson said that by the time he bought the loan it totaled about $17,000.
When asked why he would buy a loan from Tower Loan, Gibson said “I buy loans from everybody.”
He said he does that to help the poor, but the defendants never paid him a penny after he took ownership of the loan.
Five months later Gibson said he evicted the couple from the home because no payments had been made.
“After I saved these people’s home, they did me just like Tower Loan and six other finance companies, they never paid me a penny,” Gibson said. “Sometimes it’s the people you help the most that mistake your kindness for weakness.”
Gibson said that due to the situation he had to pay $4,000 in back taxes and fees, and $25,000 to renovate the house.
However, according to the complaint, the couple contests that deceptive practices were employed by Tower Loan and Gibson to gain control of the house and in the end, take it from them.
A judgment by the Honorable Robin A. Midcalf in the County Court of Harrison County, states that Gibson has to pay the couple $136,508 in compensatory damages for fraud, conversion and trespassing, and $500,000 in punitive damages. The court came to that judgment in January of this year.
Gibson contests that the amount is too high, saying that a county court can only award a maximum judgment of $200,000, so he expects that judgment be changed Monday morning. He also said he intends to appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court.