MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Lavin Cars has been the subject of a heated lawsuit since the summer of 2012, but now it seems that investors seeking damages from dealership owner Howie Lavin are not getting the whole story.
Months after the initial lawsuit from investors who helped cover the cost of some of Lavin's cars on the lot, the Horry County Register of Deeds shows Lavin's North Myrtle Beach home underwent an assignment mortgage, or essentially changed hands among lenders. But in this case, the register shows the mortgage was assigned to Howie Lavin himself.
Attorney Gene Connell represents the investors in the suit, and he said it is unclear at this point if Lavin is, in fact, in control of his own mortgage. But he said according to South Carolina law, that can not happen.
"If you're suing a person, and they try to pass off their assets, it's illegal," Connell said. "In South Carolina it's called the Statute of Elizabeth."
Connell says all assets have to be accounted for if the person with the mortgage is being sued. But, he says it should not affect what investors could get if they win the lawsuit.
"It can be reversed," Connell continued. "You can't try to hand off those assets to a third party."
WMBF News tried to contact Thomas Brittain, Lavin's attorney, for a statement, but was unable to get in touch with him.