‘I don’t have 55 cents to give away let alone $55,000′: Woman, lawsuit claims homebuyer’s contract wasn’t upheld

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:12 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 10:27 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s the American dream: finding a place to call home.

Olivia Anderson said for her, it was an easy decision.

“Pretty much threw a dart at the map and ended up in Florence and rented an apartment there. And I was there for just a few weeks when I said, ‘OK I need to get out of this apartment and find a house.’ I found Loris, loved it, it’s right near Myrtle Beach. I love Myrtle Beach but it [Loris] is absent all of the tourists,” said Anderson, who came to South Carolina from Florida for retirement.

With some research, Anderson landed on a property in Loris in late 2021. She said she found it listed online and got connected with a real estate agent.

A few days later, she said she met that agent at the property.

”I came over and I loved it. I thought it was a very nice property. I liked the water behind it. I liked the size of the lot, and I told him, ‘Sure, I wanted to proceed.’ He told me to meet him at his office and he said he would have the builder there,” Anderson said.

Anderson told WMBF News, that what happened at the meeting, led her to file a lawsuit seven months later.

The lawsuit names several defendants including the real estate agent, Seven Suns Enterprises LLC, and the man Anderson referred to as the builder, Lucas Board.

Board isn’t a builder though, as he is not licensed with the Residential Builder’s Commission according to the South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

WMBF News emailed the SCLLR to get his contractor’s license but found out he has a mechanical contractor’s license with the classification of plumbing. He also has a plumbing company, Lucas Board Plumbing.

Anderson said she didn’t know that at the time, and at the meeting she signed a homebuyer’s contract.

The contract is referenced several times in the lawsuit and it’s something her lawyer, Tom Winslow, said he’s very familiar with.

“She trusted what was given to her. And that was a contract to build on this land that she thought she would call home,” Winslow explained.

One line of the lawsuit Winslow filed on Anderson’s behalf states, “the defendants induced the plaintiff to sign the contract and pay $55,000.”

The lawsuit also acknowledges that there are some inconsistencies

On the line that shows “contractor” on the contract, the LLC Seven Suns Enterprises is listed.

But all the other initials are L-B, which stands for Lucas Board.

Board does not represent Seven Suns Enterprises, according to the SCLLR.

The contract goes on to state that by signing, Anderson agreed to pay 20% of the cost of the land and the new house, which totaled $55,000. She paid with a personal check.

“I asked, ‘Who do I make it payable to?’ Lucas Board said. ‘Leave it blank, I have a stamp.’ Well after the check cleared my bank, I went into my bank account and saw Lucas Board made the check payable to himself,” Anderson said.

WMBF News obtained a copy of the cashed check which shows a stamp was not used on the payee line.

”I didn’t think a lot of it, thought maybe that’s how they do it here in South Carolina. So around February or March, I came over just to see the progress of the house, and it was nothing,” Anderson said.

She said that’s when she became anxious. The settlement date listed on the contract was May 1, 2022.

”I knew there was no way they could have a house built by April or May, that’s why I asked for my money back,” Anderson said.

“The settlement date or the closing date is the date it’s supposed to be turned over. Now you can have extensions, you can have due diligence where things are done differently, but in her case, there was no due diligence, no extensions, and there was no turnover of the property,” said Winslow.

Anderson said she first contacted her real estate agent, followed by Lucas Board. She said both men told her getting the money back wouldn’t be possible, which led her to file a police report with North Myrtle Beach.

A few months passed, and though Anderson said she kept in touch with the officer assigned to her case, but the officer told her there wasn’t enough information to make an arrest, so she went forward with filing a civil lawsuit.

“You know what you know. And sometimes it’s best to know what you don’t know. She doesn’t know the law. And so many consumers out there try to do something themselves and it doesn’t pan out. Sometimes when you wait too long, it only gets worse,” Winslow said.

And that’s exactly what Anderson said she found as she worked more with Winslow.

Horry County’s Geographical Information System reveals Seven Suns Enterprises LLC never owned the property where Anderson was supposed to have a house, despite an exclusive right-to-sell agreement.

Winslow is using that agreement as Exhibit A in his case.

The property in the agreement is referred to as Lot 6 off Highway 348. The actual owners are also named defendants in the lawsuit, but it remains unclear if the owners knew about this.

Anderson also found out she’s not the only one to file a lawsuit against Board. We were able to find four that have been filed in Horry County.

”It appears Lucas Board is a common denominator in these situations,” said Winslow.

WMBF News tried calling and texting Board at the number listed for Lucas Board Plumbing. He texted back and said we could speak with his attorneys. But when we asked who his attorneys were, he never responded.

WMBF News then tried to visit Board and talk to him in person but were unable to find him.

The sign for Lucas Board Plumbing is still out front of a business on Highway 90, but inside, there are mattresses.

Next, WMBF News tried to go to what’s believed to be his last known home address. We found out from the actual homeowner that Board was just an AirBnB guest. She said he moved out months ago.

Court records show Board also hasn’t responded to the suit involving Anderson.

In addition to the lawsuit, the Labor Licensing and Regulation Department, which includes the Residential Builder’s Commission issued Board a citation for the violation of unlicensed practice of residential building. This violation has a date of December 2, 2021, which is the same date Anderson signed her homebuyer’s contract. The penalty for the citation is $500.

Anderson was supposed to close on her dream house 10 months ago. She’s not sure if she’ll ever get her money back.

”You know I’m just an everyday person, I’m not a rich woman. Everyday working person. I don’t have 55 cents to give away let alone $55,000,” said Anderson.

She says for now, she’s stuck living in an apartment she only planned to be in for a few months.

There have been no criminal charges filed for Board.

We have attempted to contact all defendants listed in the suit.

The attorney representing the real estate agent and the real estate company Anderson worked with sent WMBF News his court-filed responses to the claims in the initial filing.

The responses deny most of the claims.

We also called the owners of the property listed in Anderson’s lawsuit, but the woman who answered hung up on us.

Anderson’s case is still going through the court system. There’s no timeline as to when or if this case will go to trial.