Woman claims she was bilked into wind farm loan
Claiming she was bilked out of her real estate and the proceeds of a Diamond Vista wind farm lease, a Tampa woman filed a lawsuit Dec. 30 against two men involved in a loan agreement she claims she did not know she signed.
Martha Lemon, 71, filed suit against Gary W. Pettit and Delmar Richardson, both living in Missouri.
Lemon claims she knew Pettit from his incarceration with her son.
Pettit was convicted in 2004 in Iowa of assault of a 14-year-old girl with intent to commit sexual abuse.
She claims Pettit told her in 2019 he needed to obtain a loan to save his business but didn’t have sufficient collateral to get a loan.
He convinced her to pledge her real estate and rights to her lease agreement with the wind farm as collateral for a $35,000 loan he would receive from Richardson.
Lemon claims that she, Pettit, and Richardson went Aug. 14, 2019, to her bank in Tampa to use services of a notary public.
“Once at the bank in Tampa, defendant Richardson produced from a manila envelope a (loan) agreement which plaintiff had not previously seen,” her petition states.
She claims Pettit and Richardson then took her back home, where Richardson produced a check for her to endorse and immediately return to him. She claims that she signed the check but did not see the front of it, and that Pettit and Richardson left with the check.
The next day, the loan was recorded in the register of deeds office.
On Aug. 31, Pettit and Richardson sent her a breach of contract notice stating that she had failed to pay the $35,000 loan.
She claims Pettit and Richardson committed fraud.
She claims she felt like a mother to Pettit and trusted him, that Richardson was the lender, that Pettit was the borrower, that she was merely providing security for the loan, and that Pettit should be solely responsible for repaying the loan.
She claims she was acting under coercion and duress.
The loan agreement filed with the register of deeds office says that Pettit and Richardson have an interest in her real estate and the wind energy lease. Lemon says there is no legal basis for those claims.
She wants the note and security agreement nullified, Pettit and Richardson’s interest in her property extinguished, and a judge’s finding of fraud.