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Published: Wednesday, 5/14/2008

Court hears Westhaven claims

Many of the residents living in the last of the properties owned by the now-defunct Westhaven Group appeared yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to say whether they were able to refinance the properties and keep their homes.

Those listed as investors or occupants of the remaining 55 homes were ordered to appear before Judge Gene Zmuda or risk waiving any right to the property.

Judge Zmuda heard from investors or occupants of some of the properties. Proceedings for the other properties was scheduled to take place today.

Westhaven - which bought, repaired, and sold blighted houses - committed securities fraud and was shut down by the state in 2005.

In December, 2006, an order was issued by former Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik on how to distribute the company's $16 million in assets to banks, creditors, and as many as 280 investors.

The court also appointed a receivership to oversee the distribution of assets.

The money earned from selling the properties to the current occupants will go into the pool of funds to be distributed.

If proper refinancing was not obtained, the properties could be taken and sold at auction.

Top executives in the former company face criminal charges in Common Pleas Court. John Ulmer, founder of Westhaven Group; his son, Scot, and two employees, Anthony Garzony and Roger Morr, were each arraigned on multiple charges of security fraud and racketeering for defrauding investors.

Each faces multiple years in prison, if convicted.

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