Property Woes Continue for Some in Sharp County

HARDY, AR (KAIT) - "I don't know how he got away with it, but he did until too many people started questioning him."

Domenico Cossu is just one of those people who nearly lost everything to Wayne Watkins and his company the Spring River Beach Club.

His problems started back in 2005 when he tried to sell, what he thought was his property, located along the Spring River, but instead he found that the property had two lein holders on it at once.

"I had to go in and constantly harrass him for a clear title," said Cossu.

Finally after months of trying Cossu got his situation cleared up, and he got the title to his property which he sold to buy his retirement home near Cherokee Village, but others haven't been so lucky and have lost everything.

"People thought they had a clear claim on the property, and that he was carrying the note. They didn't know that he refinanced that," said Cossu.

That's the situation that dozens of property owners have reported to Region Eight News over the last two years.

Now, it's reported that owner Wayne Watkins is living in Mexico, but a trip to the Spring River Beach Club leaves us without much to see. In fact, if you look down, you see that the grass and weeds are all grown up and the doors to the building are shut.

Meanwhile, Arkansas' Attorney General, Dustin Mcdaniel says his office is now preparing litigation against watkins and is working on their investigation as we speak.

"He and his associates were telling people that they could do whatever they want and that the Attorney General's office wasn't going to do anything about it. Well that's not true, and it's important that the people in that part of the state know that's not true," said McDaniel.

While McDaniel says the chances of getting the money for many back is slim, that doesn't mean this is a battle not worth fighting.

"We're aware of what's happened, and we are going to do all we can. Even if we don't win, we are going to go down swinging," said McDaniel.

We're told the Attorney General's Office was unaware of what was going on until just two years ago and have been investigating ever since.

Meanwhile, Cossu tells us he lost about 8 to 9- thousand dollars just to get out of his property mess.

In a related story, lawyers representing the Property Owners Association of Riverbend Park, which Watkins is also affiliated with have a hearing scheduled in an Ash Flat courtroom on Wednesday.

A bank attempting to foreclose on some of the property in that park is also slated to be at that meeting.

For the latest on the property woes, stay with Region Eight News for the latest.

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