Article Courtesy of Florida
By Katie Atkins
Published January 30, 2018
A group of homeowners at Marathon’s Galway Bay Mobile Home Park say their rent
has gone up a whopping 48 percent in the last three years.
In an effort to see future rent reduced
or get a refund, they, represented by their homeowner’s
association, are suing the park owned by Ralph Mutchnik, 72
— who separately faces three felony charges for alleged
actions he took against one of his tenants.
Mutchnik was not in court Tuesday at a first hearing in
front of Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones at the
Marathon courthouse. There were, however, about 35 Galway
Bay mobile-home owners filling the courtroom.
According to the complaint, filed in Monroe County Circuit
Court last July, the lot rent at Galway Bay, mile marker
47.5 oceanside, ranged in 2015 from $817 to $1,086 monthly.
It’s a 55-and-over community and there are 62 lots on the
Rent went up by about 20 percent in April 2016. Seven months
later, homeowners were notified the rent would go up again
for 2017 by another 18 percent. In December, another 10
percent hike was announced for April of this year. The fee
for late rent is $225, on top of $25 daily, which went up by
$10 in 2017.
This is the Galway Bay Mobile Home Park at mile
marker 47.5 oceanside in Marathon.
Mutchnik’s Tallahassee-based attorney
David Eastman told Jones Tuesday the complaint should be tossed because the
HOA didn’t collect the proper forms and signatures from homeowners in time
agreeing to be represented in a lawsuit.
After about an hour of hearing both sides, a frustrated Jones sided with the
HOA’s attorney, Nejla Calvo of Legal Services of Greater Miami, that the
homeowners clearly wanted to be represented by the HOA in a lawsuit over the
He also ordered the defense to provide access to Galway Bay’s documents of
income and expenses, by March.
Another hearing has not been set, but Calvo said she hopes one will be
scheduled in March or April.
“Tuesday’s hearing is a strong step forward for the homeowners so they can
proceed with this lawsuit to seek the relief they’re entitled to,” she told
Mutchnik’s attorney, David Eastman, did not return phone calls by press
Tuesday’s hearing came on the heals of Mutchnik’s Jan. 11 arrest on felony
charges of criminal mischief, grand theft over $20,000 and filing false
documents against real or personal property. He’s accused of intentionally
destroying a 34-foot trailer at Galway Bay belonging to tenant Andrew
Garshott and taking his possessions, including thousands of dollars in cash,
according to an affidavit filed by State Attorney’s Office investigators.
Mutchnik’s arraignment is Tuesday at the Marathon courthouse at 1:30 p.m.