Property investor not bending to seller's demands for more money
UPDATE: After the 2 On Your Side report Monday, the two parties have met and come to an agreement.
BATON ROUGE - A woman who signed a purchase agreement for a house says the seller now wants more money from her.
Lorella Gills has been investing in a property on South 11th Street in Baton Rouge since April 2011. She says the person she bought it from, Gerald Charlet, is trying to get more money out of her before she closes on the sale and she says that's not right.
Gills says the dealings with Charlet were sketchy from the beginning. She entered into a 15-year purchase agreement for $30,000 plus 12 percent interest and fees giving her a monthly note of $380. Occasionally, she'd pay more than the monthly note, and as of February 2019, she had paid just under $30,000 on the property. Gills now says she's in a position to pay off the rest and own the property but is getting pushback from Charlet. Gills tells 2 On Your Side that before she can close, Charlet wants her to pay more money than what was agreed upon in 2011.
"Every time when I asked him about the payoff he keeps says, 'well, you owe me $30,000,'" said Gills. "When Wednesday came, two days before the closing, he came back with this $47,000 that I need to pay him."
Over the last eight years, Gills says she's put about $110,000 worth of work into the home. She's put an addition on the property, fixed up the kitchen, floors, windows, and added an enclosed front porch. Now she fears she's been taken advantage of.
"He just wanted me to invest in the house and come back and take it," she said.
The Louisiana Secretary of State's database shows Charlet is the Director of Southern Property Group in the 5000 block of Shelly Street. Others have reported his business name as Charlet Property Group, INC, or Affordable Housing.
His name has come up in a couple of previous 2 On Your Side stories.
Patricia Anders reached out to WBRZ in December 2017 after she said her landlord changed the locks without giving her notice. Anders told us she had put some of her own money into the home to fix it up. At the time, Charlet told 2 On Your Side Anders could rent the house at an elevated cost, which she could not afford and was forced to move out.
In January 2018, Courtney Lefler entered into a rental agreement with Charlet but discovered the house was in such rough shape the City of Denham Springs was considering tearing it down. She intended to sign a rent-to-own agreement, but when she called the city to turn on her utilities she was told she couldn't because the house was uninhabitable and had not been inspected. A yellow notice was posted to the house a few days after Lefler moved in saying the home was "unfit for human habitation." At the time, 2 On Your Side spoke to Charlet's son, Brent Charlet, who said he didn't know the house hadn't been inspected and that Lefler "chose to live there."
Gills says she has no intention of giving up on the property she's invested so much money into.
At the time this story aired, 2 On Your Side's Brittany Weiss left two messages with people asking for a return call from Gerald Charlet. Text message and calls were not returned.