Resident files civil lawsuit against town of Holly Ridge over mold-filled apartments

HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. (WECT) – The town of Holly Ridge and its housing authority are named in a civil complaint filed by a former resident of the Holly Plaza Apartments, a low-income public rental housing complex that is managed by the town and home to over 40 families.

Town leaders recently voted to abandon repairs on the apartments, after moving residents out because of mold issues.

Briana Paull filed the civil complaint on behalf of herself, her children and the others who lived in the apartments who are now living in hotel rooms in Onslow County. The residents recently learned that after Jan. 1, 2024, they will be responsible for finding their own places to live.

Town leaders called an emergency meeting on Oct. 27 to address the mold crisis and approved a plan to move the tenants to a hotel in Jacksonville for 30 days. Staff conducted extensive mold testing, and on Nov. 21, Town Manager Heather Reynolds told council members that 42 of the 44 homes had mold in the HVAC systems. Reynolds said the cost of new HVAC equipment and necessary roof repairs would be more than $1 million, and did not include the cost of mold remediation.

Town council votes to abandon repairs on Holly Plaza apartments, cites cost of repair

Paull’s complaint alleges that “for an unknown period of time, these residents have been exposed to mold that Defendants allowed to invade their homes to the point that their apartments are unrepairable. In addition to the disruption of their lives, the residents are suffering from personal injuries caused by exposure to mold.”

Along with the town of Holly Ridge and the Holly Ridge Housing Authority, the complaint names The Pendergraph Companies, LLC, Pendergraph Development, LLC, Frankie W. Pendergraph and John Doe contractors. Pendergraph Management was contracted to operate the apartment complex. Town Council voted last week to terminate the town’s contract with the company.

The lawsuit seeks to certify the complaint as a class action, to include all current and former tenants of Holly Plaza dating back to Jan. 1, 2019. It also seeks a refund of rent and restitution, and damages.

WECT has reached out to the Reynolds for comment but has not heard back.

Town of Holly Ridge Complaint by Nicholas Aziz on Scribd