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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Judge orders all Tanglewood property owners to have access

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

A district court judge on Tuesday granted a partial temporary injunction that will allow all property owners at Tanglewood Lakes to have cards that operate gates that allow them to drive in and out of the private development. (Journal file photo)

By Charlene Sims, Journal staff

MOUND CITY – On Tuesday, August 1, Judge Andrea Purvis, granted a partial temporary injunction that will allow all owners of property at Tanglewood Lakes to enter and exit the lake development at will. She ordered that all owners should have cards that are activated for entering and exiting gates at private development.

However, the judge did not order that the card-activated gates be removed.

Purvis explained the statute regarding injunction allowed the court to grant the injunction without giving notice to the party.

Tracy Hayes, attorney for the defendant, The Tanglewood Lakes Owners Association (TLOA) board, had argued that the attorney for a group of residents whose gate cards had been cancelled or taken away needed to have an evidentiary hearing to prove the elements of the injunction.

Purvis said that people should have the ability to get groceries and go to the doctor. She said that people at Tanglewood also needed water delivered and septic tanks pumped.

As Purvis was giving her opinion, Carla Riojas sat quietly with tears running down her face. Riojas, a long-time Tanglewood resident who is disabled and on oxygen, has been without a card for four years. During that time she has worried continuously about her daughter, Eva Riojas-Mackey, risking prosecution every time she entered or exited the community.

Riojas-Mackey has lived in that community for many years and takes her parents to the doctor and purchases supplies and groceries for them. Riojas-Mackey has had to put up with the changing regulations. She lost her entrance and exit access five years ago. She has no current card because it was taken away when it was taken in to be reactivated.

John Ivan, the attorney for the group of residents, did not realize until after the court hearing that not only did several members not have activated cards, they do not have cards. Their cards had been taken away earlier when they went in to have them activated.

At question now is how the TLOA board will react to the judge’s ruling, and how soon the board could activate cards or distribute new cards to those who have had them taken away.

In a phone call to Hayes on Tuesday following the ruling seeking the answer to that question, she said she had no comment.

Board member Tate West also refused to comment in a text request for a statement.

Resident Sherri Toynbee, one of the original plaintiffs in the case, expressed great relief that she and her husband would be able to enter and leave Tanglewood Lake without the fear of prosecution for the first time in several years.

However, Toynbee explained how difficult it would be if they just had one card. If her husband uses the card to drive out of the lake community to go somewhere and she does not go with him, she is unable to leave.

Residents explained the logistics for families with several members, stating that there should be enough cards for at least every family member that drives. Another concern was that cards need to be given to elderly or disabled residents for their children or caretakers to use.

On Monday, July 31, Purvis did not approve the dismissal of the civil case as submitted by Hayes. She did remove several of the plaintiffs according to res judicata, a legal term that allows a judge who is confronted with a lawsuit that is identical or substantially the same as an earlier one that has already been adjudicated to remove it.

Judge Purvis examined previous cases of Charles and Sherri Toynbee, Eva Riojas-Mackey, Allyn Mackey, Carla Riojas, Jeff Hart, and William Towbridge and determined that they had lawsuits that were identical to this case.

The remainder of the plaintiffs who will continue with the case include Jessica Owen, Jeff Elkins, Jason Phillips, James Self, Cindy Bruce, and possibly Tyler Steck if he still owns land there.

The lawsuit says that the plaintiffs are seeking relief and asks that the court make an “Order to Cease and Desist from enforcing the Restrictive Covenant which decayed on October 15, 1990, and to relinquish management authority to a Master appointed by the Court and to submit to an audit by a forensic accountant pending resolution of all jurisdictional issues and determination of all or any illegal actions of Defendant directly resulting in harm to the Plaintiffs. The inferences would include diminishing Plaintiff’s voting rights and violating their Constitutional Rights under Federal Law.”

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