Investments in beachfront developments in France and the Dominican Republic — described in a federal lawsuit as worthless and costing two women $350,000 — have the support of four Yuba County investors.
"The current status of my investment is consistent with the current global economic conditions," their statements read in part. "With time the performance on my investment will improve."
Support for the developments follows a federal lawsuit by two women in Yuba County who said their funds were obtained in 2007 "without any intent or reasonable expectation" to repay them. Edith Minne and Bonnie Lohmann seek a court order requiring payment of the $350,000 the two women said they lost with their investment.
The declarations by foothill residents Diane Bouchard, Mihal Algui and Roland and Madeleine Knappe supporting the Stroomwell Investment Group were filed March 25 in federal court in Sacramento.
Oregon House resident Algiu, 33, said Tuesday that, "I have confidence I will get my money back."
He said he has bought two lots in the Dominican Republic project and met the developer about six months ago at a home in Oregon House.
According to the lawsuit filed in March against Stroomwell Investment and others, funds were solicited from the two women and at least eight additional members of a church. Attorney Abraham Goldman, who represents the women in their lawsuit, said it's fair to deduce that the church referred to in the lawsuit is the Fellowship of Friends, whose headquarters are in the foothill community of Oregon House.
Goldman said Wednesday that $500,000 to nearly $1 million has been taken from investors but not paid back.
"If they do pay people back, no one will be happier than me," he said. "I'm trying to get my clients' money back."
The attorney said every source of information about the funds, including banks, will be subpoenaed as part of the federal lawsuit.
Oregon House resident Algiu said he and others were Fellowship members when they invested but that "unrelated to this investment, some of the people have left and some stayed" in the Fellowship.
The declarations he and three others signed states, "my friendship and business relations with the defendants are independent of any relationship I have or have had with the church."
Traci Southwell, 36, who lives in Oregon House and is among those named in the lawsuit, said Tuesday that other investors — besides the four who stated their support for the beachfront projects — continue to back the real estate developments.
About 15 people are investors, whom Southwell described as "friends and family" — people "who can weather the different dips."
She said a June 30 hearing will be held in federal court on a request to dismiss the lawsuit.
Attorney Goldman said the defendants' legal filings are procedurally improper and doubts they'll succeed in their bid for dismissal.
"I don't think there's much chance any of it can be granted," he said.
Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.