It is not an uncommon story here in the South. A family has a tract of land that has been in the family for centuries. They have held onto it despite rises in property taxes, offers to manage or cut trees on the property, and offers to purchase the land.
One lady in Hilton Head is in a legal fight for her land she never thought she would be in at 93 years old. She owns a 1.8-acre plot in the center of Hilton Head Island that has been in her family since right after the Civil War. Bailey Point Investment, LLC, a development firm out of Georgia, was trying to develop property adjacent to Wright’s property. Upon Wright’s refusal to sell (for $39,000) Bailey Point Investment sued Wright.
At a press conference held to support Wright, attorney and former state legislator Bakari Sellers was “enraged” when he heard of Wright’s circumstances. Sellers, while not representing Wright, he has brought her case to the attention of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Ben Crump and Harry Daniels, notable civil rights attorneys.
Bailey Point’s lawsuit argues encroachment by Wright on the 29-acre property they are developing. They maintain a satellite dish, a shed, and a corner of her home’s screened-in porch encroach on their tract of land. The lawsuit states the encroachments “significantly delayed and hindered” the development costing Bailey Point significant time and money. The suit also claims the developer tried to find a solution to the issue without legal action. Claiming Wright to be “stubbornly litigious” Bailey Point requests compensation for their current and future losses and damages resulting from the encroachment and asks for a jury trial. Ms. Wright’s attorney, Roberts Vaux denied these allegations in his response to the complaint. Vaux also asserts Bailey Point began a campaign of harassment against Wright in order to force her to sell. Charlene Graves, Ms. Wright’s granddaughter has also been named by the developer claiming Graves is “in retribution for Wright’s refusal to sell the land to the developer”. Ms. Graves also noted the satellite dish and the shed have been removed at the family’s expense. To lose the land would not just affect Ms. Wright but would affect multiple generations of her family who wish to visit the property.
Direct contact with Bailey Point investments has been attempted by phone and letter and yet, no response has been received. Bakari Sellers commented the lack of response is more disrespectful than saying “no”.
The family is willing to fight and has support from celebrities. Tyler Perry has come forward to build Wright to build a multi-story home to replace her current home she shares with her grandchildren. Advantage: this house will have a pool. Perry will also remove the offending porch and construct a new one within the property lines.
While prepared to carry on with the fight Wright’s main wish is to be left alone, on her property to enjoy with her family.