Does Reynolds’ reach exceed its grasp?

        The Reynolds family, as in Reynolds Plantation in Georgia, had a sweet thing going -- a large and, by all accounts, well-organized community in the upstate lake region of Georgia, buttressed by six manicured and excellently reviewed golf courses and a Ritz Carlton hotel.  That sure seems like a complicated enough operation for any management team, even one as well regarded as Reynolds’.  But like a newbie in Las Vegas who wins a few quarters on his first pull of the one-armed bandit, Reynolds may have figured it was both good and lucky, and that managing someone else’s mess was no harder than building a community from scratch.

        Unfortunately, they had never managed a Bobby Ginn mess before; a Ginn mess tends to leave in its wake so much bad feeling

Even Mother Teresa's reputation might not survive bad feelings left in the wake of a Bobby Ginn mess.

that even Mother Teresa’s reputation would be besmirched by involvement.  In the Hilton Head area, for example, you can still find a few old clunkers with bumper stickers that read, "Honk if Bobby owes you money."

        Perhaps drunk on the reputation it built at its namesake community, the Reynolds Group, along with financers Lubert-Adler, picked up a number of Ginn communities at distress sales, figuring that if they couldn’t make a go of them, then no one could.

        Well, maybe no one can.  At Hammock Beach, arguably one of the more complete and well regarded of the former Ginn communities, residents are at odds with each other over just how much Reynolds is accomplishing.  No less than Toby Tobin, the sage real estate blogger from the Palm Beach area, has been roped into the middle of the tug of war.  The always-balanced Tobin admitted in his most recent blog that perhaps he had been a little unfair to Reynolds in a prior characterization of the company’s “gorilla” tactics at Hammock.  That won’t sit well, Tobin admits, with many of the homeowners at Hammock who, as he puts it, are “trapped by the requirement to pay club dues and association fees on a vacant lot, the value of which has plummeted as much as 95%.”

        When things get this confused and messy, there are always bargains to be had.  Of course, that is what Reynolds thought.

        You can read Tobin's latest article at

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