When Randy Ringhaver bought Pacetti’s Fish Camp in early October for an undisclosed sum, there were about 100 residents living in the northern Florida campground on a long-term basis in RVs. As part of the purchase contract, Pinkham Pacetti insisted that the residents be given 90 days before they would have to move, which Ringhaver honored by giving them until Jan. 1.
Susan Richardson of Ringhaver’s company, Ring Power, said Monday (Nov. 26) that about two thirds of the residents had already left, the St. Augustine Record reported.
“There are about 15 units still there,” Richardson said. “We’re doing our best to work with the residents, and help them relocate.”
She said she was confident that the residents would all be out by the deadline.
“There are a few stragglers, but they’ve still got another month,” Richardson said. “We’re trying to be as helpful as we can, because we know that for some of them, moving is a hardship financially.”
Toward that end, Richardson said they’re offering a “move out bonus” of $500.
“Basically, if they are in good standing, are out by the deadline and don’t leave anything behind, we’re cutting them a check,” Richardson said. “As of this week, we’ve given out 32 checks to residents to help them move and get set up somewhere else.”
Holly Sangillo, who had just moved to the park with her fiance two months before the sale, said she was going to have a hard time getting out, though.
“We’re both on disability and we’re living check to check,” Sangillo said. “We’re trying to find a permanent home, but it’s not easy when you don’t have any money.”
Sangillo said she was currently in arrears with the owners, so she didn’t expect to be able to take advantage of the bonus check. She said the new owners have not been harassing her, though.
“I hope they’ll keep working with us,” Sangillo said. “We just need a little help.”
Vickie Thoms, who has lived at the camp for 14 years, said she was hopeful that she’d have help from friends and family when it came time to move. Thoms worked for the Pacettis at the camp’s bait shop, and was hired by the new owners after the sale.
“I’m very grateful that they kept me on,” Thoms said. “This is a great job, and I love it here. I’m looking at some mobile homes nearby, but I’ve been so busy with work, especially the move of the shop, which happened the day before Thanksgiving. But I’ll get it done.”
Ringhaver said he was impressed with Thoms, which is why he kept her on.
“Vickie’s just a dynamite person,” Ringhaver said. “She’s very well liked by everybody, and she’s got a great work ethic.”
Several of the former Pacetti employees were also retained, he said.
As for the remaining residents, most appear to be in the process of moving, and many of the units showed signs of packing.
“There are a few who haven’t paid us,” Richardson said. “We’re probably not going to take legal action against anyone, though. We just need them to be out by Jan. 1.”
Richardson said that when the notices about the deadline first went out to residents in October, included was a list of nearby campgrounds and mobile home parks. And after a story about the situation ran in The St. Augustine Record shortly thereafter, several additional parks contacted her as well.
“They said, ‘Send them to us,’” she said. “So, that helped several of them find new accommodations,” she said. “We’ve even heard back from some of the tenants, saying that they’re now in a better situation. We’re very glad for that.”