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Lawsuit links Rock Hill developer to an account called “the goo” used to avoid paying taxes

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:22 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Years of lawsuits, court filings and judgments paint a concerning picture of the financial situation at Greens of Rock Hill, the development company responsible for Riverwalk in Rock Hill.

In November, the WBTV Investigates team revealed that the Chief Financial Officer for GRH, Lisa Rollins-Hill, had pleaded guilty in federal court after facing charges related to the embezzlement of more than $570,000 from two companies. Internal records obtained by WBTV show that a substantial portion of that money was from the HOA for Riverwalk, which was managed by GRH employees.

But records obtained by WBTV from lawsuits in Ohio and South Carolina show there were concerns about the finances at GRH long before Rollins-Hill was ever hired to manage the accounting at the company.

GRH is owned and managed by Mark Mather.

In 2013, one of Mather’s brothers sued Mark, another brother, GRH and various other companies owned by the Mather’s in a dispute over ownership equity in GRH.

At one point during the legal proceedings, Mark Mather’s former attorney was deposed and provided information about corporate finances including an account ominously called “the goo.”

An attorney described “the goo” as “an accounting hole that Mark and another Mather brother created to fund other businesses, avoid taxes, and hide assets.”

A portion of the deposition that was filed in a court motion reveals the attorney said Mather was taking false deductions in an effort to avoid paying taxes and that Mather regularly moved money between his companies.

Throughout the legal proceedings, one of the Mather brothers hired a fraud examiner to dive into the company’s assets, liabilities and ownership equity. The brother and his attorney repeatedly filed motions with the court to set up a receiver to help make sense of, and manage, the company’s finances.

In one affidavit filed with the court, the fraud examiner wrote “I have not observed a situation like this one where there are hundreds of transactions impacting owner contributions. This situation is the most convoluted accounting I have seen of owner contributions.”

The accountant also wrote that during his examination of GRH financial records during a trip to Rock Hill, Mather repeatedly “interrupted the information flow from me to his staff.”

He wrote that his “observations thus far, continue to raise concerns about GRH’s accounting practices.”

The lawsuit ultimately concluded in a private settlement. A large portion of the motions, depositions and evidence presented during the lawsuit are currently sealed.

In yet another pending lawsuit with another brother, there are allegations that Mather is violating a contract by not transferring millions of dollars worth of tax increment financing bonds realized during the Riverwalk development to another company

And in another lawsuit filed against GRH and Mather, a jury found that GRH violated the terms of a lease with Grapevine at Riverwalk, a local wine shop, after the business was not offered an option to purchase the property they were formerly leasing.

WBTV tried emailing and calling Mather at his other company Avencia Homes. After numerous attempts to contact Mather over the course of several weeks, there has still been no response.

If you have been in a similar situation make sure to reach out to us at investigates@wbtv.com.

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