Five Years Ago: Absecon woman injured in fall at college

Five years ago, Meagan Petry leaned against a railing in her college dorm, and it changed her life.

The railing at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., — where Petry, now 23, was a freshman — broke. She fell six stories to the ground.

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The Absecon resident needed more than 20 surgeries, but she kept a positive attitude despite the toll it has taken on her physically.

In October 2009, Petry and her attorney, Paul D’Amato, filed a lawsuit in Chatham County, Ga., naming the college and several companies that oversaw the construction at the Turner House dormitory where she lived. The attorneys seek medical costs but have not detailed an actual figure.

D’Amato, of the D’Amato Law Firm on Fire Road in Egg Harbor Township and lead counsel in the case, said the two sides had hoped to come to a settlement but a resolution has not come. A trial is scheduled for October, he said.

Two Years Ago: South Jersey vacation company owner admits fraud

In February 2011, Daryl Turner — owner of nine vacation businesses in South Jersey, including Blue Water of Egg Harbor Township — admitted stealing more than $700,000 from residents across the region by offering an assortment of phony vacation deals.

In his settlement with a lawsuit filed by the state Division of Consumer Affairs, Turner, 41, of Marlton, had agreed to pay more than $3 million in restitution, fines and attorney fees from the state and be barred from doing business in the state for five years. He is required to receive state approval before opening another vacation business.

But, authorities said, Turner continued with his improper practices almost immediately.

On April 19, Turner and his wife, Robyn Bernstein, 43, were indicted on charges of first-degree counts of conspiracy and money laundering, and two counts of second-degree theft by deception. They also were charged with not filing tax returns. The couple faces more than 20 years in prison.

The state Attorney General’s Office alleges the couple falsely promised large discounts and benefits to those who bought vacation packages including not providing free airline tickets for trips.

The arrests were made in July 2011, five months after the agreement was signed.

Eight and a Half Years Ago: Atlantic City Housing Authority plans senior center

The Atlantic City Housing Authority expected to open a new senior center for residents as far back as September 2004, but its contractor, SRC Industries International Inc., of New York City, had legal problems, and the authority terminated the contract in 2008 and finished the project on its own.

The 48,000-square-foot, four-level John P. Whittington Senior Assisted Living Center on Madison and New Hampshire avenues opened in January.

Authority Executive Director Pamela T. James said the agency expects the facility to reach full occupancy of 47 tenants by the end of May.

The authority also plans to have about 5,000 square feet of commercial space, which the agency is working to fill, she said.

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