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Thursday, April 25, 2024

High Springs restaurant owner faces another lawsuit

Gainesville residents sue for over half a million dollars

Servers work behind the counter at the Pink Flamingo Diner on Sunday Oct. 1, 2023.
Servers work behind the counter at the Pink Flamingo Diner on Sunday Oct. 1, 2023.

Another lawsuit was filed against a High Springs restaurant owner, who’s being sued for defaulting on mortgages of the Pink Flamingo Diner and Great Outdoors restaurants, Nov. 7. 

This suit is also a complaint for foreclosure, naming Dae Jung Kim and his company Healthy Cosmo, Inc. as defendants. The mortgagees, Gainesville residents Dean and Virginia Nappy, are suing Kim and Cosmo for over $500,000. 

The contract was signed March 29, 2021, establishing a 35-month repayment schedule for the $500,000 principal sum. The payments of over $3,000 were due on the first of each month beginning in May 2021, although the foreclosure complaint states Kim never made a payment when it was due. 

The suit also seeks around $20,000 for ad valorem taxes, which are taxes imposed on a property based on its assessed value. The complaint states these taxes were not paid by Kim or his company when they were due in October, forcing the Nappys to pay them instead. 

In total, the Nappy foreclosure complaint sues Kim and Healthy Cosmo, Inc., for nearly $520,000 in addition to attorney fees. He has not filed a response with the Alachua County Clerk of Court as of Nov. 19, and his summons requires him to do so before Nov. 27. 

This is the latest foreclosure suit filed against Kim and one of his companies, following the suits filed in September, which sought over $2 million and reclamation of both the Pink Flamingo Diner and Great Outdoors restaurants in High Springs. 

In the earlier suits, Kim referenced a friend named Roger Ludwig who had been consulting on some of his business matters. Ludwig has also been involved in recent legal issues, with a warrant out for his arrest for violation of probation conditions. 

Ludwig was placed under a 60-month supervision sentence June 13 after being found guilty on two charges of grand theft between $20,000 and $100,000 and two charges of contract fraud. 

He violated three conditions of his probation, according to a report filed with the Department of Corrections on Nov. 1.

On Sept. 19, Ludwig moved out of his home in High Springs and left Alachua County without notifying his probation officer, William Stephens, and he failed to report to the probation office on Oct. 31 to check in. 

“He called me Oct. 31 and told me he was in Germany,” Stephens said. “He’s not even supposed to leave the county without telling me, never mind the country.” 

On Nov. 2, a warrant for his arrest was issued by officer Jacob McKnight. 

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“Ludwig has not only violated his probation on three separate counts,” McKnight said, “but he has also skipped his mandatory drug test and hasn’t paid his court fees. After he explains himself in front of the court, he’ll have an ankle monitor put on him because he’s proven to be a flight risk.” 

The charges against Ludwig come from his role as the officer of All American Custom Commercial and Homes LLC, a construction company. All American was established in December 2018, shortly after Category 5 hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida in October. 

Ludwig entered into two contracts after the hurricane, despite not being a licensed contractor in Florida and therefore unauthorized to perform repairs. The first of the two contracts was signed with Linda Jacks, a Bay County homeowner, to replace her roof and remodel the inside of her home due to storm damage. 

Her insurance company issued a $40,000 check to Ludwig to begin construction in May 2019, which he cashed, but the work on her home was never begun, according to Jacks’ police report. She reported this in April 2020, and he was found to be in violation of the contract in March 2021. 

“I gave him the checks that he said he needed to get started,” Jacks said, “and then he just disappeared. He never hammered even a single nail on my house.” 

The second contract was signed March 16, 2019, with an unnamed Bay County homeowner, referred to in the probable cause affidavit as “the victim.” She also hired Ludwig to restore her home after Hurricane Michael, providing him with checks totaling nearly $40,000, but he did not perform any repairs. 

Ludwig was released from the contract in July 2019 after no work was completed on the house and refused to return the victim’s checks. The affidavit states that he deposited the checks into an account under his name. 

Neither Ludwig nor Kim responded to requests for comment. 

Contact Bea Lunardini at blunardi@alligator.org. Follow her on twitter @bealunardini. 


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