A United States District Court recently appointed an Atlanta-based asset manager to control and oversee sizable Forsyth County land assets currently at the center of a federal racketeering lawsuit, according to court documents.
On Feb. 4, attorneys representing the parties in Wicker v. Paramatma et al, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story and were directed to submit two names of individuals that could oversee Wicker LLC, which currently owns more than 1,700 acres of land in north Forsyth, while a lawsuit over the ownership of that land and other Georgia assets is litigated.
In the civil lawsuit, Wicker v. Paramatma, which was filed in district court on Jan. 25, attorneys allege that Louis Beria, of Forsyth County, and Prabhu Paramatma, of India, conspired together and misappropriated or fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from German billionaire and entrepreneur Werner Wicker during a series of large-parcel land investments made in Forsyth County in 2014.
The complaint alleges that between 2014 and 2018, Beria, 62, and Paramatma “engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity” by brokering the sale of approximately 1,800 acres of land in north Forsyth for Wicker, while allegedly misrepresenting the prices paid and conspiring to obtain Wicker’s assets in various ways.
In June 2015, Wicker’s land investments extended out of Forsyth County, when he purchased the Westminster Square Apartments in Marietta through the defendants for $43,500,000 under a new company name, Wicker LLC, the complaint states.
According to Cobb County tax records, Westminster Square Apartments is now owned by SAKS Management and Associates LLC. The property was purchased by Wicker LLC in June 2015, and was sold to Saks Management and Associates LLC in July 2017 for $26,700,000.
In the complaint, SAKS Management and Associates LLC is listed as a defendant and is described as “Beria’s company,” though no explanation is given for how Beria is associated with the company.
Two responses opposing the emergency appointment of receiver, defendants’ attorneys dispute the charges made in the lawsuit’s complaint, questioning the case made for a racketeering charge and stating that allegations were made “in the face of a mountain of signed powers of attorney, operating agreements and other documents.”
In an order filed on Feb. 8, Story appointed Atlanta asset manager Spencer Patton, as the receiver of Wicker LLC, with the “paramount duty” to “preserve and protect the value of Wicker LLC’s assets by overseeing and maintaining the real and personal property that it owns” and defending the company in existing and legal actions.
An attorney for SAKS Management and Associates stated in court documents that it would be “inappropriate” for the court to appoint a receiver over Westminster Apartments, because they are not owned by Wicker LLC.
“In reality, (Wicker’s) Emergency Motion is a tactical move to seize the rental income of SAKS generated by Westminster Apartments,” attorney Christopher Joseph Hoffman stated in the document.
Story’s order now grants Werner Wicker’s attorneys access to documents and land owned by SAKS Management and Associates, prohibits SAKS Management and Associates from “selling, conveying and/or encumbering” Westminster Apartments, and prohibits Patton from exercising any control over the apartments.
Multiple attempts to reach the parties in this case for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.
But previously, Hoffman told the Forsyth County News that that they have no comment on the pending litigation for their clients, Louis Beria, LSC 1 Management Corp., and SAKS Management and Associates LLC, defendants in Wicker v. Paramatma.