90 Day Fiance couple Elizabeth Potthast and Andrei Castravet are currently on their third season of Happily Ever After. Unfortunately for viewers, the couple seems to have the same exact story line they’ve had since their 90 Day Fiance debut in 2017.
Aside from an occasional second wedding in Moldova, or Libby’s sibbies attempting to set the Guinness World Record for most sisters breastfeeding simultaneously, pretty much every episode is about the tension between work-challenged Andrei and Elizabeth’s dad, Chuck the Florida real estate tycoon.
Ol’ Chuck doesn’t really come across as the kind of guy who could build or run a large real estate empire, which inspired me to do some digging into the Potthast family business.
Given that the Potthasts have been on TLC for what seems like more than a decade, it makes sense that I’m not the first 90 Daytective to go snooping into Potthast, Inc. In July of last year, YouTuber Sharrell from Sharrell’s World shared some information she got about the Potthast’s real estate company, CDC Capital Investements, LLC. (Video embedded at the bottom of this post.)
The information in the video included samples of terrible Yelp reviews, as well as some legal documents. Before I get to that info (and more), let me set the stage a little bit.
The earliest documentation I could find on what looks to be the Potthasts’ main real estate business is from January, 2013. That document is the Electronic Article of Organization for a Florida limited liability company called PT Capital Investments, LLC. The registered agent is listed as Elizabeth’s brother, Daniel Potthast. There are also three additional managing members/managers including Chuck (Charles R. Potthast) and Chuck’s dad, Charles J. Potthast. There is also a woman listed, but I don’t see the need to include her name here.
In December of 2013, Chuck’s dad and the woman both resigned from the company, leaving just Chuck and Daniel. From all of the research that I did, it appears as though Daniel is the one who is legally in charge of things.
A little more than two years after the Potthasts made their TLC debut on 90 Day Fiance Season 5, PT Capital Investments, LLC changed its name to CDC Capital Investment, LLC. This is the name listed in the reviews and court documents shared by Sharrell.
Less than a year before the name change, the Potthast business received three TERRIBLE reviews on Yelp. It appears as though Yelp automatically made the name change update to CDC Capital Investments on their site, so the Potthasts were unable to ditch the bad reviews. (I’m not saying that was the reason for the name change, merely that they didn’t get the added bonus of leaving behind three terrible Yelp reviews.)
Here are the Yelp reviews with locations and dates:
Lake City, FL
I moved from oklahoma to florida. i found this property (840 sw illinois st fort white) for rent and they were very nice and worked with me to get into the house. little did i know that i would have to move 2 years later before christmas to a new house because they did not own the property and the loan company who owns it is making me move!!! i am a mom with 2 kids, 3 dogs and a cat. this is the most terrible thing i have ever had to do to my children in such a short period of time and all before christmas of all holidays.
Beware of these crooks! Daniel will tell you it’s okay to pay your rent late then when your ready to collect your deposit Chuck will tell you have all these late fees. It’s a scam they run back and forth and you get screwed. My daughter was with out heat for two weeks in January during the two coldest weeks in Tallahassee. These two Pennywise clowns make slum lords look like Walt Disney.
Really need negative stats for these evil folks! Moved in to a rental property, less than 6 months later we get a termination of the lease, giving us 2 weeks to move, claiming the house was sold! Found out the house was FORECLOSED on. No one bothered to tell us it was up for sale or foreclosure…sure would have been nice to know in advance. Foreclosures don’t happen that fast! On top of the 2 weeks to find a new place, the letter actually threatens to charge us 3 TIMES the court costs if we are not out by the 1st. Note we received this letter on the 16th a SATURDAY. Avoid these people! Avoid this company! They don’t answer phone calls, they don’t have voice mail. Very shady!!
As you will notice from the reviews above, the Potthasts own (or claim to own) properties in multiple Florida counties. I spent a few hours searching and found dozens of properties owned by CDC Capital Investments stretching from south Florida all the way to Pensacola in the western most portion of the panhandle. They actually own quite a few properties in Escambia County where Pensacola is located.
In case you were wondering about the validity of the reviews, they seem authentic to me. I found the court documents in regards to the earliest review by Christina J., and it looks like it went down exactly as she described.
CDC Capital bought the foreclosed property and rented it out. But, it turns out that the legitimacy of the purchase was in question. The loan company that owned the mortgage of the previous homeowners sued CDC Capital in February of 2015 claiming that they still legally owned the property. A judge ruled in favor of the loan company and the property was auctioned off (again?) on November 7, 2018. That was 37 days before Christina left her negative review.
#90DayFiance Perhaps Elizabeth's family members were in no position to judge her Moldovan fiance Andr-r-r-rAY so harshly? Check out their rather extensive mug shot photo collection with arrest details: https://t.co/gQ2MAgTz64 pic.twitter.com/U9apg5058M
— Starcasm (@starcasm) December 11, 2017
I tried to find a case related to the complaint by Lance W. in Crawfordville, Florida, but had no luck. It’s very likely he didn’t go so far as to sue. The same can’t said for another tenant from Crawfordville who sued CDC Capital in 2016 after more alleged shady practices. The tenants allege in the complaint that they signed a 24-month lease in December of 2014. Once again, there was an issue with a foreclosure.
“The parties came to an agreement under which the Plaintiffs would vacate the property and the lease be terminated in or near September of 2016,” reads the complaint. The tenants followed through and vacated the property.
By October 1, CDC Capital had leased the property to someone else! Adding insult to injury, CDC Capital sent a letter to the tenants saying they broke their lease and wouldn’t be getting their deposit back unless they wanted to risk being sued for the remainder of their 24-month lease plus legal expenses:
We represent your landlord, CDC Capital Investments, LLC. You executed a lease agreement on December 14, 2014, attached hereto as Exhibit “A”. You are currently in breach of that agreement by abandoning the premises on September 15, 2016. Pursuant to the terms of the lease agreement, we are owed a remainder of $5,343.27 (said balance includes an application of last month’s rent to the outstanding balance).”
We will waive the outstanding balance and consider the lease terminated with each party poing their separate ways if you afgree to waive claim to the security deposit we have ($1,595.00). Should you intend to demand return of the security deposit, we will of course return same less any claim we impose to recover damage, but we will also bring action for breach and demand the full amount outstanding. We will also demand — and will likely be granted — attorney’s fees and costs.
That case was later settled with a joint notice of dismissal of all claims with prejudice filed by the plaintiff’s attorney on March 19, 2018.
These cases were not an isolated incident for CDC Capital. I spent a few more hours combing through civil court records in numerous Florida counties and came across dozens of similar cases.
I’m not sure how common it is that foreclosure purchases are later disputed by the original mortgage lender, but dealing with that exact issue looks to be a full-time job for the Potthast business attorney! For example, searching Escambia County court records turns up five open civil cases involving foreclosures that list CDC Capital Investments as the defendant. I won’t be able to view the actual documents until they are reviewed by the clerk, but the dockets seem to indicate they are similar situations.
While looking through CDC Capital property records I’ve seen a lot of crazy cheap purchase prices listed — some as low as $5,000? Is that right? Granted, most all of the properties I found that are owned by CDC Properties aren’t appraised at more than $200,000, but some of those numbers are kind of ridiculous. Is the potential ownership dispute risk part of the reason that the price is so low in foreclosure purchases?
Regardless, it looks like the Potthasts have a rather sizable window of a few years to rent out properties before the possibility of losing them and having to boot tenants.
Here’s another similar example taken from a negative review for CDC Capital Investments on the Better Business Bureau website:
My wife and I were looking for another place to live after the place we had been living at was sold. Our credit score was not the best but had good employment history and money in savings. Most agencies would not touch us due to credit until we found a property managed by this CDC Capital Investments. They stated as long as we pay first months rent, deposit, and last months rent along with a pet deposit they would rent us this property. We paid them $4585 up front before we moved in. In November we had a stranger come to our door asking about the foreclosure status of the property. We explained we had no idea what he was talking about as we had just finished moving in and were renting the property. We did not hear anything more about it until January 09, 2019 by another stranger who was wanting to look at the property before it went up for auction due to the foreclosure. It was after this visit we made contact with CDC Capital asking what the status was. We were informed by them that there was nothing to worry about, that the owner of the property had lost it in bankruptcy and they were working on purchasing the property to continue to rent it out and if they did not purchase it we would still have at least six months before the bank would make contact with us about either continuing to rent or they would buy out our lease. We received a notice on January 16, 2019 advising us we had 30 days to move or we would be evicted from the property by the bank who took over the property from CDC Capital. We made contact with the realtor and came to a deal with the bank giving us 60 days to move along with a small settlement. We made contact with CDC Capital on January 17, 2019 and they stated they would call us back in ten minutes. Since then we have not received any return phone calls or emails from them in reference to the money we have paid to them or any refund of that money.
Desired Outcome: Refund. We are looking for the refund of our deposits that we paid to CDC Capital since they no longer own the property along with the refund of our last months rent since yet again they no longer own the property. We would also like at minimum a return of the current months rent prorated for the time that the company did own the property for a total of $840. This would make a refund total of $3980.
Renting out properties in which the legal ownership might be in question isn’t the only legal issues for the CDC Capital Investments. The most recent example that I saw was a citation from the city of Tampa for “accumulation of debris” at one of the CDC Capital properties. The company was ordered to pay $163 in fines and court costs. They were officially paid up earlier this year, but not until after their debt was sent to a collection agency.
In the end, I will admit that I was rather surprised at just how many properties the Potthasts own. However, their business model seems to leave a lot to be desired. Plus, if you’ve read this far then you are well aware that the numbers of properties they actually legally own might be a bit lower.
Andrei should probably try to find work somewhere else, if TLC producers will allow it. I might even recommend that he get in on the ground floor of the rapidly growing Libby’s Sibbies OnlyFans empire!
I will wrap up by embedding the Sharrell’s World video on Potthast, Inc. in which she also has fun scrolling through our Potthast family mug shot collection post:
Asa Hawks is a writer and editor for Starcasm. You can contact Asa via Twitter, Facebook, or email at starcasmtips(at)yahoo.com