Canton leaders chide speculative Realtors

Apr. 17—CANTON — While Canton is sustaining a crippling blow with the news that Pactiv Evergreen is shuttering its doors, the town is not dying.

That’s a point Canton town board leaders reinforced at a town meeting Thursday evening in response to the numerous calls, texts, letters and postcards its residents have been receiving from real estate agents offering to take their property off their hands.

The offers are at bargain basement prices, too.

“They offered us $47,000 for our place,” Major Pro Tem Gail Mull said.

Carl Cortright, a planning board member who was in the audience at Thursday’s meeting, quipped that the items in Mull’s front yard alone were worth that. Mull is well-known for her collectibles and her penchant for garage sales.

Mayor Zeb Smathers is also among those who have gotten random offers from speculators offering to take people’s homes off their hands.

“These messages are going out to people of all ages. This is intimidating. It’s scary,” Smathers said.

There are plenty of stories about scammers taking advantage of people, and Smathers was adamant the town would do everything in its power to stop that by tracking down those using questionable tactics.

“If you get these messages and you want to sell your property, that’s your right,” he said. “But if you feel intimidated, let us know, let the police know. Contact an attorney, any attorney. It is very important we put this message out — our citizens are not going to be intimidated and scammed.”

Smathers recently spoke at a meeting of 200 real estate agents in Asheville, where it became clear the industry saw opportunities in the wake of the mill closure. He told the audience there was a lot of fallout right now and that everything was about the workers.

“They need to understand we’re hurting and healing,” he said. “They need to give us time.”

From resident reports, some companies and realtors are not heeding his plea, however. Town Manager Nick Scheuer agreed some of the tactics being used were predatory.

“This seems to be from vultures with golden beaks,” Smathers said, “and it is not appreciated.”