Judge Duane Huffer approved a purchase agreement between Oakwood Receiver Ian Rolland and a potential purchaser for Oakwood during a status hearing held Friday afternoon.
Rolland has settled the matter with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and is working with the Department of Natural Resources to transfer the pier permit from Buckingham to Oakwood. He is also working on transferring the liquor license from Buckingham to Oakwood, as well.
The purchase agreement allows Dr. J. R. Parent and his sons to have two months to decide whether they want to go through with the purchase and on what terms. Tom Yoder, attorney for Rolland, explained a proposed asset agreement has been drafted between the Parents and Rolland, but some issues still have to be worked out.
The option agreement states the Parents will pay $25,000 non-refundable fee; open a line of credit with the bank for Rolland to draw down on to make payments for Oakwood; and pay for insurance on the property for two months while the asset agreement is worked out.
Yoder told Huffer he thought two months would be enough time to finalize the asset agreement and settle issues with the Oakwood Property Owners Association.
Recently the OPOA underwent a leadership change and Friday morning Yoder received a new purpose and intent offer from OPOA regarding water and beach rights, pier rental and use of green space in the park.
Yoder explained discussions with OPOA up to Friday have not born any fruit, and just that morning he received a new purpose and intent form from OPOA regarding water and beach rights as well as pier rental. The buyer wants a definitive resolution of the OPOA issues.
Yoder explained to Huffer if there was no movement on OPOA’s part within a week, Rolland will start procedures to terminate those resolutions in the 2004 covenant, so they cannot be used later to block the sale of the property. After explaining the situation to Huffer, Yoder said he “hoped for a resolution where everyone is unhappy. I do not know if the buyer will hang around without any finality.”
Yoder explained the deal with the Parents is a better deal than what Buckingham proposed. The Parents have strong ties to the lake and the community and intend to be good neighbors.
David Shelton, attorney for Oakwood Property Owners, told Huffer the relationship between Oakwood and the property owners has been symbiotic explaining the importance of the covenants in question.
Huffer scolded Shelton regarding receiving ex parte communication in the form of a fax from his clients prior to the hearing. He then noted the case had been going on for six years, he has appointed a receiver who has done an incredible job and he expected the job to be finished more than a year ago.
“It is important to Oakwood, to Kosciusko County and the community to get this resolved,” Huffer stated, declaring he wanted both parties to deal with the issue “PDQ, my mom said the D stood for darn,” he said.
In other matters, Huffer approved a motion by Attorney Dick Green to withdraw from the case. He also heard a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the Oakwood Foundation Board members with the exception of those members who have loans out to the foundation.
Deputy Attorney General Abby Kuzma requested 30 days to review the motion. If there is no objection or no response the lawsuit against the foundation members will be dropped.
Shelton asked for clarification stating the OPOA is eager to negotiate and get some things done. He pointed out the 2004 resolutions were originally initiated to benefit residents who lived inland. He requested a one day mediation with the receiver and the Parents.
Huffer stated he wasn’t sure what the Parents were going to do, all he approved of was an option agreement for two months. As of now, the Parents have no legal rights to enter into mediation regarding Oakwood. Further Huffer informed Shelton he was working under state receivership law, has appointed a very talented individual to be the receiver and it was up to him to request mediation.
After the hearing Rolland and Yoder explained the idea behind terminating the 2004 covenants, except for the three main areas of contention was to eliminate as many points of dispute as possible. Yoder explained there was some question as to how the covenant was written, if it was properly adopted and who has the right to enforce them.
In a phone interview Monday Rolland stated he met with the representatives of OPOA for some length during the weekend. “I think everybody wants to find a solution, so the discussion has been fruitful,” he said.
He stated he hoped Huffer will not have to make the final decision regarding the covenants.
As to the hearing he said he didn’t know the OPOA would be asking for mediation or negotiations be put in the hands of the Parents. “I was pleased with the judge’s response,” he said. “I think the judge has done a good job handling this matter.”
Rolland continued saying he agreed with Huffer the matter needs to be resolved and he believes from the discussions he’s had it can be done.
This is the last major hurdle facing the sale of the Oakwood property. The Parents are also working on applying for a community development block grant for the property. The grant will be run through the Town of Syracuse.
The Mail-Journal sent several questions via email to the OPOA president regarding the court hearing. At press time there was no response.