Pre-Hearing Interview Sheds Light on Critical Issue in Killearn Country Club Dispute

Pre-Hearing Interview Sheds Light on Critical Issue in Killearn Country Club Dispute

On Wednesday, December 16, 2105 a Leon County judge is scheduled to hear a legal motion by current Killearn Country Club owner Barton Tuck that seeks the removal of an injunction that currently requires Tuck to maintain the North nine holes of the golf course until the end of the legal dispute.

However, another issue will surely come up at the hearing.

One of the central issues in the dispute, is the interpretation of a covenant restriction that allows for members of the club to purchase the golf course if the owner chooses to close any of the golf course.

Read past reports on this subject here and here.

The debate revolves around the question of whether the purchase language in the covenant refers to the will of the  “majority of club members” or “any members.”

Mr. Tuck has interpreted the language to mean that any decision on a purchase must be supported a majority of club members.

In preparation for the hearing, Ms. Claire Duchemin, attorney for the plantiff,  scheduled a deposition of J.T. Williams, the former developer of Killearn Estates and one of the authors of the covenant language.

The deposition took place a little over six weeks ago, on November 2, 2015 near Atlanta, Georgia.

When asked the intent of the covenant language by Ms. Duchemin,  Mr. Williams said;

“…  it was to give — in case we or any subsequent owner of the golf property would be — it would have to give the members, or so many of the members that wanted to, to purchase the golf — well, what I’d call the golf property…”

When asked why the language was included;

“So that the golf operations could continue and protect the owners — the values of the — not only the golf — to me, it was not just the golf-front property owners, but it affects all of the owners in that — in the Killearn Estates Community. If the golf operations are no longer — if the golf course is no longer operated, then it affects adversely the values of all of the property owners in that golf community.”

When asked by Mr. Daniel Manausa, attorney for Mr. Tuck,  if the purchase language referred to the majority of members,  Mr. Williams responded;

” I don’t think it would, because — and other — like in that next paragraph, when it says such members, but the members — it would not make sense for those who don’t want to purchase to be active in determining who to represent the purchase.”

It is clear that Mr. Williams’ interpretation of the purchase language is consistent with those seeking to stop Mr. Tuck’s redevelopment plan.

However, what role will his position play in the hearing?

Tallahassee Reports has been told that Mr. Williams’ position, as the creator of the covenant, may provide added weight for the plantiff’s argument in the eyes of the judge and could impact the decision on the injunction and any decisions moving forward.

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