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Date of Issue: May 17, 2007

Court says Bon Eau owns Villa Rosa, sale ordered

The long-running saga of bankrupt GSR Development LLC's Villa Rosa property in Anna Maria may be nearing the "end game."

Federal bankruptcy court Judge K. Rodney May has ruled that Bon Eau LLC of Sarasota has the title to the Villa Rosa property, but gave GSR the "option" to sell the 14 individual Villa Rosa lots within 60 days or give up any remaining interest in the property.

 May also dismissed a motion by the unsecured creditors that Bon Eau is not entitled to the property because of a "usurious" loan it made to GSR in August 2005.

Not so, indicated the judge. "In light of all the foregoing," said May, "the committee objection is overruled as moot," and Bon Eau is "entitled to the protection" of the federal bankruptcy code.

In approving the "compromise controversy" between GSR and Bon Eau, May ordered Bon Eau to make a "settlement payment" of $700,000 to the GSR estate, if and when several contingencies in the order are met. The settlement payment would be in "full satisfaction" of all claims against Bon Eau by the unsecured creditors committee, according to the order.

In a previous motion to the court by Bon Eau, $400,000 of the settlement payment would be used by GSR for "administrative claims" from its lawyers and accountants, while $250,000 would be set aside for the unsecured creditors committee for payment of claims on its side of the proceedings. The committee would also have $50,000 of the settlement payment for possible "litigation" against "targets," including GSR principals Robert Byrne and Steve Noriega.

In giving GSR and its restructuring officer William Maloney 60 days to sell the property, May set a "strike," or minimum price on all 14 lots at Villa Rosa collectively of $8.2 million - all going to Bon Eau. Any excess in a sale above the "strike" price would be split between GSR and Bon Eau on a 50-50 basis. It the total sales exceed $8.6 million, the 50-50 deal is off and GSR keeps everything over that amount.

But if the strike price on any of the lots isn't met within the 60 day period, Bon Eau keeps ownership of the lots and GSR says goodbye to Anna Maria and Villa Rosa.

A buyer could take all 14 lots for $8.2 million, but no less, according to the court order.

The "strike" price of the Villa Rosa lots is:

  • Lot 1 - $688,909.
  • Lot 2 - $579,825.
  • Lot 3 - $581,643.
  • Lot 4 - $577,307.
  • Lot 5 - $579,161.
  • Lot 6 - $529,059.
  • Lot 7 - $648,842.
  • Lot 8 - $538,358.
  • Lot 9 - $633,737.
  • Lot 10 - $528,989.
  • Lot 11 - $550,406.
  • Lot 12 - $569,406.
  • Lot 13 - $590,943.
  • Lot 15 - $609,403.

The total price of all lots combined is $8.206 million, although they can be sold individually.

All the lots are undeveloped canalfront properties. Lot 14, which is excluded from the sale, contains the model home at one time owned by NBA player Theo Ratliff. It is now owned by a Massachusetts-based bank.

An Island real estate agent familiar with canalfront properties said the prices are "in the ballpark." He noted the recent sale of a lot on Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria of comparable size that sold for $550,000.

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