A Fayette Circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit by winemaker and horseman Jess Jackson over the sale of a $17.5 million Fayette County horse farm in 2005.
Jackson already has filed a motion saying he expects to appeal Fayette Circuit Court Judge James Ishmael Jr.'s Nov. 25 decision.
This is the third time that the legal challenge over the sale of the Old Frankfort Pike farm has been dismissed. The case was dismissed twice previously — once in a California state court and once in federal court in Kentucky — because of jurisdictional questions.
The case was filed in Fayette Circuit Court in July 2007.
In his decision, Ishmael ruled that Buckram Oak Holdings, owned by Mahmoud Fustok, did not commit fraud in the sale of the farm.
According to the lawsuit, Jackson said that the price of Buckram Oak, now called Stonestreet Farm, was inflated to allow his then-advisers to receive more than $500,000 in kickbacks. Jackson's advisers were working with Fustok to increase the price so they could get money from Fustok, Jackson alleges.
Jackson said that Fustok violated the sales contract because of a clause that said Fustok "has not and will not pay to any employee ... any commission or fee." Therefore, if Jackson's advisers did receive a fee after the closing, it breached the sales contract.
Ishmael, in his ruling, noted that there was a second clause in the contract that said all clauses were void after the sale closed and therefore, there was no breach of contract and no fraud.
"I thought the opinion was very well thought out," said Phil Scott, a lawyer for Buckram Oak. "It vindicated Mr. Fustok and dismissed the case and we're very pleased with that result."
The case has been contentious at best. Ishmael, in his ruling, chastised attorneys for their conduct, singling out lawyers for Jackson.
"The Court has already expressed orally, on several occasions, its concern about the conduct, words used and written statements in this case," Ishmael said in his ruling. "The court is dismayed, to say the least, at some of the conduct exhibited by (Jackson's lawyers)."
Richard Getty, a lawyer for Jackson, said "We've had difficulties with respect to discovery throughout the case. There has been plenty of blame to go around. "
Getty said Wednesday that he feels confident that an appellate court will read the same two clauses referenced in Ishmael's opinion and will side with Jackson.
Also named in the lawsuit was Frederic Sauque, a French bloodstock agent and former Jackson adviser. The case against Sauque is still pending, but lawyers for Sauque also have filed a motion to dismiss. Tom Bullock, a lawyer who represents Sauque, declined to comment on the case.