A Fayette Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that a bank that recently bought a bankrupt Lexington private golf course must continue to maintain and operate the land as a golf course until a final decision on the course’s fate is reached.
Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael Jr. ruled that Whitaker Bank, which bought the bankrupt Andover Golf and Country Club for $2.95 million in April, must maintain the Todds Road property as a golf course so the property won’t go into disrepair.
Ball Homes, one of the original developers of the property, asked for the order requiring Whitaker Bank to continue to maintain the property as a golf course. Ball Homes must post a $1 million bond, Ishmael ruled. Bonds are required when a temporary injunction is issued.
Ball Homes and eight homeowners associations near the Andover golf course had asked Ishmael for the temporary injunction to make sure that the golf course is maintained until an agreement is reached on the future use of the land.
Whitaker Bank, which holds the mortgage on the property, bought the course at a master commissioners sale. Ball Homes, and the homeowners associations, filed lawsuits in Fayette Circuit Court asking that the sale be stopped. The course, completed in 1990, went bankrupt and closed in February. A third party ran the golf course.
Ball Homes and Lochmere Development Corp. originally developed the property, and they claimed in court records that there is a covenant on the land stating that the 169-acre tract must remain a golf course. Whitaker Bank argued in court documents that the covenant restricting the land use to a golf course wasn’t properly recorded. Whitaker Bank has continued to mow and water the golf course but hasn’t maintained the course up to standards, according to Ishmael’s ruling.
Andover Golf and Country Club runs through several east Lexington neighborhoods.
Nathan Billings, a lawyer who represents the eight homeowners associations, said the more than 1,000 home owners near the golf course were pleased with Tuesday’s decision.
“We are very glad that Judge Ishmael recognized the implied covenant that the land must be operated as a golf course,” Billings said. “We hope this ruling will assist all parties in reaching a final agreement to settle the case in the best interest of all the adjacent homeowners.”
Ball Homes and Lochmere Development Corp. had tried to cancel the sale sought by Whitaker Bank, according to court records. They accused the bank of trying to “ram” through a foreclosure and sale in less than 60 days. Ball and Lochmere have sought to protect their interests that the property remain a golf course, records show. They maintained that they had first dibs on buying the property before auction.
Trip M. Redford, a lawyer for Ball Homes, said they were pleased that Ishmael ruled that Whitaker must continue to operate the land as a golf course and must spend money to keep the golf course up to standards. Ball Homes had argued that the bond of $1 million was too high, according to court documents.
Redford said Ball Homes might ask the judge to reconsider the $1 million bond or appeal it.
“We are still considering all of our options,” Redford said. “We are pleased that Judge Ishmael has agreed that Whitaker Bank knew that it was purchasing a golf course and that it must maintain it as a golf course.”