By LAUREN ZEUGNER
Ian Rolland, receiver for Oakwood, filed his ninth progress report to Superior Court Judge Duane Huffer last week. Included in the report was a letter from Brad Chambers, president of Buckingham Companies, indicating the company was pulling out of its agreement to purchase the property.
Rolland reported he has “invested hundreds of hours of his personal (unpaid) time toward mediating the disputes between Buckingham, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and the homeowners. The receiver has also incurred significant expenses associated with efforts to close the sale with Buckingham, including substantial attorney fees (a substantial portion of which remains unpaid).
“Unfortunately, Buckingham has been unable to resolve WACF’s appeal or the issues with the homeowners under the 2004 Resolutions. On April 9, Buckingham notified receiver that it was ‘unable to continue with [its] effort to redevelop the Oakwood property.’ Although Buckingham believes the agreement has not been formally terminated, in subsequent conversations, receiver has had with Buckingham, Buckingham has indicated a ‘high expectation’ that the agreement will be terminated effective April 30.”
A copy of Chambers’ letter to Rolland was included in the report and can be seen in today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.
Rolland reported to the court he has been in contact with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and is considering other options and alternatives respecting Oakwood’s assets. “Based on the current state of the underlying litigation, receiver believes that the (Oakwood) property may not be bound by the same charitable purpose it once was. This could open other avenues for disposition of the property, including via public or private auction, with reserve, private purchase and/or removal of the inn and subdivision of the real estate.”
Rolland also told the court he was optimistic because due to improvements to Oakwood’s real estate title during the past several months the property could possibly be sold at a price equal or greater than what Buckingham offered for the property.
In a phone interview Rolland said he remained hopeful Buckingham would continue to move forward with the project, rather than pull out. Buckingham has until April 30 to make a decision whether to pull out of the purchase agreement or enter into discussions with Rolland about receiving an extension on closing.
An email was sent to Erik Johnson, senior principal at Borshoff, Buckingham’s marketing firm, requesting comment on the matter. Johnson replied there “was no news to share at this point about Oakwood.”
The report did not come as a surprise to WACF as a board member summarized the report at the organization’s meeting Saturday.
See more on this article in today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.