published Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Dade, Marion developer goes bankrupt


by Andy Johns
Audio clip

Marc Merklin

The developers of Sequatchie Pointe were in court Tuesday filing more paperwork in their pending bankruptcy.

Many lots in the subdivision, which spans Dade County, Ga., and Marion County, Tenn., already are sold, and at least one owner is concerned that the company may not finish roads and utilities.

"I understand the bonds (to pay for the work) are out there and, hopefully, the county will take care of it," said John Philie, a Brooklyn native who now lives north of Tampa and bought the Sequatchie Pointe lot for a mountain home.

But for property owners, it may make a difference where their property sits.

County officials in Marion County say property owners have nothing to worry about because they required that Sequatchie Mountain LLC take out a performance bond to serve as an insurance policy.

"Meaning that, if something like this happens, you can't just abandon the people there without roads or water," Marion County Mayor Howell Moss said.

Dade County lot holders may not be as lucky. Dade County executive Ted Rumley said his county did not require such a bond.

"Thank God I'm on the Tennessee side," said Mr. Philie, whose property is a quarter-mile north of the line.

Sequatchie Mountain, its parent company, J.J. Detweiler Enterprises, and four other affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in Ohio on June 18, according to the company's attorney, Marc Merklin.

Mr. Merklin said the company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization when the housing slump caused the developer to default on its loans. He said he hoped the reorganization would allow the company to settle its disputes with creditors and emerge without property owners seeing much of an impact.

"I'm not sure at this point it will have any real impact on the folks that purchased lots," Mr. Merklin said.

Mr. Rumley said he hoped the attorney was correct but, in the future, Dade County officials would look into requiring bonds with all developments.

"It's something that's needed to protect people," he said.

Mr. Philie said he hoped his lot would be ready to go a year ago, but he was told it probably would be next summer before it is accessible for construction.

With the bankruptcy, he's putting his house designs on hold.

"Until I can get to my lot, there's no sense," he said.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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Grizzlybear34 said...

To other landowners of Sequatchie Pointe, we invite you to our website and message forum for Sequatchie Pointe owners, created by Sequatchie Pointe owners Rick Washick and Jim Hesemann. The website can be found at Sequatchiepointe.net, and the message forum with the most current happenings and member to member discussion is linked off of the home page.

We keep the forum and website current with discussion from local Marion County officials as well as landowners either visiting or building in the area. We hope to see you there.

June 25, 2009 at 6:14 a.m.
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