Valleybrook Golf Course to be auctioned

Valleybrook Golf Course to be auctioned

July 20th, 2013 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

File photo 2011 - David Drake, left, is the president of DASAC, the company that operates the Valleybrook Golf and Country Club, and his sister, Nancy Drake Donelson, is vice president.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

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A family dispute will send The Valleybrook Golf Course to the auction block, officials confirmed on Friday.

In a letter sent to members of the club, part-owner and club operator David Drake admitted that he, along with his two siblings, "are trying to break up the corporation and go our separate ways."

"They intend to auction off all the properties with no regard for the golf course or the tax consequences," Drake wrote.

The contentious legal dispute, which was transferred from Hamilton County Chancery Court to Davidson County Chancery Court in late January, is between siblings Nancy Drake Donelson, Carolyn Drake Snider and David Drake.

The course was founded by father Carl Drake in 1962, pioneering the use of Bermuda grass in the east Tennessee golf community.

A flurry of filings show that plaintiff David Drake was put on the defensive by his sisters' attempts to wrest away control of the family business.

Donelson and Snider filed motions in May alleging that Drake was in contempt of court, and later claimed that he failed to produce corporate information as required. By June, the sisters had filed a flurry of motions calling for a protective order, and accused Drake of not returning equipment.

The court-ordered auction, which will be held at 10 a.m., on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the course, will sell with no reserve, according to the Potts Brothers Land and Auction company.

While some of the equipment will be available in separate parcels, the golf course will be sold all together as a going concern, said Dereck Walker, manager of the course.

"As far as the buildings and golf course, they're going to sell the whole thing as one item," Walker said.

Valleybrook, which was built in the 1960s, is a 6,704-yard Par 71 course with a large brick clubhouse, pool and pro shop.

The former home of the Provident Classic and Red Bud Invitational, auctioneers describe the course as "one of the most historied courses in the area."

Henry Luken, a Chattanooga investor who has purchased a handful of other area golf courses out of financial turmoil, expressed interest in the sale on Friday.

"I'll be at the auction," Luken said.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6315.