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HomeUncategorizedCity settlement with former Quarry Golf Course Lessee

City settlement with former Quarry Golf Course Lessee

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by Kathryn Dentato

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Brooksville City Council’s agenda packet for July 20, 2020, contained a consent agenda item pertaining to the City’s lawsuit against Bob Carson under Just So You Know LLC, and Carson’s countersuit. 

In September 2011, the City of Brooksville leased the nine-hole Quarry Golf Course to Just So You Know LLC and Golf the Quarry LLC for a term of five years, with options to extend the lease for two additional five-year terms. 

The first year would be free as the City understood that Just So You Know, LLC would need to make improvements to the property. The second year, the City would receive $500.00 monthly, and successive years would see a 10% annual increase.   

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In 2014, Carson placed an ad to sell his membership interests in Golf the Quarry LLC, indicating the new owner would assume the lease payments, with 20 years remaining for the lease. Dan Leihgeber became the new owner in late October or early November 2014. 

The City had concerns that details of the lease and outstanding invoices were not fully presented to potential buyers. It filed a lawsuit to terminate the lease and request for a temporary injunction to prevent removal of tangible property at the golf course. 

In December 2014, the City filed an amended petition to include the eviction of Bob Carson. Dan Leihgeber had responded and vacated the property by that time. 

Carson filed a counterclaim, stating the City did not properly provide a Notice of Termination under the terms of the Lease. He also stated the lease did not prohibit him from advertising or selling his business. Carson’s counterclaim requested a trial and judgment of more than $1 million, including fees. 

Litigation continued, with the case referred for a pre-trial conference in February 2021, if the parties could not seek agreement through mediation. Mediation was set for June 9, 2020. 

The City agreed to pay Just So You Know LLC and the others associated with the lawsuit $130,000 upon approval by the City Council. It must be paid within 15 days of Council’s approval, which was obtained at the July 20, 2020 council meeting. 

City Manager Mark Kutney commented to Hernando Sun that with the settlement behind them, they can now focus on moving forward with future plans for the Quarry property.  The first step is securing a good title, as they had to pull a land and water conservation grant recently due to a defect in the title.  Once the title is clear, then they plan to reapply for the grant next year.  

A master plan for the Quarry property was recently completed by Elliott Barth, UF Masters student studying Landscape Architecture, as a pro-bono project.  Berth gathered input from the community during 4 public meetings.  Top amenities from the public input include a splash park and a dog park.

Kutney says that they still have a long way to go.  “It’s a big project and we’re looking for grants and project sponsors.”  He says that they are still dealing with a lot of environmental issues as well.

Yet the settlement with Bob Carson ends years of litigation and is a step forward in creating an amenity for the city’s residents and visitors to enjoy.

Hernando Sun Editor Julie Maglio contributed to this report.

 

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