If you've always wanted to own your own golf course, get your cash together by Monday.
More than 10,000 acres at Jeremy Ranch - including the golf course, club house, restaurant, unsold home lots and much of the back country - will go on sale Monday at 1 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse in Coalville.Virginia Beach Federal Savings Bank is expected to buy the property. The Jeremy Ltd. - a Utah limited partnership that owns most of Jeremy Ranch - owes the bank $32.7 million.
The foreclosure sale may leave more than 600 members of the golf club out in the cold, said David Leta, attorney for the members. Some are "founder members" who paid between $25,000 and $75,000 for lifetime memberships. Others are dues-paying members who paid up to $5,000 for the initial memberships and have paid regular dues since.
The bank has refused to negotiate with the members to help them retain their golfing rights, Leta said. "They have expressly and continuously stated they are making no commitment to members," Leta said.
The court lifted the automatic stay preventing the foreclosure sale last week when The Jeremy Ltd. said it didn't have the $22,000 it needed to winterize the golf course. Attorneys for Virginia Beach argued that if the golf course was ruined, the bank's investment was in danger.
The bank filed a petition forcing The Jeremy Ltd. into involuntary bankruptcy Oct. 26 after learning that the company couldn't afford to drain the water pipes, protect the course equipment and put fungicide and fertilizer on the course.
The foreclosure sale will not include property in the Jeremy Woods Condominium project or the Clubhouse Condominium project, said Scott Howell, attorney for the bank.
Leta hopes the bank will work out some deal with the members after buying Jeremy Ranch. The bank will seek to resell the land, Leta said.
"I personally don't believe any buyer could buy it free from the cloud of those membership rights until some deal is made with members," Leta said.
"Some have speculated that a Japanese buyer may come in and buy Jeremy Ranch, adding it to a pool of international courses with international membership," Leta said. If that happens, the new owner may not see the need to make a membership agreement with local members.
They may supplement the international membership by making the course available to the general public for fees, Leta said. "That's just pure speculation, but it's a possibility. It's hard to say what will happen. In the last hearing, Virginia Bank said nobody has submitted an offer. People have expressed an interest in the ranch. The bank is prepared to bid at the foreclosure sale and continue operating the club until a buyer comes along."
According to the petition filed by Virginia Bank, Jeremy Ranch has never been profitable and has been in serious trouble since 1984. The bank said the ranch is accruing debt at the rate of $30,000 per month, excluding debt service.
The bank expects that rate to increase in the winter based on the ranch's financial history, the petition said.