BROOKSVILLE – Brooksville City Council received a check for more than $3.5 million this week, ending years of legal proceedings to recoup money owed the city by the bankrupt developer of Southern Hills Plantation Club.
Thomas Hogan from the Hogan Law Group, who represents the city, said his staff worked hard along with city staff to file a $6 million claim.
“You usually get pennies usually on the dollar, that’s about it. So we went into this thing not expecting a whole lot,” Hogan said.
City Attorney Clifford Taylor also explained when Crescent Resources, the company that began developing Southern Hills, filed for bankruptcy, the city became responsible for multiple developer agreements previously reached by the company.
Hernando Today previously reported LandMar Developers entered an agreement with the city in 2003 for improvements to Southern Hills, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, stalling the project.
The city later foreclosed on developer agreements that year, and filed a lawsuit against Traveler’s Casualty and Surety Company and Chubb Group Insurance Companies.
“It was an uphill fight,” Hogan said. “It was quite a struggle, but you held your ground on principle, and you felt the City of Brooksville should be represented to do the right thing.”
Mayor Kevin Hohn, who lives in Southern Hills, remembered what the development has been through, and the progress being made.
“Those were dark days, we were scared we were going to lose our neighborhood … Southern Hills is coming back and we have many houses being built now and it’s all good,” Hohn said.
Hohn added a new developer has promised to build 185 homes, and other new builders are coming in.
“I hope that we don’t have another battle like this,” Council member Lara Bradburn said. “I know it eats at our guts the promises that were made by these developers weren’t worth the paper they were written on, but certainly their word, from the individuals who made those promises, are worth nothing.”
♦ Property Appraiser John Emerson said the city’s taxable value has increased by 1.5 percent so far this year, setting it at approximately $320 million. Emerson said that increase was based on “little tweaks,” not on major rate improvements or land values. Emerson also said county commission purchased an old juice plant on city property, worth more than $300,000 in property values.