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Bank looks to foreclose on Valley View Golf Course

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Photographs by Andy Shupe

A sign marks the entrance Aug. 25 to the Valley View Estates subdivision in Farmington.

FAYETTEVILLE -- A bank has asked a judge to foreclose on the multimillion-dollar Valley View golf course that has been embroiled in lawsuits and environmental complaints for years.

The Bank of Fayetteville filed a lawsuit in Washington County Circuit Court on June 9 to foreclose on 140 acres that make up the Golf Club at Valley View.

Valley View history

Valley View Estates subdivision has a community sewer system meant to treat about 490 homes’ wastewater. Washington County approved the Washington County Property Owners Improvement District No. 5, which became a public utility that oversaw the community sewer system for the Valley View subdivision in 1998. Valley View Golf took over the system in 2005, and Communities Unlimited was court-ordered to take over the defunct system in 2016.

Source: Staff report

Valley View Golf Course LLC and its agents owe a principle amount of $1.5 million and interest is accruing, according to the complaint. The property is between Farmington and Prairie Grove.

"The bank can make demand [on the loan] at any time," said Kyle Unser, an attorney representing the bank.

Unser said in his complaint the course's owners paid the monthly installment late, are entangled in lawsuits that hurt their ability to repay the loan and are delinquent in federal taxes.

Don Kendall, a local attorney for the golf course, said he couldn't talk about the lawsuit.

John Peiserich, a Little Rock attorney for Valley View owners, filed an objection to the complaint last month, saying the loan contract has not been breached. He said his clients "vehemently deny" the bank has the right to foreclose, the record shows.

Valley View also denies owing federal taxes. An IRS spokesman said in email federal laws and regulations prevent him from talking about a specific taxpayer's taxes.

The bank is foreclosing on the golf course property, some city and county easements, at least one subdivision lot and the clubhouse at 11520 Club House Parkway, court records show. Most of the property the bank is foreclosing on encompasses the golf course, Unser said.

The debt for the property was restructured in February with a payment to start at the end of March, records show. The payments for March, April and May were late, according to the lawsuit. Peiserich said in his legal objection the bank accepted payments for those months.

The golf course's clubhouse, on 18 acres, is worth about $2 million, according to county property records. All the property -- roughly 200 acres split between Prairie Grove and Farmington -- is worth at least $4 million, Peiserich said previously.

"The Bank of Fayetteville seeks to seize certain pieces of real property and personal property owned by the defendants collectively or individually," according to court records.

Those in the suit include: Valley View Golf, the Valley View homeowners' association, Washington County, Prairie Grove, John and Melissa Lipsmeyer, Joe and Jennifer Stewart, contractor Rausch Coleman, the original defunct sewer system operator Washington Water Authority, Deere Credit Services and Communities Unlimited Inc., which took over the sewer system last year.

Stewart is the general manager and agent for Valley View Golf LLC. Officers for the corporation include the Lipsmeyers and Jennifer Stewart, and the corporation is listed in good standing with the secretary of state.

The golf course is surrounded by about 500 homes that have an average appraisal of $200,000. The course, its owners, the private sewer system operator and homeowners are at the center of disputes over a faulty community sewer system, environmental regulations, property rights and money.

Another three lawsuits against Stewart and others connected to Valley View are ongoing.

An Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality fine of $38,000 was withdrawn last month.

State officials said there is no evidence of effluent in the irrigation ponds being used to water the golf course, according to a withdrawal motion filed by the department June 19 at the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

NW News on 07/17/2017

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