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The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort closed in August 2010.
Longboat Key Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 3 years ago

Colony Lender demands $5.1 million from Colony owners

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Colony Lender LLC is seeking $5,116,664.24 from owners at the shuttered, 237-unit Colony Beach & Tennis Resort and says they have 20 days to pay.

David Siegal, principal of Colony Lender LLC, wrote in a letter sent earlier today to unit owners that they owe $522,387.84 in unpaid real estate taxes and interest in addition to $4,594,276.40 in damages for unpaid rent plus interest on a 99-year recreational facilities lease for the period from Oct. 29, 2008 to the present.

Chuck Whittall, whose Orlando-based Unicorp National Development Inc., has an agreement to purchase Colony Lender’s assets in the resort, said if unit owners don’t pay within 20 days, “We will file 237 lawsuits in 20 days.”

Whittall told the Longboat Observer he will pursue damages of $42,306,000 from unit owners for unpaid rent on the lease through Nov. 29, 2072.

Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association President Jay Yablon responded to the demand Friday evening in a letter to unit owners that stated:

"...In sum, please make no mistake about it: What you are seeing from Whittall and Colony Lender is part and parcel of an ongoing strategy by Unicorp and Colony Lender, operating jointly, to block any settlements, scare off other developers, scare unit owners with wild threats of doom, and blame everyone else for the lack of progress. This is not just some coincidence or happenstance. It is a strategy they appear to have carefully planned and orchestrated over a period of years. But their strategy is not a fait accompli, and the Board does not intend to allow it to become so. Colony Lender’s refusal to accept a full cash payment on their purchased bank liens stripped away their long-standing legal pretense that Colony “Lender” was just seeking to protect its legal “rights” as a lender, and finally allows us to call them out for their true intentions. They and Unicorp are not protecting their own “rights.” They are bent on trampling over everybody else’s legal rights..."

Colony Lender owns a 95% interest in a 2.3-acre recreational property in the middle of the shuttered resort, plus 100% ownership of the restaurant complex and the former penthouse office of longtime Colony owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber.

Whittall says he plans to build a five-star resort that will consist of a 160- to 175-room hotel, along with a couple hundred condo and tourist units for the property.

In an Aug. 6 letter, he outlined four options for unit owners who would be willing to deed their units to Unicorp: $20,000 cash; free seven-day occupancy for five years in the future hotel; purchase a tourist unit at a 10% discount; or purchase a condo unit at a 10% discount.

Unit owners who agree to any of the above options would not face future liability.

The offer gave unit owners a deadline of 5 p.m. today to select a nonbinding preference.

Whittall said early Friday afternoon that his company has made deals with eight unit owners, all of whom opted for $20,000 cash.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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