Magistrates Vote Against Lawsuit With Purchased Animal Shelter Property: Seller Now 5 Weeks Past Exit Deadline
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Fiscal Court voted 4-3 against filing a lawsuit against Rollin Rountree after a lengthy discussion at today's meeting. Magistrate Corey VanMeter made the motion to file the lawsuit against Rountree, which was seconded by Magistrate Mark Meeks. Rountree's extended deadline is now nearing 6 weeks past due.
The county voted to enter a into a purchase contract with Rountree in September 2019 for a 12-acre tract on HWY 259 (Veteran's Memorial Highway) for a price of $105,000. The contract stated that the county would pay $20,000 down and would pay the $85,000 balance upon Rountree vacating the property by a deadline of June 1, 2020. The property held a mobile home, an abundance of heavy equipment, machinery of all types, and salvage items.
In May of this year, Rountree addressed the fiscal court and said the property where the vehicles and property were going to be moved had been too wet and he simply couldn't do it in the time period since September of 2019. Rountree said many of the items were moved over a period of one weekend, but he still needed more time and asked the court for an extension. He also said he had no intention of still being on the property on that current date when he sold the land to the county back in September.
The county granted him a penalty-free extension through July 1, 2020 at the May 26th fiscal court meeting. That deadline has now passed with some of Rountree's personal property still at the premises. Judge Executive Wil Cannon read a text message he received from Rountree to the court today where Cannon said the message stated Rountree was still working to move the rest of the personal property off the land and vacate the premises. According to the extended deadline, Rountree would lose $5,000 of the balance owed as of today.
County Attorney Greg Vincent updated the fiscal court on how litigation would work in a suit against Rountree, which had been discussed in a previous closed session.
"This lawsuit would be asking a judge to require Mr. Rountree to comply with the contract and simply make him turn it over to the county, as the signed contract says," he said. "The county will have to sue Rountree, his wife, and the bank, because the bank holds a mortgage against the property. This is a common lawsuit and there's not really any defense to it. The bank will insist their mortgage will be paid and the county will insist to take ownership of property. All this does is force Mr. Rountree to uphold his end of the already agreed upon and signed terms."
Vincent said filing the suit would cost the county a couple hundred dollars in filing fees.
Judge Cannon said he didn't feel the suit would accomplish anything more than what the weekly $1,000 penalties are doing. The motion to file the suit then went to a roll call vote that went as follows: Mag. James Vincent YES, Johnny Brooks NO, Charlie Tarter NO, Corey VanMeter YES, Mark Meeks YES, Edd Rich NO, and Judge Wil Cannon voted NO. The motion to file a lawsuit against Rountree did not pass.
According to the current contract, Rountree will continue forfeiting $1,000 per week until he vacates the premises and turns possession of the property over to the county.