Problems With Future Animal Shelter Site Deal: Lien Amount Is Currently Greater Than Balance Owed By County
Owner Currently Faces $15K In Penalties
Darren Doyle, story:
During today's Edmonson County Fiscal Court meeting, Judge Executive Wil Cannon said he had been in contact with Rollin Rountree, the current owner of the future proposed animal shelter property who is now currently facing a $15,000 penalty on the balance owed to him from the county.
Magistrates voted to purchase the 12-acre property for a price of $105,000 on September 23, 2019. The terms of the deal were as follows: the county paid $20,000 down with the balance of $85K being paid once the seller moves completely from the property, which was supposed to be June 1, 2020, then extended to July 1, 2020, penalty-free by the fiscal court. Rountree is forfeiting $1,000 per week for every week thereafter until the seller surrenders the property, which is currently $15,000.
Cannon said that if Rountree vacated the property today and the county paid the $70,000 balance ($85K minus the $15K in penalties) the county wouldn't be able to close on the property due to there being a current $80,000 bank lien against the property. Judge Cannon advised the court that Mr. Rountree was working to secure another loan that would release the current property lien, but that was going to cause at least another 45-day delay for closing. The question was then asked about when to stop the weekly penalties. Judge Cannon then asked County Attorney Greg Vincent about the next course of action.
"I presented a plan a couple of months ago that would've given the county an opportunity to secure something and the court voted against it," County Attorney Vincent said.
That was in reference to a fiscal court meeting on August 10, 2020, where Vincent addressed the court with a recommendation of filing a lawsuit against Rountree, who at the time was 5 weeks past due to finish the deal.
"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," Vincent said on August 10th. "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."
Magistrates and the Judge voted 4-3 against the lawsuit on August 10th.
Vincent said the next step would be up to the fiscal court. Judge Cannon said the item would be placed on the agenda for the next meeting for further discussion.