Bank seeks to foreclose on county golf course

Accounting error made, Mount Vista lawyer says

July 18, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A Carney-based bank plans to sell a 102-acre Kingsville golf course at auction next month as a part of foreclosure proceedings filed in the Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Chesapeake Bank of Maryland filed a petition yesterday to foreclose on the Mount Vista Golf Course. In court papers, the bank says the owners have failed to make the required payments on $2.2 million in loans made in 1993 and 1996.

A lawyer for the bank said the auction is open to the public and is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 9 at the golf course clubhouse in the 1100 block of Raphel Road in Kingsville. He said such auctions are standard practice to recoup losses from an unpaid debt.

"They [the golf course owners] evidentially cannot bring their account up to date," said Richard N. Kerr, a lawyer for Chesapeake, which was formerly known as Chesapeake Federal Savings and Loan.

But a lawyer for Mount Vista says that the foreclosure petition is a mistake because it is based on an accounting error by the bank. The lawyer, Robert B. Scarlett, said the owners of the course have paid more than required on the loan and will fight the foreclosure in court.

"We're confident we'll be able to show that we overpaid the amount that's actually owed to the bank," said Scarlett.

The foreclosure follows a decade of neighborhood battles over plans to expand operations at the 18-hole course, which opened to the public in the late 1980s.

County records show that over the years, the owners have pushed for county approval of amenities such as a lighted driving range, an expanded clubhouse and a liquor license.

But neighbors opposed the expansion plans, arguing that they were not part of the package approved for the rural community when the golf course opened.

"There's been a whole series of issues, one after the other," said Elizabeth L. Healey, president of the Greater Kingsville Civic Association.

In the most recent case, the county Board of Appeals affirmed an administrative decision Tuesday to fine Mount Vista's owners $4,000 for failing to submit a landscape plan for the 102-acre site. The board also authorized county inspectors to fine the owners $200 a day if they fail to submit such a plan by Oct. 15.

Mount Vista's owners also built a clubhouse in 1996 that was three times larger than the structure approved by the county - then pushed to use the extra room for club facilities, county records show.

Daniel P. Crispino, one of the golf course owners, told The Sun in 1997 that he wanted to establish a country club, complete with a restaurant, that would be an asset to the community. He was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The appeals board rejected Crispino's plan in 1999 - but also rejected calls for an order requiring him to demolish the clubhouse.

The board also has issued orders setting the clubhouse occupancy limit at 100 people, limiting the clubhouse hours of operation and prohibiting the owners from opening a lighted driving range and a kitchen that serves hot food.

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