The Wall Street Journal has a big article on the Bonita Bay Group saga today. Angry residents, the paper reports, have filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the South Florida development company seeking the return of their deposits and accusing the company of civil fraud.
The company says it will have to file for bankruptcy protection if it must refund $245 million in membership fees these folks are seeking.
The fees at Bonita Bay's seven high-end golf clubs were supposed to be refundable. But the company says its agreement stipulates that the rules "may be amended from time to time," allowing it to cancel the refund policy.
The furor is causing some ugly rifts within Bonita Bay neighborhoods. Quoting from the Journal: "At Bonita Bay's Mediterra community, a committee of golf-club members initially proposed pushing nonmembers to join the club on a social basis and pay $2,500 or more to help fund the purchase. They were told if they didn't join, no future buyers of their homes would be allowed to become golf members. A number of residents called the plan extortion, and the committee eventually dropped its demand."