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AVALON SOUTH LAWSUIT Panel recommends asking for receiver to handle accounts



Published: Fri, April 19, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The city has asked the court to dismiss the suit.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city will likely ask the court to appoint a receiver to accept funds coming into the troubled Avalon South Golf Course while a lawsuit is pending.

Tony Joy Jr., who has operated the city-owned course since the 1980s, sued the city in February, saying that officials told him he would be credited for the improvements he made to the facility and that in 1988 the city's safety-service director told him he would not have to pay taxes.

Last week, the city filed its response to Joy's suit, including a motion to dismiss the suit and a motion asking the court to remove Joy from operating Avalon South Golf Course.

A hearing date on the motions hasn't been set.

According to city officials, Joy has missed rental payments and is defaulting on property taxes and a $425,000 loan. The city sought in February to terminate Joy's contract to operate the course, prompting the lawsuit. Joy is seeking an injunction to halt the eviction.

Panel's recommendation

The council committee appointed to study options for operating the course met Wednesday with other council members and Law Director Greg Hicks to discuss the city's strategy.

After a nearly two-hour executive session, Brendan J. Keating, D-5th, committee chairman, said committee members made a recommendation to the law department to appoint a receiver, and the law department has agreed.

"A receiver would be appointed for acceptance of funds and ultimately for distribution and allocation of the funds," Keating said.

Other committee members include Councilmen Gary Fonce, D-at large, and Doc Pugh, D-6th.

The city must petition the court, making the request, Keating said.

Last week, Pugh and Robert Holmes III, D-4th, wrote a letter to the administration asking that an attorney or accountant be appointed to oversee golf course funds.

Gathering information

Keating said committee members remain in the information-gathering phase of making recommendations to the administration of how the course should operate.

Members plan to meet with professionals in the field for insight, but no dates have been set.

"We know we have some time," Keating said, adding that the litigation is expected to run through the summer.

He declined to discuss other specifics about the plan.

"I don't like to tip my hand to the opposition," Keating said.

dick@vindy.com




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