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WARREN Law director aims to settle Avalon South suit by fall



Published: Fri, July 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The auditor said the golf course operator has deposited the June rental check in a bank.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city law director hopes to settle a lawsuit with the operator of Avalon South by fall.

Greg Hicks, city law director, said after Thursday's pretrial hearing in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court that he hopes a trial date can be set next month.

"I think it would benefit both sides to have the matter settled by October so that Tony Joy knows if he is still going to operate the course -- and we know if we have to find someone else," Hicks said.

Joy has operated the city owned golf course, which is in Howland Township, since 1989. He agreed that the sooner the suit is settled, the better.

"I love this course and I want to stay," Joy said.

Joy filed a lawsuit against the city, contending breach of contract after the city tried to evict him as course operator earlier this year.

The city cited unpaid rental fees, failure to pay a bank loan and failure to maintain liability insurance.

Another pretrial hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 23.

Rent in escrow account

Joy has agreed to put his monthly rent deposits in an escrow account until the suit is settled.

Dave Griffing, city auditor, and Joy are setting up an escrow account at Second National Bank. Griffing said Thursday that Joy has deposited a $9,926 check in the bank as payment for June.

"Tony has been very cooperative," Griffing said. "The money is in the bank. We just have to let the bank know what type of account we want and whose name should be on the account."

Under the agreement with the city, Joy has to pay a percentage of revenue from green fees, food, alcohol, golf cart rental and other items into the escrow account.

Joy said he is also providing a monthly accounting ledger to the city. He said Judge Andrew Logan, who is presiding over the case, told city officials in June that they could go to the course and review financial documents. Joy said no one has done so.

Griffing said he will begin reviewing the records soon.

"My business is way down this year and I think a lot of it has to do with the negative publicity," Joy said. "I hope people will decide to come to the course."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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