Nine pre-sale buyers of condos in the Harpeth Shoals waterfront development in Ashland City yesterday filed suit against The Braxton LLC, the firm behind the condos and one of several companies run by developer John T. Rankin, who has listed debts of $73.2 million in his personal bankruptcy.
Suing in Nashville's federal court, the would-be homeowners claim their units still are not ready, months after a contractual closing date of August 4, 2008. They also say Rankin promised them Harpeth Shoals would include destination attractions such as a restaurant and retail shops, none of which have come to pass. They are asking for the return of their earnest money – a total of just under $400,000 – plus other damages.
A copy of the complaint is available at this link. Philip Byron Jones of Evans, Jones & Reynolds in Nashville represents the plaintiffs.
Rankin has recently tried to withdraw the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing he personally made late last year, acting "pro se" (without an attorney). As mentioned in The City Paper's "Headline Homes" column this month, the bankruptcy court had permitted a lender to foreclose on his massive house in Hill Place, taking title to it for $1.66 million after it was on the market for $3.75 million last year.
Representatives of the bankruptcy trustee, opposing Rankin's motion for dismissal, claimed in court filings that he had been "recalcitrant" in dealing with them and that his case did not pass the "smell-test."
Rankin attributed his mistakes in handling the case to "pro se fumbling." Shortly before the court denied his motion to dismiss last month, he sent notice that he "no longer has a home address."
Attempts to reach Rankin today have been unsuccessful.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS