The new benefactors say they will put up the cash needed to maintain the now-shuttered, 85-year-old property, and the financing to satisfy creditors and outstanding loans. “How could I sit by and not try to help?” said one of the partners, who has multi-generational ties to the club and area.
New Orleans-area businessman John Georges and a partner have agreed to put up the cash needed to maintain the 88-acre green space at the now-shuttered Colonial Golf & Country Club in Harahan, La., reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Georges also confirmed that he and his partner intend to back a plan being formulated to allow the country club to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Georges declined to name his partner, but court motions filed in bankruptcy court identified him as local developer Wayne Ducote, the Times-Picayune reported.
“We’ve agreed to provide the financing to the plan to take the thing out of bankruptcy,” Georges said.
Tristan Manthey and William Patrick, attorneys representing Colonial G&CC in Chapter 11 proceedings that began in February, filed a motion on March 21 asking the court to allow Georges and Ducote to loan funds to the club that would be needed to maintain the property during the bankruptcy process.
Georges said that includes basics such as cutting the grass and keeping up insurance payments. The costs are expected to total a little more than $94,000 for the period between March and June, according to court records.
Georges and Ducote entered into the agreement with Colonial just before the property was scheduled to be auctioned at a February 22 Sheriff’s sale, court records show. The club had been seized during foreclosure proceedings by its main creditor, Colonial Finance LLC.
Colonial Finance loaned the club more than $4.5 million in 2007 to pay off its debt. But the company’s owner, Louis Lauricella, requested repayment after a development venture soured. The club now owes $7.8 million with added interest and attorneys fees, according to court records.
During negotiations with the club, Georges and Ducote also reached an agreement that “will satisfy the Colonial Finance loan, and provide substantial recovery to unsecured creditors” if implemented, court records said.
Georges did not reveal any details of the reorganization plan, which must be presented to the court within 120 days of the bankruptcy filing. But he said he stepped forward because of his ties to both the club, which was founded in 1927, and the city.
“My grandfather played golf there 70 years ago. Some of my dear friends live across the street. I’m a Harahan businessman. I’ve got businesses in the area,” Georges said. “How could I sit by and watch this thing and not try to help?”