So what's the unexpected twist? A dispute over a pink, 1956 Ford Thunderbird.
The two men, along with former Knoxville attorney Ward Whelchel, had partnered on Rarity Pointe, but the relationship (and the project) soured. In 2009, Stooksbury filed a federal suit against Ross, and earlier this year a default judgment was entered, with a jury recommending millions in damages against Ross and certain other defendants.
The dispute continues to rack up billable hours, though, and one of the ongoing tussles centers on Stooksbury's allegations that Ross and other defendants have been transferring assets, in an effort to frustrate Stooksbury's collection efforts.
One asset that's still in play is the T-Bird. According to a motion that was filed by Stooksbury's legal team, the vintage car was owned by Tellico Lake Properties, an entity behind the Rarity Bay community in Vonore and one of the defendants in the lawsuit.
Stooksbury's motion said the U.S. Marshal had executed on the car and asked the court to allow a sale, with the available proceeds going to pay off the judgment due to Stooksbury. An entity called Athena of SC is looking to block that motion, though. In its own court filing, Athena argued that it has a "first priority" security interest in the car because, among other things, Athena won a judgment against Tellico Lake in Knox County Circuit Court, and struck a deal in which the car was transferred to an Athena affiliate.
Stooksbury's attorney, Wayne Ritchie, is skeptical of the relationship between Ross and Athena, though. During the hearing on Tuesday, he elicited testimony from a friendly witness who noted that an agreed judgment in Athena's lawsuit was reached on the same day the suit was filed.
For his part, Ross has painted a different picture, saying after one recent court hearing that the man behind Athena — Ted Doukas — had gotten aggressive with him. "Everybody's trying to collect from me," the developer said.
The Rarity Pointe property is likely headed for a foreclosure auction, after a recent ruling in bankruptcy court. Whether the T-Bird will end up on its own auction block remains to be seen, though.