A federal judge has again ordered a sale of properties at the Rarity Bay development in Vonore.
In an order filed this week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan directed a receiver to conduct a private sale of assets at the development, including the golf course and country club, more than 100 lots and several condominiums.
It's the second time in a year that a Rarity Bay sale has been ordered. In January of last year, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton ordered a sale of assets at the development in connection with a protracted legal fight involving developers Robert Stooksbury and Mike Ross, among others. Guyton's order was forestalled by various legal maneuvers.
The sale comes in connection with a legal fight that began in 2009. Stooksbury had sued Ross and several other defendants in connection with Rarity Pointe, a waterfront golf community in Loudon County, and in 2012 a default judgment was entered in the case.
A jury subsequently awarded Stooksbury compensatory damages of more than $3.5 million on RICO violations and $11.3 million for state-law claims, plus an additional $15 million in punitive damages. The district court later trebled the compensatory RICO damages.
Since then, Stooksbury has been trying to collect those damages. That same year, Sterling P. Owen IV, a former FBI special agent and Knoxville police chief, was appointed as a receiver, after Guyton ruled that fraudulent conduct had likely occurred, related to conveyances of property by Ross and others.
The Rarity Bay golf course and clubhouse were transferred to an entity called American Harper Corp. in March 2012, shortly after a jury issued the judgment against Ross and other defendants.
Mark Brown, an attorney for American Harper and Ted Doukas — a businessman who is affiliated with the entity — said Friday that American Harper no longer owns the course.
In November, a settlement conference was held involving various parties in the case. That process yielded an agreement in which Doukas and his entities gave up management responsibilities for Rarity Bay. Effective Dec. 1, an entity owned by Stooksbury was appointed to assist Owen in operating the development.
"Mr. Doukas is satisfied with the resolution," Brown said Friday. "He tried to do his best for the Rarity Bay community, wishes them well in the future, and is moving on."
The judge's order said Stooksbury can submit a credit bid for Rarity Bay, essentially offering to reduce the amount owed to him in the 2012 judgment.