Rarity Pointe properties sold at foreclosure  

By Josh Flory knoxnews.com

The Rarity Pointe property is changing hands.

WindRiver Investments LLC, which holds the mortgage on the development, was the winning bidder on Thursday at a foreclosure auction for the Lenoir City waterfront golf community.

WindRiver submitted a credit bid of $5 million for assets including more than 180 residential lots and the golf course. The entity also submitted a pair of $500,000 credit bids for two lots that include 4,000-square foot homes.

Attorney Lewis Howard, who represents the LLC, said his client would "sit down and come up with a long-term plan for continued development of the property, which will include looking at what amenities need to be constructed that were not finished initially and undertaking a program for the sale of lots and encourage homeowners that already have purchased property to go ahead and build homes in the development."

Rarity Pointe has been at the center of a fierce legal battle for months. The project was backed by Maryville developer Mike Ross, developer Robert Stooksbury and former Knoxville attorney Ward Whelchel. Stooksbury in 2009 filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing Ross and other defendants of a variety of transgressions, which the defendants denied.

This year, though, Ross was hit with a default judgment in that case after failing to adequately respond to discovery requests, and a jury recommended millions in damages.

In May, a federal bankruptcy judge dismissed a Chapter 11 filing that Ross had initiated on behalf of Tellico Landing, LLC, the entity behind the project.

Judge Marcia Phillips Parsons said Ross did not have the authority to initiate a Chapter 11 proceeding without the consent of his business partners.

Ross attended Thursday's auction, but declined comment when it was finished.

Stooksbury also attended the auction on Thursday, as did Joseph Ayres, the president of WindRiver. Ayres' son is married to Stooksbury's daughter.

Steve Maynard, a board member of the Rarity Pointe Community Association, said he was extremely pleased by the outcome. The project, he said, "got started on the right foot with the right combination of people but just got sidetracked. And I think the people of the community are looking forward to this new beginning."