Mediterra members will review 'plan B' for buying golf and beach clubs

There could be a "Plan B" for Mediterra residents to purchase their golf and beach clubs from Bonita Bay Group.

On Thursday, Mediterra resident Michael Lissack circulated an alternative proposal, which members are expected to consider at community meetings planned for Friday and Saturday.

Members are meeting down the street at Bentley Village off U.S. 41 N. because so many plan to attend.

"We exceeded the fire capacity at Mediterra," Lissack said. "More than 400 members are expected to fly in."

Last weekend, another plan was presented by an advisory board representing members in negotiations with the financially strapped developer, which is looking to sell off all its clubs as quickly as possible to avoid bankruptcy.

Earlier this week, the advisory board said it had an agreement in principle with Bonita Bay over the terms of the sale of clubs to members. Tim Boates, the developer's restructuring officer, said negotiations were ongoing.

“We continue to negotiate in good faith and are hopeful a positive resolution can be reached,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

At that time, he declined to discuss any other details of the talks.

Both purchase plans will be debated over the weekend. Mediterra straddles the Lee-Collier county lines off Livingston Road.

Under the alternate proposal, the homeowners association would buy the clubs and more than 100 undeveloped lots from Bonita Bay.

In the original plan, the developer keeps the land, Lissack said.

"In Plan A they are only buying the club. In Plan B that money goes for the club, the water utility and the lots," he explained.

In the alternate plan, the developer would get waivers from 100 percent of members for the liability of their deposits and the homeowners association would take on the responsibility for legal claims, Lissack said.

In the other plan, Bonita Bay would likely get waivers from 80 to 85 percent of members, he said. Anyone joining the new club would have to agree to give up their right to a refund entirely.

At one time, the developer offered an immediate refund of deposits to resigning members. It pulled the plug on that program late last year after seeing a surge in resignations that has come with a bad economy.

Some members are still fighting to get their money back. A handful have sued Bonita Bay.

"If you resign or are suing you get paid off in Plan B. You are left on your own in Plan A," Lissack said.

The purchase price would be $8 million in cash under the alternate plan, which includes more assets.

Under the advisory board's proposal the cash price could be as low as $6.8 million. Members would assume $15 million in debt for a community development district, created to build the community’s roads and provide other basic services.

Under the alternate plan, the homeowners association would look to trigger a foreclosure on the golf course to reduce the money owed for the community development district.

A committee of neighborhood presidents, including Lissack, came up with the new plan, he said. They insist the club will not go dark and the courses will remain open using this new strategy.

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