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LLC sued over handling of prominent Lewes Beach lot

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A Wilmington-based real estate developer has filed a lawsuit against White Bucks LLC and its principal owners Rick Quill, Jo Johnson and Carla Johnson, alleging that the defendants will sell the famous Lewis Beach property. and sought a higher sale price from the city.

Apennine Acquisition Co. LLC says it was introduced in November 2021 by real estate broker Joseph Latina to the development of a property on the corner of Savannah Road and Cape Henlopen Drive across from Dairy Queen. According to a filing dated June 9, the parties had verbally agreed to form a joint venture, which was to be signed and notarized once the terms were finalized. According to the lawsuit, in December 2021 he was made a sale and purchase agreement with a purchase price of $1.8 million. On February 2, the lawsuit states that Joe Johnson wrote, signed, and forwarded the terms to Apennine Acquisition from a fax machine at Blue Water House, a B&B owned by Quill.

Apennine Acquisition claims to have committed significant resources, including approving site engineers and adhering to Quill’s specific requests to provide detailed comments on development plans. Believed to be part of a joint business venture, Apennine Acquisition is a fundraising professional who also prepares his forma, conducts marketing analysis, allocates cash, negotiates with banks, and assesses project development costs for financing. I was. Apennine Acquisition alleges that it has been harmed by substantial loss of income that can reasonably be expected from joint venture projects.

The final terms of the joint venture agreement were said to have been verbally agreed upon when Quill met and shook hands with the developer on February 16. The Johnsons’ White Bucks stake was to be acquired as part of the deal, the lawsuit says. A week later, Apennine Acquisition emailed Quill and Latina detailing Johnson’s cash out and new business restructuring his partnership. The White Bucks give Quill his 100% of his LLC and pay the Johnsons her $400,000 for 50% interest. Then, in exchange for his $200,000 from the Apennine acquisition, Quill would allocate his 10% of the company to Latina and his 45% to Apennine, creating a 45%/45%/10% ownership split. Did. The White Bucks’ operating agreement will be amended to give control of the Apennine acquisition, except for actions requiring unanimous consent.Quill plans to continue investing in the property, but these terms were originally set said it believed it was not included in the verbal agreement.

Quill said agreements with developers were always verbal. In the lawsuit, Apennine Acquisition confirms that the joint venture agreement was never in writing, but cites Delaware’s precedent for honoring oral agreements that it did. The supporting evidence is that a fax sent by Joe Johnson from Blue Water House set a deadline no later than May 15th. is shown.

In addition to verbal breach of contract, Apennine Acquisition does not accept implied covenants of honest and fair dealing, promise estoppel, equitable estoppel, interference with future financial interests, undue enrichment, and We are seeking damages from White Bucks for breach of constructive trust. Plaintiffs are represented by William R. Firth III and Emily A. Letcher of the law firm Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman, PC.

According to the complaint, Apennine was informed on May 25 of the White Bucks’ intention to sell the property to the City of Lewis. On May 23, Mayor Lewis and the city council held a hearing on the city’s property purchase consideration, which he had scheduled for June 6.

During the public comment period at the council’s July 11 meeting, Quill voiced his dissatisfaction with the elected officials for the second consecutive month. He said he was not only disgusted, but felt great disdain for the process that led to the city refusing to pay $2.5 million for the parcel. has approved 12 carriage houses on its land plan and 12 site plans on a nearby lot owned by White Bucks LLC.

Quill asked city attorney Glenn Mandalas if a referendum was required for the city to purchase the property. Mandala replied that a referendum was not necessary. According to Mandala, the city will borrow money under Chapter 32 of the Municipal Code. This does not require a referendum, but the city must pay off the loan within his 10th fiscal year. Chapter 20 requires a referendum related to more money.

Quill pointed to the positive comments he received at the hearing, believing the purchase never got the votes to approve it in the first place, and said officials were wasting people’s time. In discussing the overarching plan, Quill mentioned incentivizing owners of commercial properties on the town’s beachside. He said he feels that no one in the city is reaching out to those property owners.

When Alderman Carolyn Jones asked Quill what the purpose of his comments was, Quill said he was angry. mentioned responsibility. Even though Quill and his associates had verbally agreed to sell the property to Apennines for his $1.8 million, he set the city price at $2.5 million. Quill said he wasn’t cheating the city by asking for $2.5 million and, in fact, the original price was $3 million for him. The owner of Blue Water House believes he can make more money by developing the property, he said. Lewis officials thought it unwise to make such a takeover and cited other financial obligations in voting against the takeover.

Quill and Johnson filed a motion to dismiss the Apennines lawsuit on July 15. This is because we believe that the Full Court does not have jurisdiction over this matter and that plaintiffs have not set out claims from which relief can be granted. Richard E. Berl Jr., who is representing the defendants, has not filed papers in support of their motions to dismiss. Quill believes the lawsuit is without merit, and he believes he will not work with the Wilmington-based development group in the future.

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