The long-awaited grand opening of the residential development in next week is an exciting event for the community, but for one out-of-business landscape architect, it's a slap in the face.
Donna Snider and her husband owned Woodland Green, Inc., Landscaping and Construction for more than 25 years. The husband and wife team has been trying to collect on work they did for the development since 2008.
According to Snider, Woodland Green installed the lakes on the property as well as performed the parkway and perimeter landscaping for the Savoy Club in 2007 under the original developer, Callahan and Associates.
Snider said Callahan began falling behind on payments in 2008, and the company placed a mechanics lien on the property in September of 2010.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, Callahan's lender, First Merit Bank, already had filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the property in February of 2010.
"That’s when we discussed it with our attorney, and he said we would have to go to court and fight First Merit to get money recovered. That would be based on the value added for landscape improvement," said Snider. "[Our attorney] filed [a lawsuit] for $53,000."
Snider received word from her attorney in February that the lawsuit had been dismissed due to being outside the timeframe to file.
"The bank said they were not responsible for any charges that we made that were for maintenance work, weeding, grass cutting, because that did not add value to the property. The said, 'Present us with a new figure, and we’ll talk about a possible settlement'," said Snider.
Snider said she deducted any charges for maintance they performed on the property, which reduced the amount of the lien down to approximately $46,000.
"What that also did, is the last few service calls that we had in Savoy were for maintenance. By deducting maintenance that turned our last day of work to September of 2009," said Snider. "The [bank's lawyers] said we were now outside the three-year time period, because you have to be within three years of the contract date to file a lien, even though the mechanic's lien said you have to be within three years of the start of work."
Snider said she and her husband were forced to sell off most of the company's equipment in order to pay debts incurred while working on the Savoy Club project, which forced them to go out of business. They had owned Woodland Green for more than 25 years.
"We tried to start all over. Without the finances to purchase equipment, advertise, hire people to go out to do the work, it was just impossible. Everybody we had was let go. They had all found new jobs," said Snider.
The unfinished lots of the Savoy Club property this year, which intends to finish the development. The grand opening for the new Savoy Club development is scheduled for Saturday, June 30.
Representatives of the Pulte Group said they were unaware of the issue and had no knowledge of any lien on the property at the time they closed on the deal.
Phone calls to First Merit Bank attorneys requesting comment have not been returned.