A 130-acre tract of property in the center of the proposed Rivian Automotive assembly plant is currently embroiled in a breach of contract lawsuit.
According to Morgan County Superior Court documents, a contract for the purchase of the property, owned by Sandra Latimer, the sister of former Joint Development Authority Chairman Alan Verner, was signed by Michael Latimer acting as power of attorney on Sept. 1, 2020.
Michael Latimer is Sandra Latimer’s husband, court documents state.
The contract with Davis Academy Development Partners, LLC includes local realtor Kyle Ward as managing partner of the LLC.
According to the sales agreement, the Latimers had agreed to sell the property for $10,132.50 per acre for a total of $1,335,970.12. The land in question is at the corner of Davis Academy and Old Mill Road in Rutledge. The lawsuit alleges that on July 31, 2020, Sandra Latimer received “record title to the Property…” and agreed to sell the property to a company called Back Country Holdings, LLC.
“Plaintiff’s assignor, Backcountry (sic) Holdings, LLC, was ready, willing and able to purchase the Property on or before the described closing date, but Mrs. Latimer, through her attorney-in-fact, has continually refused to convey the Property to Plaintiff’s assignor.” On June 1, 2021 Back County Holdings, LLC assigned its rights and obligations under the contract to (Davis Academy Development Partners, LLC).”
At the time the lawsuit was filed, June 11, 2021, the suit alleged that “The property is unique and of special value to (Davis Academy Development Partners, LLC) which plans to subdivide the property and sell tracts for single-family homes to be constructed upon the Property.”
In the sales agreement, a caveat addressing “any homes constructed on the property must have a minimum of 1,250 SF conditioned living space” and that no manufactured homes “shall be allowed to be placed on the property as a permanent structure or dwelling.”
The suit is demanding that the court force the Latimers to sell the property to the plaintiffs and if the court does not, that it determine monetary damages “measured by the difference between the purchase price of the Property under the Contract and the value of the property on the date of the breach, in addition to additional damages flowing naturally from Defendant Latimer’s breach.”
The suit contends that “…Defendant Sandra Latimer has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious and has cause Plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense in enforcing its rights…”
Madison-based Attorney Wilson DuBose says his clients, Davis Academy Development Partners LLC “want the property, period.”
“Whatever happens after that, happens,” he said. “If for some reason the Rivian project doesn’t go through, my client would still want the property to develop.”
Attempts to reach attorneys for both the Latimer family and the Joint Development Authority were not successful.