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Cracker Barrel founder heads to court
Sep 30, 2004 12:00 am
A civil lawsuit over a $7.4 million real estate deal involving a proposed country club development, one of Lebanon's most well-known business people and a who's who of the county's legal community is scheduled for court today.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. founder Dan Evins has already won the first round in his legal battle with Clarksville developers Genesis Development Group LLC.
According to documents on file in Chancery Court, the company was attempting to purchase Evins' 402-acre estate on Old Hickory Lake for the purpose of developing a golf course and country club. The company maintains a verbal contract was agreed to by the two parties' realtors in the matter for a $7.4 million sales price with Genesis sending $75,000 in earnest money toward the deal and retaining the services of a golf course designer, according to court filings. Genesis principals also filed a request with the Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals to have the property rezoned for their development.
The Genesis filing states Evins' real estate agent then backed out of the deal, citing concerns about tax allocations and a higher bid from another buyer. The company sued Evins for breach of contract, and as part of its case stated the Evins' estate with its one mile of lake frontage was "valuable to Genesis because of its unique qualities and location."
Chancellor C.K. Smith ruled in Evins favor Monday, saying no "enforceable contract" had ever been struck.
On both sides of the case are some of Wilson County's more well known legal community names. Evins is represented by Lebanon attorneys Jack Lowery and William Farmer while Genesis is represented by attorney Jere McCulloch and the firm of Rochelle McCulloch & Aulds.
Genesis had filed for permission to submit an appeal, but a hearing in the case set for this morning was continued, Farmer said.
"Settlement negotiations have occurred and they appear to be bearing fruit," Farmer said.
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.