Liens filed on Grand Soleil

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2009

NATCHEZ — Three Natchez companies have filed liens against the Grand Soleil Casino Resort.

The liens total more than $1.6 million and have been filed as a means of protection, should the property go into foreclosure, contractors said.

Vidal Davis, owner of Good Hope Construction, was the primary contractor at the hotel and filed a $1.1 million lien against the land the hotel is on.

Email newsletter signup

Davis, like the other two contractors, stressed that he harbors no animosity toward the hotel for the work for which he hasn’t been compensated.

Grand Soleil’s recent problems began when Britton & Koontz Bank would not renew the note on the hotel’s $3.7 million short-term loan, hotel attorney Kent Hudson said.

“This is a national (credit) crisis,” Hudson said.

And it’s the credit crisis that has resulted in the hotel’s loan not being renewed, Hudson said.

“This is happening all over,” he said. “And now it’s hit us.”

Since the hotel’s loan was not renewed, the bank filed for foreclosure against the hotel’s land.

That land is scheduled to be sold on Feb. 27, unless the hotel can come up with enough funding to keep the project running.

Hudson said the hotel is currently seeking capital investors to put cash into the project.

But Hudson said due to a lack of communication from the bank, Hudson’s not sure exactly how much money the project needs to keep going.

However, investors have shown interest in the hotel.

And now Davis and contractors like Billy Ray Farmer, owner of Farmer Electrical Service Co., and Jeff McBride, co-owner of JM Digital Corp., are hoping those investors, or other financing comes through.

Farmer said he’s hoping the hotel can find a remedy to its current problem and continue to operate.

“There’s no animosity on our part,” he said. “But (a lien) is our only recourse.”

Farmer said he’s owed $558,000 for electrical work he did at the hotel, and a lien is his only protection at this point.

And Hudson agrees.

“They’re caught in the middle,” he said. “Just like we’re caught in the middle.”

Hudson said some investors have even come forward with plans that would help the hotel, but hurt the contractors.

Those offers have been refused.

“We won’t deal with any investors that are going to short these contractors,” Hudson said. “They’ve all done exactly what they said they would do.”

McBride’s company is owed more than $27,000 and is still working at the hotel.

McBride, like Davis and Farmer, said the lien was his only means of financial protection.

“We want them to stay open,” he said.

“If it goes south everyone will lose. We want to see the project come to fruition.”