City sued over condos property

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — Worley Brown, LLC has begun action to recoup losses caused, the company says, when it was unable to develop land on the Mississippi River bluff as a condominium complex.

Worley Brown, LLC filed a civil suit in the Chancery Court of Adams County on Sept. 7 seeking “rescission of contract and removal of cloud on title, and for compensatory damages caused by breach of contract,” the suit states.

Worley Brown, LLC purchased the land at the former Natchez Pecan Shelling Company site from the city in May 2006 for $500,000.

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Worley Brown, LLC planned to develop the site into “75 luxury residential units, a clubhouse, swimming pool and other related common areas and facilities,” according to the suit.

Before the sale of the land, in January 2006, the property was deemed a Mississippi landmark by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Because of that designation the MDAH had to issue proper permits to allow for construction on the designated sites.

MDAH rejected the permit request to build the condos at the site in September 2007 citing concerns about the safety of building on the site. That ruling became official in October 2007 when the MDAH approved a formal resolution rejecting the permit request.

The suit claims the city should rescind the contract between the city and Worley Brown, LLC and the “agreement at issue should be cancelled due to the mutual mistake of the parties that the construction of the 75 condominium units on the land at issue would be allowed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.”

The suit claims that the City of Natchez failed to honor its obligation of the option agreement to provide Worley Brown with “merchantable title to the land.”

Worley Brown, LLC is seeking to be released from the obligations of the agreement since the land could only be used for condo development. The company also seeks compensation “for all damages it has incurred as a result of the breaches.”

Worley Brown, LLC also requests in the suit to be compensated for all attorney’s fees and costs.

The $500,000 the city received from the sale of the land was placed in a certificate of deposit. Previous reports stated that CD was used to secure a loan to pay the contractor who completed overlay work on several Natchez streets.

Larry Brown Jr., said the company is protecting itself by taking this action.

“All Worley Brown is doing is whatever it takes to protect our rights under the law,” Brown said.

He referred all other questions to the company’s attorney. Attempts to reach the company’s attorney were unsuccessful.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said no one in the city had been served in the lawsuit, so he wasn’t prepared to comment on the matter.

“I’m not going to jump to conclusions right now,” he said.

Attempts to reach interim city attorney Chester Jones were unsuccessful.