Worley Brown trial continued

Published 12:07 am Friday, June 22, 2012

NATCHEZ — An Adams County Chancery Court judge has continued a trial set to start Thursday for the lawsuit filed against the city by a bluff condominiums development company.

The suit, filed by Worley Brown LLC, in September 2007 is to recoup losses caused, the company has said, when it was unable to develop land on the Mississippi River bluff as a condominium complex.

The company is seeking “rescission of contract and removal of cloud on title, and for compensatory damages caused by breach of contract,” the suit states.

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Judge Vincent Davis continued the trial until 9 a.m. June 29 at the request of City Attorney Everett Sanders. Sanders cited “procedural matters” and witness availability as the reason for his request.

Worley-Brown’s attorney David Ringer of Ringer & Hadley requested the trial continue as planned because he was not sure his witnesses would be available next week.

Davis said the court would be as accommodating as possible to witness availability and said he did not see a significant reason why the trial could not be delayed a week.

Worley Brown was owned by the late Edward A. Worley and Larry Brown Jr. Worley died in 2011, and Brown, who is a witness in the case, said Thursday he relinquished his ownership in the company shortly after Worley died.

The company is now owned by Worley’s estate. The executor of that estate is Worley’s son Mike Worley, Brown said.

Brown said he has no invested interest in the outcome of the case.

“I’m simply witness in this case,” he said.

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

Worley Brown 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 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 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.

That CD was later used to secure a loan to pay a contractor who completed overlay work on several Natchez streets.