Update given regarding Settler’s Ridge bond case

By on March 30, 2013

by Dave Woehrle
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Attorney Steve Andersson on March 19 provided a legal update to the Village Board regarding the court case against the developer of the Settler’s Ridge subdivision.

The village is seeking $5.5 million in unpaid bond fees.

Kimball Hill Homes, a private builder founded in 1969, built 110 houses in Settler’s Ridge in 2005. When the real estate market collapsed in 2007, Kimball Hill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“At that point in 2007, the village wasn’t sure what would happen in Settler’s Ridge,” Andersson said. “It took two years for Kimball’s case to get through the courts. Then the real headache began.”

The land is owned by TRG, a commercial real estate investment firm from California, and LCP Settlers Ridge Development of Texas.

In 2010, Kimball Hill was officially declared in default by Sugar Grove. The bond money, however, was not paid back.

“By December of 2012, after several court appearances, it was clear Kimball was playing games and delaying the process with appeals,” Andersson said.

Kimball Hill ended up making a counterclaim against LCP and TRG, which the court eventually dismissed.

Prior to a court appearance on March 15 of this year, Anderson was able to use what is known in law as “discovery,” a pre-trial civil procedure to obtain evidence by the opposing party in order to establish self-evident statements in regard to liability.

“The idea here was to get Kimball to admit things that (are) almost impossible to deny at this point, in order to be granted a summary judgment,” Andersson said. “Hopefully, these multiplying court costs will make them come to the table to finally settle these matters. But as anyone involved with the court systems can tell you, these things can take a long time.”

The attorney fees for the village thus far are $59,000, but that cost is being split with the village of Montgomery, as it is also seeking reimbursement from Kimball Hill Homes, Andersson said.

Village President Sean Michels said he felt for the residents of Settler’s Ridge, because some residents complain of poor roads and sidewalks.

“This is taking a long time, and some of the roads in the area are getting bad. We can fill in pot holes and help out where we can, but this has been a tough time for the people of Settler’s Ridge,” Michels said. “They have been patient, and I hope they know we’re moving in the right direction in the legal process.”

Andersson and Michels said any other changes in regard to the case would be brought to the attention of the Village Board and the Homeowner’s Association of Sugar Grove.