ORLANDO-If it were a Hollywood-written sitcom, viewers would boo the actors into oblivion. But the Moore versus Smith and Universal Orlando lawsuit being played out in Orange Circuit Court here is for real. The construction of a $100-million timeshare project and 18-hole championship golf course hang in the balance.

The newest development in the seven-year-old forgery suit is an Appeals Court ruling that orders the case be retried in the fall, possibly in October, court clerks familiar with the docketing procedures at Orange Circuit Court tell GlobeSt.com. A specific date and a specific judge will be assigned shortly, clerks say.

“Everybody involved in this case doesn’t like the publicity it is beginning to generate, not only in Orlando but across the country,” a deputy clerk tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. “That’s why the chief judge will be trying to find a docket spot for the case as soon as he can.”

But one elected judge who definitely will not rehear the evidence is Walter Komanski. The three-panel 5th District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach, FL ruled Komanski erred when he threw the case out in 1999, citing a four-year statute of limitations had expired. The Appeal Court ruled there is no statute of limitations in Florida on forgery charges.

That ruling in itself astonished local real estate lawyers and developers following the case because the same appellate court originally upheld Komanski’s 1999 decision.

What changed their view in the past few weeks is alleged new evidence uncovered by Orlando attorneys representing Clarence Moore, 90 and his wife Savannah, 96 who has lived in a local nursing home for the past 10 years.

That evidence purportedly shows that the Moore’s granddaughter, Mary Jean Smith, now Mary Jean Smith-Snagg of Oakland, CA, not only sold the elderly couple’s two prime acres to Universal Orlando in 1994 for $1 million, but also allegedly signed, over the years and allegedly without the Moores’ knowledge, other property and personal documents belonging to the Moores.

Lawyers for Smith-Snagg will challenge the validity and authenticity of the alleged forged documents.

Universal’s lawyers continue to maintain the theme park owners, University City Development Partners, knew nothing of alleged irregularities in the documents used to close the two-acre, $1-million sale seven years ago.

But until the case is resolved, Universal has put its 70-acre, $100-million timeshare venture in southwest Orange County on hold. The two acres are part of the 70-acre tract.

Clarence Moore, a retired citrus grove worker and baker, paid $500 per acre or one cent per sf for the Turkey Lake Road dirt 42 years ago. He paid off the $1,000 price in 10 monthly installments of $100 from his meager baker’s salary, Moore told close friends, according to court filings.

Universal bought the two acres in 1994 for $500,000 per acre or $11.48 per sf. Today, that same two acres would fetch at least $1 million per acre or $22.96 per sf, Orlando brokers familiar with southwest Orlando submarket tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

“With all of Universal’s current and past development in place, and that’s probably close to $1 billion of development and infrastructure, those two acres might even go for $2 million an acre ($46 per sf),” another broker tells GlobeSt.com.

Had Moore received the $1 million from Universal in 1994 instead of his granddaughter, GlobeSt.com research shows his total return on the $1,000 investment over the 35 years he owned the land would have been 99,990% or an internal rate of return of 21.8% annually.

Mary Jean Smith-Snagg, the granddaughter, bought a $380,000 house in suburban San Francisco after selling the land to Universal, court records show. She contends, through her lawyers, her grandparents gave her the two acres as a gift years ago and then forgot about doing so.

Smith-Snagg denies forging any of the Moores’ signatures to any documents at any time, according to court-filed depositions. But Clarence Moore’s signature shows up clearly on a deed transferring the two acres to his daughter, case documents state.

Moore tells his lawyers, as he has told a court hearing on six separate occasions, signing his signature on the land deed would have been impossible for him to do because he never learned how to read or write.

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