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BRIGHTON, MI-A $3.5-million golf course and accompanying residential project has been torn apart by a lawsuit between the developer and his financiers. Livingston County Judge Daniel Burress will hear motions to dismiss a jury’s judgment that Lans Development Corp. of Farmington Hills pay $420,000 to Ron Lech, a financial consultant, and developer Charles Oke for breach of contract.

The land in question was 376 acres for a golf course project for the Golf Club of Michigan. About 80 acres was to be made into homes surrounding the remaining land, which would become a golf course.

The jury found that Lans, owned by Andrew Soley and former Detroit Red Wing Lee Norwood, violated a contract in 1998 with Lech and Oke. Lech arranged $3.45 million in financing to build the project, and brought Oke along with him, according to the suit. Lech says he was promised one of the homes at the course for his efforts.

However, Oke says he pulled out because the costs were out of control. Lech didn’t get his home for his efforts, because Lans sold the property to another developer, who built the course at Brighton Road and US 23.

Lech sued because of the lost equity, and Oke joined the suit for damages.

The jury awarded Lech $220,000, the lot price, and Oke $200,000 for his trouble in joining the project and for not getting his money back quickly.

Walter Goldsmith, Lans’ attorney, agreed it took awhile to pay Oke back.

“(Lans) just didn’t have the money,” Goldsmith says.

However, the attorney said he believes Burress will vindicate hisclients.

“The judge didn’t believe there was any fraud, or breach of contract,” Goldsmith said. “If we can’t get another ruling, we’ll go to the court of appeals.”

He claims Lech is not a licensed real estate broker, and therefore not entitled to enter into a contract, or receive compensation for one.

“That’s not a question for the jury to decide, it’s a matter of licensing,” Goldsmith tells GlobeSt.com.

The attorney also says Oke was just given nine months to enter into a joint venture to develop the property, but pulled out after four months, and is therefore not entitled to anything more than his investment.

Gregory Shanaberger, Lech’s attorney, did not return phone calls.

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