Some Sage Vue Charlotte Advice From a Blog Reader

While the blog makes no effort to make itself high on search engine lists or to draw large audiences, we are sometimes very fortunate when a knowledgeable outsider finds the blog and decides to contribute. This was the case over the last week, and I am pleased to say I obtained permission to publish the email exchange we had on the future of the Vue.

My thoughts were that the low number of closed sales and the Vue losing its court case made the mountain insurmountable and that it would be “weeks not months” before MCL would need to capitulate. The reader wrote this mail in return. We can discuss the content in upcoming posts, but for now I will publish the note in full.

Mike,

I don’t know whether a foreclosure will cause MCL not to survive but, given the circumstances, it’s unlikely they’ll ultimately stay involved with this project. Given the amount of debt the hole is simply too deep, in my opinion. That said, I don’t see this
playing out in weeks rather than months as you suggest. The wheels of justice turn very slowly and even when this thing lands in the lap of the bank I think you will find them to be equally if not even more frustrating to deal with (very slow and generally ineffective). The recent court decision, if not overturned, should expedite things but, again, you are still looking at a very long road to having a sold-out/fully occupied building; 2 years or more I would guess. The best thing about the decision is that it may eliminate the cat and mouse game that the developer/bank would have otherwise continued playing with contracted buyers which would add many months if not a year to the time to stabilize.

The best advice I can offer is to try to get as many of the buyers as you can represented by one voice, preferably one lawyer or firm. I’ve seen developers and banks have
success with a “divide and conquer” strategy where they force everyone to consider their options on an individual basis. Given the complicated nature of the (legal) dispute it’s very difficult for an individual buyer to cost-effectively engage counsel so the developer/banks end up with a big advantage in terms of dictating the terms of settlement. Faced with seemingly endless legal resources on the other side, buyers tend to lose conviction and either agree to close, walk away from their deposit, pay some additional $ to settle, or a combination of the above. And this happens even when the facts of the case are very  favorable to the buyers. Justice is expensive and decisions have to be made on a practical basis.

So, with this recent decision, it seems to me that the buyers have a terrific opportunity to rally together and begin speaking with a unified voice. And, unless the recent decision is
seen by the legal community as flimsy and unlikely to be upheld on appeal, I would think that representing the buyer group would have much more appeal (less expense) today than before this decision. An articulate lawyer who is familiar with ILSA case law and who can publicly articulate a rational position on behalf of a large group of buyers will get quoted every time the media runs a story. If you really want to influence the behavior of the developer and BofA I think that is going to be your best bet. Again, the high profile nature of this project and the media coverage it’s likely to generate should make the
lawyer/spokesperson role a plum job for someone. Good luck!

Have feedback on this note or other information? Please write to vuebuyer10@yahoo.com.

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