Township spent $62,000 in legal fees during Inniscrone dispute
By Richard L. Gaw
During its litigation to settle a legal dispute with the former management company of the Inniscrone Golf Course in Avondale, London Grove Township paid $62,062.60 to its legal counsel over a 12-month period beginning in August 2012 and ending in July 2013.
In a 53-page summary of legal invoices obtained by the Chester County Press, the township hired the Kennett Square firm of Beatty Lincke in order to defend itself against & TTEE, Inc., the former management team at Inniscrone, who first brought suit against the township, stemming from the township terminating its contract with them, and awarding the management of the golf course to the Heathland Hospitality Group.
During that period, the township issued checks to Beatty Lincke for as little as $90 and as high as $14,968.30. According to attorney William P. Lincke, invoices for the township were filed under “Golf-Appeal,” “Golf-Lawsuit” “Golf Complaint,” “Golf Course” and “Miscellaneous,” and were billed monthly to the township. In figures shared with the Chester County Press, the bulk of the township's expenses – $54,285.10 – were filed under “Golf-Lawsuit.” The professional services provided to the township include a long itinerary of e-mail correspondence, telephone conversations, memos and conferences between Lincke, his staff and township employees.
The legal wrangling became official in May 2012, when KTEE & TTEE, Inc. filed a complaint against London Grove Township for the return of approximately 50 items to them, including golf clubs; a gold cart; several tables; a golf bag; display signs; a television, a refrigerator, grill, cooler and freezer; various office stationery-related items; and a diamond ring.
In early July 2012, the township filed a counter suit against KTEE & TTEE, Inc. in the form of a 58-page document issued to the Chester County Justice Center, that included a nine-count complaint against KTEE & TTEE, Inc., accusing the former management team of fiduciary mismanagement, fraud, accounting errors, breach of contract and irresponsible conduct, and sought monetary damages in excess of $180,000.
During the course of the litigation, Lincke said that he presented the idea of the township and KTEE & TTEE, Inc. entering into a “walk-away” agreement option, one that if agreed to, would end all further litigation between the two parties. Lincke said that the township agreed to the option, which he then forwarded to Joseph Dougherty, attorney with the Chadds Ford firm of Lyons Dougherty, LLC and the attorney for KTEE & TTEE, Inc. According to Dougherty, his clients did not agree with the option.
Recently, after more than a year of litigation, two settlements were reached in the suit and counter suit between the township and KTEE & TTEE, Inc. Under the settlements, the township and its insurance carrier paid a total of $41,000 to KTEE & TTEE, Inc., made payable to Lori and Michael Van Sickle. In addition, the township was required to deliver several items of personal property to the management team that the township had originally refused to allow KTEE & TTEE, Inc. to remove from Inniscrone when their term of management ended at the golf course on Dec. 7, 2011. No payments were made by KTEE & TTEE, Inc. to the township under the settlements.
After the complaint was amended twice by the attorneys for the township, Judge Robert Shenkin of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas granted KTEE & TTEE, Inc. preliminary objections to the second amended complaint, and dismissed the township's fiduciary mismanagement, fraud, conversion and accounting errors claims.
Both Lincke and Dougherty confirmed that there is no current legal action between the township and KTEE & TTEE, Inc.