Key House conflict resolved

Key House

Key House

David Adlerstein
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM.

The Port St. Joe man who paid a pittance for one of Apalachicola’s most famous historic homes at a foreclosure sale in May won’t be getting it after all.

At a brief hearing Tuesday afternoon before Circuit Judge George S. Reynolds III, attorneys for Capital Bank, and David T. Ethridge, who bid $1,000 in May to emerge as top bidder on the Key House worth more than $800,000, agreed on a settlement of $35,000 to vacate the sale.

“This is a fascinating case,” said Reynolds, in accepting the settlement. “I’m glad you all reached agreement. A settlement is always better.”

After Ethridge had paid $1,000 for the three-story late Victorian gem adjacent to Lafayette Park at the May 16 sale, attorneys for Capital Bank, successor for TIB Bank, quickly moved to vacate the sale on the grounds Ethridge’s bid was “clearly an ‘unconscionably inadequate’ price caused solely by the mistake” of the bank’s agent, JMT Management.

Naples attorney Kelly A. Johnson wrote in her objection that the bank had relied on JMT but that JMT’s representative “had forgotten about the assignment and did not appear for plaintiff at the sale.” Paperwork in the case indicates that JMT was empowered to bid up to $832,000 on the property.

None of the specifics of what had gone wrong were discussed at Tuesday’s hearing. Neither the bank’s attorney’s, Johnson and John Scott, nor Ethridge, nor Collins Mallard, JMT’s director of operations, would comment on the settlement.

The stipulation order specifies that JMT will pay the $35,000 as well as all attorneys’ fees and costs.

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