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Lawsuit filed over sale of miniature golf course property in Alexandria Bay

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One prominent Alexandria Bay businessman has sued a second over the stalled sale of a miniature golf course on Route 12 in the town of Alexandria.

James M. Donegan, as trustee of the James M. Donegan Family Trust, filed state Supreme Court action Friday at the Jefferson County clerk’s office against DEC Properties Inc., Syracuse, and Emliz Properties LLC, Fulton, claiming he had a signed agreement to buy property on which Bonnie Castle Greens is located, but the president of DEC Properties, Donald E. Cole, has backed out.

Mr. Donegan, former owner of the Riveredge Resort in Alexandria Bay, claims he tendered a $230,000 offer to Mr. Cole that was accepted Dec. 8. The agreement included a $50,000 deposit refundable upon the completion of the sale and an additional $6,000 deposit paid to Mr. Cole, who recently sold Bonnie Castle Manor in Alexandria Bay.

Mr. Donegan is ready to consummate the transaction, but claims Mr. Cole has indicated he no longer intends to sell the property to him. According to court documents, DEC Properties has claimed Mr. Donegan’s purchase offer is null and void because it was never reviewed by an attorney. Mr. Donegan counters that an attorney’s review was not required.

Additionally, DEC Properties allegedly claims that the purchase offer cannot be accepted because taxes owed on the property and the total mortgage lien far exceeds the agreed upon sale price. Mr. Donegan claims DEC Properties refuses to complete the transaction unless all taxes are paid and $405,000 is secured to release the premises from mortgage liens.

Mr. Donegan further claims that DEC Properties has recently informed him that the property is encumbered by a 99-year lease to Bonnie Castle Downs Inc., but that no record of the lease being filed anywhere can be found. Mr. Cole and his son-in-law, Marc Fernandez, co-own Bonnie Castle Downs and have proposed a $140 million “upscale racino” with a harness-racing track, a 30,000-square-foot casino and a 125-room hotel on property immediately surrounding the miniature golf course property.

Mr. Donegan claims his pending transaction is complicated by DEC Properties transferring title to the golf course property to Emliz Properties the day after the purchase agreement was completed. Mr. Donegan said he believes that Emliz Properties is controlled by Mr. Cole and that the transfer was done solely to avoid selling the property to him.

Mr. Donegan is asking a judge to require that Emliz Properties transfer the golf course back to DEC Properties and that the sale be completed under the previously agreed upon terms.

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