Owners of new Mulligan’s Sebastian site going back to court

SEBASTIAN — Just days before the new Mulligan’s restaurant is scheduled to open on Sebastian’s riverfront, the owners – both prior and current – are going back to court.

The attorney for prior-owner Damien Gilliams filed a motion essentially asking Judge Paul Kanarek to start the foreclosure process over due to what he claims are errors in the legal description. Oculina Bank, the mortgage holder when Gilliams bought the site and winner of the foreclosure auction earlier this year, has requested a court hearing to dismiss Gilliams’ motion.

That hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 13 – a day before the bank is expected to close on the sale to Mulligan’s owner George Hart.

Despite the litigation and pending hearing, the restaurant is still expected to hold its grand opening on Friday, pending the final inspection.

Gilliams declined to comment on the motion, citing advice from his attorney, Stephen Navaretta. Navaretta did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Navaretta’s motion alleges that the legal description for the foreclosure on what once was Flagship Marina was incorrect and should have been fixed before the property was sold at auction.

Because it was not, his motion states, and the mistake was placed in the advertisement for sale and foreclosure deed, “the foreclosure process must begin anew.”

How long that process could take if Judge Kanarek agrees with Navaretta is unclear. And how such a ruling might affect the restaurant’s operation also remains unknown.

As evidence for his position, Navaretta included an e-mail from a professional surveyor and mapper that offers the opinion that the legal description for the Flagship Marina property overlaps an adjacent property, according to court records.

Navaretta also alleges that Oculina Bank representatives were aware of the error and had offered Gilliams a sum of money to ignore the error and to cooperate and fix it, the records show.

Oculina’s attorney, Calvin Brown, filed a response to Navaretta’s motion denying the allegations that bank representatives made any such offer.

The response also refutes the e-mail Navaretta includes in his motion, saying that the e-mail “does not say what the allegations” in the motion “says it does.”

Brown argues that the bank foreclosed on both parcels in question, “therefore, there is no prejudice or injury to” Gilliams.

Last year, Oculina Bank filed a $1.8 million foreclosure suit on Flagship Marina, which was supposed to go to auction last November. Gilliams filed for bankruptcy, which halted the foreclosure proceedings.

At that time, Gilliams told VeroNews.com that he had made an arrangement with a potential buyer for the property but Oculina Bank refused to cooperate.

The site had been placed on the market to sell for $2.7 million, though Gilliams’ appraisal for the property, according to court records, was closer to $3.8 million.

The Flagship Marina property includes space for a restaurant, an upstairs apartment unit, and docks. It was once home to Mike’s Hula Grill, which welcomed patrons by land or water.

Mulligan’s expects to do the same.

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