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Trinitas Declares Chapter 11 Protection

Wallace, CA — Mike and Michelle Nemee, the owners of The Ridge at Trinitas golf course south of Wallace, have filed for Chapter 11 to avoid having their property placed on the auction block.

The auction was scheduled for 10am at the County Courthouse in San Andreas. The note on the property is held by the Community Bank of San Andreas. 

"We filed a Chapter 11 to stave off the bank and get some breathing room for the litigation we have filed against the county regarding the status of our land use and the golf course and our agritourism business. It’s giving us some time, some breathing room. The golf course is up and running. It’s business as usual for us here. It’s one of the top golf courses in the country on a working farm in Calaveras County for the entire planet to enjoy and for some reason they (three of the five supervisors) don’t want it to happen."

Nemee added, "You get an opportunity for $30 million in stimulus money, you have a willing partner to pay $6.5 million (the Nemees) to secure water to serve 50,000 people from today until infinity. When you’re in the middle of the largest legal and political water grab in the history of the state of California and you’re the one county that has more surface water rights that are not being used by anyone else, guess who they’re coming to. When the city of San Francisco says we want that water, they’re going to get it. The C.C.W.D. (Calaveras County Water District) is terrified and they’re trying to sound the alarm but the Board of Supervisors, at least three of them (Wilensky, Callaway and Tryon) are not listening. If they were they would say how can we make this Trinitas thing work because it’s a huge community benefit. Or they could say, you know what, we don’t want any more people in Calaveras County so what the hell do we need the water for."

Nemee admits that dealing with the county has been a frustrating experience to say the least, "When we first went to the county with our dream they said let’s do an environmental impact report so we went to the bank and borrowed the money for an E.I.R. The county then terminated the consultants in closed session without notifying us breaching the contract. We had no idea. We’re just a family chasing a dream.

The bank wanted to know what’s going on so the county went into the bank and told them we’re having significant legal exposure for the way we’ve treated this family and what we’ve done in breaching this contract and we’re here to tell you that the project is going to be approved and made assurances to the bank.

The bank loaned us the money to finish the golf course so at that point everything was on the up and up.

They (the county) asked us for additional money to finish another E.I.R. so we paid again and then they said, oh well, we changed our mind. We want to reverse this and do another E.I.R. so we had to pay for a third one.

And now after three E.I.R.s, thousands of county staffer’s time, our time, attorney’s time, everybody’s time, they (the supervisors) say they don’t want it."

Written by bill.johnson@mlode.com