Wellington Woes

Wellington Woes: The City’s Foreclosure and Big Blue Preserve

Inside Wellington’s Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club community’s borders, you will find a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a clubhouse, and all 92 acres of South Florida’s Big Blue Preserve. Big Blue Preserve is an area of Florida’s wetlands and old-growth cypress trees that serves as a vital ecosystem for several animal and plant species. Today, all of these areas, including Big Blue Preserve, are up for foreclosure. Here are some of the details about the city’s foreclosure and Big Blue Preserve:

The Village of Wellington v. Glenn Straub

According to reports, in February of 2019, Wellington began foreclosure proceedings claiming that the owner of these properties and real estate developer Glenn Straub was not following court orders to preserve and restore Big Blue and owed $6.2 million in fines.

Straub’s History with the Property

  • The property’s original developer made certain promises to maintain and conserve Big Blue in perpetuity. Later on, Big Blue, along with several surrounding properties ended up in a bankruptcy case.
  • Glenn Straub purchased some of these properties, including Big Blue, with the approval of the bankruptcy trustee and judge.
  • When Straub failed to care for Big Blue as the original owner had vowed, the Village of Wellington eventually took the matter to court. The Village argued that because Straub acquired the property out of bankruptcy, he assumed the same obligations as the original developer to maintain and care for Big Blue.
  • After years of litigation, the reviewing court sided with Wellington and ordered Straub to comply with a bankruptcy court’s order to preserve Big Blue.
  • Although Straub began these efforts, he later stopped and then inexplicably clear cut 4.5 acres from the eastern side of the preserve. These acts led to an enforcement action by the Village and the imposition of numerous fines.
  • Straub is now under a court order to submit a restoration plan for the clear-cut acreage and a management plan for all 92 acres of Big Blue.

Straub wants more time to comply with the order and a discounted fine. However, the Village wants to proceed with the foreclosure and sale of the 4.5 acres. Because the 4.5 acres is not enough to cover the $6.2 million in fines, the Village is also seeking to foreclose on the shared community structures as well as the 92-acre preserve. If the property goes up for sale, any buyer offering more than is due to the Village may purchase it. If there are not any bids high enough, the Village will get the property.

Contact the Board-Certified Florida Real Estate Attorneys of Rabideau Klein

At Rabideau Klein, Guy Rabideau, Esq. and David E. Klein, Esq. are dedicated, Florida Board-Certified Real Estate Attorneys with the Palm Beach County expertise and experience you need to ensure that your interests are protected through every phases of your South Florida real estate matter.  Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss your Palm Beach County real estate legal needs.

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