Three defendants settle out of court in Bay Tech lawsuit
By Cassandra Favre and Geoff Belcher
Feb 7, 2014, 20:23
The former Bay Tech building on Second Street in Old Town Bay St. Louis. The Bay-Waveland School District is renovating it for use as its new central office.
The claim against three of the defendants in the controversial Bay Tech property case has been dismissed.
Magnolia Group, LLC, based in Shorewood, Ill., filed the suit in August 2013, alleging it was duped in 2012 when LNG Investments bought the property and flipped it to the Bay-Waveland School District (BWSD) two months later for a $255,000 profit.
The suit named LNG Investments, LLC, as well as Mary Bunch, Lloyd Nicaud and Gerald Rigby as individuals. Also named in the suit was O'Dwyer Realty, LLC, which represented Magnolia in the sale of the property to LNG.
Nicaud and Rigby are the principal officers of LNG. Bunch, Nicaud's mother, Bunch, was the listing agent for O'Dwyer Realty at the time Magnolia sold the property.
Magnolia Group offered the Bay Tech property for sale through O'Dwyer Realty of Bay St. Louis in June 2011 at a listed price of $995,000, according to the suit. In January 2012, LNG agreed to purchase the property for $325,000, and closed on it in June 2012. Then in August 2012, LNG sold it to the BWSD for $580,000.
According to the dismissal order, filed Jan. 27, the parties dismissed were LNG Investments, LLC; Lloyd Nicaud and Gerald Rigby.
The counter-complaint filed against plaintiff, Magnolia Group, LLC was also dismissed.
"The parties agreed to resolve their differences," Christopher Howdeshell, attorney for LNG, Nicaud and Ribgy, said Thursday. "Magnolia agreed to dismiss allegations and my clients dropped their counter-claim regarding the promissory notes.
"The terms of the settlement are confidential."
The order states that the case shall remain pending against the remaining defendants, O'Dwyer Realty, LLC and Mary Bunch.
In the suit, Magnolia alleged that Bunch did not disclose her relationship to LNG; removed the property from the Multiple Listing Service without permission; and convinced Magnolia's owners that "as a result of the depressed economy and poor market values in Bay St. Louis, the property could only be sold in the range of $300,000 to $350,000," even though the school district had already commissioned the first of two appraisals, which valued the property at $580,000.
"At no time did any of the defendants disclose to the plaintiff ... the pendency of the sale of the Bay Tech property from LNG Investments to the Bay-Waveland School District," according to the suit.
Magnolia further alleged the defendants were guilty of "collusion, misrepresentation, breach of the duties of fair dealing and good faith and breach of contract."
The company was seeking actual damages of $995,000 and punitive damages of $5 million, in addition to attorneys fees, court costs and interest.
Bunch has publicly stated that she did nothing wrong or improper in the matter.
The suit alleges that O'Dwyer Realty failed to supervise and monitor Bunch's actions and that Bunch acted in the best interests of her son, Lloyd Nicaud, rather than in the best interests of Magnolia Group, LLC.
O'Dwyer said after the suit was filed that "O'Dwyer Realty had no knowledge and no involvement with the transaction and has done nothing wrong."