Judge will decide lawsuit filed over land sale for proposed golf course in rural New London, Minnesota
A Kandiyohi County District Court judge will rule early next year on a lawsuit over the sale of Cedar Hills Century Family Farm land in rural New London to Tepetonka Club LLC.
WILLMAR — A district court judge will rule early next year in a lawsuit over the land being eyed for a destination golf course in Kandiyohi County.
District Judge Stephen Wentzell heard arguments Monday from the two parties in the civil lawsuit involving the Cedar Hills Century Farm. The judge is allowing the two sides to prepare written arguments by Jan. 3. A ruling typically will follow within 90 days.
Originally scheduled for a two-day jury trial, the two sides settled the issues that would have gone before a jury and condensed the matter for arguments on the lawsuit’s equitable claims charge, according to attorney David Johnson, who represents plaintiff Dean Thorson.
The plaintiff is asking the court to nullify a purchase agreement with Tepetonka Club LLC to acquire the property for $1.2 million. The defendants want the court to leave the purchase agreement in place.
Tepetonka Club has previously told the West Central Tribune it has a legitimate purchase agreement for the property, is not a party to the lawsuit, and that the purchase will go forward when the litigation ends.
Judge Wentzell had ruled Dec. 9, or five days before the scheduled trial, that the court would hear the equitable claims charge without the presence of a jury. Equitable claims involve a plaintiff seeking relief from the courts for actions the plaintiff considers to have been prejudicial or unfair or in violation of an organization's rules.
Dean Thorson filed the civil lawsuit in November 2021 after his siblings, Dan Thorson and Sherry Ulman, approved the sale of the 187-acre Cedar Hills Century Family Farm property along Shakopee Creek near Sibley State Park to Tepetonka Club.
The attorney for the siblings, James Maring, did not return a message by deadline.
Dean Thorson argues that the bylaws of the family farm prevent the sale. The purpose of the Cedar Hills Century Farm is to hold the property in a farming capacity for future generations of the Thorson family. The siblings should be required to follow the bylaws all three originally approved, even though Cedar Hills is no longer considered a farm under the law, according to Thorson.
The two siblings had approved the sale at a meeting the plaintiff did not attend. The defendants argue that since the property does not meet the legal definition of a farm, they had the right to approve the land sale by majority vote as allowed under corporate law.
Dean Thorson has maintained that if he prevails in the lawsuit, he would not approve the land’s sale for a golf course.
Tepetonka Club is proposing a $20 million project to develop the site as a destination golf course.