The True Life Companies and Wilson Gee asked the Arizona Supreme Court to consider their appeal of the state Appeals Court decision ordering them to restore the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course, last Friday.
The Court of Appeals last month upheld a 2018 ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah, holding deed restrictions require the 101-acre site be used as a golf course.
Gee’s company, Bixby Village Golf Course and True Life argued they had the option of leaving the property vacant or operating it as a golf course, depending upon whether they wanted to cash in on a state tax break for golf courses.
They also maintained an order requiring them to build a golf course even though it would be a monetary loser violated the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against slavery. But Court of Appeals Judge Randall Howe wrote that there is nothing optional about it and that the deed restrictions require that the property is operated as a golf course.
True Life’s lawyers insisted they are no longer a party to the case and the company has no role in the appeal. Gee, a principal in Bixby who closed the course in 2013, foreclosed on a $9 million note True Life had signed to turn it into an “agrihood” with about 160 homes, a farm and other features.
Gee closed the site in 2013, saying it was losing money. He repeatedly said the site will never be a golf course again.
Homeowners Linda Swain and Eileen Breslin, who filed their suit in 2014, want the course restored and are challenging that contention even while the high court mulls Gee’s appeal.
They filed a request in Superior Court asking Gee be ordered to start restoration or face contempt-of-court actions, that could involve fines and even imprisonment.
There is no required timetable for the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept Gee and True Life’s appeal. However, it will could close to two months before the high court even begins consideration of the appeal since Swain and Breslin have 45 days to answer.