After tumultuous months of up-and-down legal maneuverings, The Bull at Pinehurst Farms may be getting a new life.
The highly regarded but financially troubled golf course in Sheboygan Falls, the only Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Wisconsin, is being purchased for $2.41 million, according to documents submitted to the bankruptcy court. The sale is scheduled to close on or before June 30.
The new buyers are identified as The Bull at Pinehurst Farms LLC, represented by John Dunfee and Randy Groth, both of Cedarburg. They are owners of LaBudde Group, an agricultural commodities company.
If the sale takes place as scheduled, the golf course could reopen for play in July and The Bull could resume hosting events previously scheduled by wedding parties, reunions and other groups. Virginia George, the trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court to pursue a sale, hailed the purchase agreement for protecting all parties that had posted deposits for events at The Bull.
The purchase cancels an upcoming sheriff's sale of the foreclosed property that had been scheduled for next week.
Last fall, the property's previous owner had been found in default to Wisconsin Bank and Trust for loans totaling more than $4.2 million. An earlier sheriff's auction scheduled for January was canceled when the previous owners filed for bankruptcy.
The bank agreed this week to accept the lower purchase price after months of negotiations with prospective buyers. Earlier this year, Milwaukee businessman Scott Molitor had offered $3.1 million for The Bull, but that offer was withdrawn just days before its scheduled closing. More recently, another bidder from Illinois offered $2.2 million. That offer was not accepted by the bank.
The golf course has not been open this season but the bank has been paying to have it maintained.
In documents presented to the bankruptcy court, George said the new offer was the best that could be expected. The golf course had been for sale for more than a year before it was found in default but had received no acceptable offers. In 2019, the bank had obtained an appraisal of $3.2 million for the golf course property, including its restaurant and other buildings. In January of this year, the same appraiser estimated a liquidation value of $2.8 million.
"In the Trustee's opinion," George wrote in her sale motion, "the COVID-19 outbreak has further diminished the value of the property, as the on-site restaurant, if it were open today, would likely be open with reduced capacity."