Nineteenth Century Club Case Bond Posted

By Bill Dries

Plaintiffs in the Chancery Court Case seeking to stop planned demolition of the Union Avenue mansion that had been home to the Nineteenth Century Club posted an additional $50,000 bond Thursday, Oct. 31, as they appeal a Chancery Court decision.

The additional bond was ordered by Chancellor Walter Evans at an Oct. 16 hearing that set conditions for the appeal to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Evans ruled in September that the club’s leadership acted legally when its leaders decided to sell the mansion to Union Group LLC, the group seeking to demolish the club headquarters and build the retail center with a restaurant as its anchor. Evans also said plans for the demolition could go ahead.

But Evans then stayed the effect of the order pending an appeal by the plaintiffs who contend the decision to sell violated the club’s bylaws.

They had worked out a tentative settlement with Union Group in which a Nashville businessman planned to buy the property and preserve the mansion while opening a restaurant in it. Dave Wachtel, however, did not meet the deadline to post $40,000 in earnest money from his investors and the plan fell through.

That’s when the case went back to Evans who set conditions for pursuing the appeal.

Evans set the additional $50,000 bond because while the case is on appeal, most of the money from the sale remains frozen by the court, including most of the money from the sale that was donated by the Nineteenth Century Club to the Children’s Museum of Memphis.

Attorneys for the museum contend the money has already been committed to a museum project and the prospect of an appeal means possibly years of delay that could damage the museum.

Attorney for Union Group say the group is unlikely to be granted a new demolition permit when its current permit runs out with the new year.

Evans ruled in October that he would not yet hear arguments on possible damage claims.