Kandiyohi County Jury to Hear Dispute Over Land Sale for Tepetonka Club Project Near Sibley State Park – West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — A Kandiyohi County jury will hear the civil lawsuit involving the siblings responsible for Cedar Hills Century Farm, the proposed property for a destination golf course in Kandiyohi County.

In a ruling this week, Kandiyohi County District Judge Stephen Wentzell granted a request by the plaintiff in the case to have it heard by a jury instead of a judge.

The civil case involving the land near Sibley State Park is scheduled to go to trial beginning Oct. 18.

In the same ruling, the judge denied a separate plaintiff’s request to extend the time for the parties to gather pre-trial evidence, known as discovery.

The 187-acre property known as Cedar Hills Century Farm is controlled by three siblings, Sherry Ulman, Dan Thorson and Dean Thorson. A year ago, Dan Thorson and Sherry Ulman voted to sell the property to Tepetonka Club LLC at a meeting Dean Thorson did not attend.

Dean Thorson sued to stop the sale. Cedar Hills Farm has entered into a purchase agreement with Tepetonka Club to sell the property for $1.2 million.

Dean Thorson claimed that selling the land for non-agricultural purposes violated Cedar Hills Century Farm regulations, but the court ruled against him. The court allowed him to modify the civil lawsuit.

The amended lawsuit accuses the siblings of breaching their fiduciary duties by approving the sale at the value stated in the agreement. She maintains that it is lower than the actual value of the land.

The plaintiff asked the court at a hearing on September 12 to extend the discovery period. Paynesville attorney David Johnson told the judge they had been unable to get an appraiser to value the property until this week.

The parties had agreed to a July 30 deadline for discovery. In the latter decision, the judge noted that the request for extension of disclosure had not been made until more than a month after the deadline had expired. The judge acknowledged the attorney-cited difficulty in finding an appraiser, but also said, “The need for a prospective appraiser in this case did not come as a surprise to the plaintiff.”

In denying the motion for extension of time, the judge also noted that it could be prejudicial to the defendants. Due to the dispute, they are unable to finalize their sales agreement.

The parties originally agreed to have the case heard by a judge, but the plaintiff filed a motion for a jury trial instead. In approving the change, the judge concluded that the request had been made more than a month before the trial and that it was not an untimely constitutional waiver.

At the previous hearing, the parties said they were unable to resolve their differences through mediation.