Creditors Take Legal Aim at DeHaven Group

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When the DeHaven Group LLC stopped paying special improvement district assessments on Maumelle property, some residents speculated that Jay DeHaven might be facing financial problems.

A foreclosure, lawsuit and lien filed by three creditors during the past 30 days give credence to that scenario.

However, the DeHaven Group’s CEO portrays his current financial disputes in west Little Rock as isolated and unrelated to the SID disagreement in Maumelle.

DeHaven said he was surprised that Bank of America began a non-judicial foreclosure action against his Family Builders LLC on Oct. 25 in connection with a $1.06 million loan. The mortgage is secured by six mostly completed patio homes in his gated Governor’s Manor project in west Little Rock.

“Hopefully, we can work something out,” DeHaven said. “I’m closing the homebuilding business. The housing market has dropped off the face of the earth.”

The topic of DeHaven’s financial status arose in September when dozens of property owners in Maumelle were surprised to learn that the DeHaven Group would no longer be paying the SID assessments on their homes.

The move, which forced residents to pick up the annual SID tab or risk foreclosure, was described as out-of-character for DeHaven. He was sometimes late with payments over the years, but DeHaven had always made good on the special improvement obligations.

At an Oct. 17 meeting of property owners, some residents wondered aloud if the non-payments were an indication that DeHaven was having money trouble. Five days later, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., filed a lawsuit against Family Builders and DeHaven to collect $20,823 for May-July concrete work in connection with the 9.1-acre Governor’s Manor development. The company alleges DeHaven signed a personal guarantee on this Family Builders debt.

National Home Centers Inc. of Springdale had filed a $2,501 lien on Oct. 15 for unpaid materials used during May-July to build one of the patio homes linked with the Bank of America foreclosure.

“I have been in conversations with the borrower, but that’s about all I can say,” said Lance Miller, a Little Rock lawyer representing Bank of America. “It looks like [DeHaven] got in a situation where he just couldn’t sell any of those houses.”

The DeHaven Group lists eight of the 45 lots in Governor’s Manor as sold. Real estate records show other DeHaven entities on either side of the three transactions: Capitol Lakes Management LLC as the seller and Family Builders LLC as the buyer.

Family Builders, DeHaven’s homebuilding venture, took ownership of the six lots securing the Bank of America loan in a deal valued at $330,000 on June 22, 2006. Ownership of those lots shifted to DeHaven personally in a transfer with no monetary consideration on June 12, 2007.

Family Builders took ownership of the other two lots in separate 2006 deals valued at $53,000 each on June 28 and July 6.

Barring a settlement, the six BOA properties will be sold at the Pulaski County Courthouse on Dec. 26.

Besides Bank of America, two other lenders have a financial interest in the Governor’s Manor residential development.

ANB Financial of Bentonville loaned DeHaven’s Capitol Lakes Management LLC $1.6 million secured by 37 undeveloped lots.

The remaining two lots, each with a mostly completed patio home, secure loans of $209,200 and $172,700 from Capital Bank of Little Rock.

DeHaven said his neighboring 29-acre Capitol Lakes Estates project is built out and only seven of the 95 homes remain unsold.

“It’s platted for 249 additional lots, and I’m listing some of the land for sale,” he said. “We’ve had some people look at it.”

DeHaven launched the Capitol Lakes project after acquiring a 192-acre tract for $1.18 million in December 1998 from The Wood Heath Joint Venture, led by John Burnett.

In addition to single-family construction, the Capitol Lakes development encompasses the Capitol Hills Apartments. DeHaven said construction of the second phase, 156 units, should start by the end of the year. A planned third phase will entail 215 units.

“That’s been a very successful project,” DeHaven said. “I don’t own it, but I do oversee the development under contract.”

Buys Land Near NLR

Earlier this year, his 2007 DeHaven Family Ltd. acquired about 458 acres on the eastern edge of North Little Rock near the northwest corner of Interstates 40 and 440 for $1.1 million.

DeHaven said the land will be annexed into North Little Rock, followed by the city extending water and sewer service to the property. Plans also call for extending East McCain Boulevard to the site.

He said the acreage is currently zoned for light industrial development but will probably be rezoned to include some multifamily and commercial areas.

DeHaven also is involved in the proposed 950-acre Canterbury Park residential development in west Pulaski County.

That project followed the court-ordered sale of the Winrock Grass Farm, owned by former Little Rock insurance executive Frank B. Whitbeck.

Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Co. of Edmond, Okla., and American Reserve Life Insurance Co. of Dallas bought the land for $4.55 million in July 2005.

DeHaven and Central Arkansas Water have gone back and forth over what effect Canterbury Park might have on water quality in the Lake Maumelle watershed, the main source of drinking water in Pulaski County.

The Pulaski County Planning Board denied a preliminary plat for 87 acres north of Highway 10, a decision DeHaven is trying to get overturned in circuit court.

The county planning board approved a preliminary plat for 200 acres south of Highway 10, CAW filed an action to challenge that decision, and the board deferred voting on a final plat.