The cabins and store at Fern Creek were shuttered as of last Sunday. (Photo: Lunch)
After a 12-year run, bankruptcy has forced out Robin Hart at Fern Creek Lodge in June Lake.
According to property owner Jim Coats, who also operates J and M Ranch in Round Valley, once Hart’s bankruptcy is finalized by the courts, he will foreclose and then sell the property at auction.
The property, which includes a General Store, Fly Shop and nine cabins, will be priced at around $700,000.
It is doubtful the situation will be resolved and the Lodge ready to go for fishing opener.
By that time, Hart will have returned with her two school-age daughters to her hometown of Madison, Miss.
“I really think God knew it was time for me to go home to Mississippi,” Hart said. “I’ll figure it out from there. Find a job, punch a clock. No more midnight phone calls from people saying they’re out of toilet paper or that the right rear burner on the stove doesn’t work.”
Despite her brave front, however, Hart gets teary when she thinks about her loyal guests, particularly the fishermen.
“I can’t be here and see the Lodge closed for opening day. It would be too emotional for me … most openers, I’d give away 15 pots of coffee before 9 a.m.”
Coats, who previously operated the Lodge for 22 years and raised his family there, said “I don’t just want to wash my hands of it. I’d like to find the right person to buy it … It’s unfortunate for both Robin and I,” he concluded.
Hart, however, believes the misfortune could have been avoided if Coats had renegotiated the terms of their purchase agreement, which included a 10.5% interest loan.
Coats said the property will be sold “as is.”
Hart says “as is” includes an existing underground storage tank which must be removed. She maintains the presence of this tank was not disclosed when she bought the property.
However, Hart didn’t buy the property from Coats, but from a previous owner. In other words, she bought into the previously arranged, owner-financed deal.
“As far as I know,” Coats replied, “that tank was removed in the first sale. If it hasn’t been removed, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he added, “but I don’t think it would be my responsibility.”
In any event, Coats said if there were a tank, that would be for a new buyer to take care of.