D.C. couple sues over land deal

by Cara Bailey |
Mar. 9, 2007, 1:35am

CHARLES TOWN - A couple from Washington, D.C., have filed a suit in Jefferson Circuit Court, against the son of a deceased business partner.

Ray and Christina Hanna filed a suit March 1 against Clay Jenkins, the ancillary administrator of the estate of Evan Jenkins.

The Hannas and Evan Jenkins entered a joint venture in 1977 to develop a piece of countryside near Washington, D.C.

"The Hannas and Mr. Jenkins only purchased this parcel of real estate after agreeing to equally share the ownership and costs of purchasing and maintaining any property that they might decide to buy," the suit says.

Over the years more land was bought, until it totaled 50.46 acres. The suit says the Hannas and Jenkins shared the costs of developing the land until Jenkins died in October 2005. Prior to his death, the land contained an asphalt tennis court, a lake, roads, gates and part of the land was cleared.

Additionally, the Hannas independently paid for construction and maintenance to a house on the property and other construction projects.

"In December of 1991, The Hannas experienced certain financial difficulties and asked Mr. Jenkins for a loan, offering as collateral the portion of real estate owned by the Hannas," the complaint states. "Mr. Jenkins refused to loan the Hannas money, however, Mr. Jenkins offered to purchase the Hannas' interest in the real estate for a sum which, by Mr. Jenkins own admission, was considerable less than the actual worth of the Hannas' portion of the real estate."

The suit says Jenkins promised he would give the Hannas an opportunity to repurchase the land at a later date, for the same price. He paid about $31,000 and the Hannas were given five years to repurchase their portion.

The suit also says Jenkins orally agreed that he and the Hannas would make mutual will so that all issues having to do with the future of the land after either one of the Hannas' or Jenkins' death would be decided in advance.

The suit says the Hannas accepted $31,000 for their land, even though it was worth about $275,000.

On Thanksgiving Day 1996, the Hannas told Jenkins they were prepared to repurchase their land, but Jenkins said there were a number of issues that had to be resolved first, the suit says.

The suit says the Hannas repeatedly asked Jenkins when they could buy the land back, and his reply was the same every time, reminding the Hannas they had been friends more than 30 years and he would do the right thing.

Before anything could be settled Jenkins died. The Hannas continued to contribute to the maintenance of the land.

The Hannas seek $300,000 from the estate of Jenkins, as a recovery of the breach of contract that occurred with Jenkins refused to sell back the land. They also seek judgment to transfer the title of the property from Jenkins.

Jefferson Circuit Court case number 07-C-62

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