Hopes for a quick resolution of Sundale Country Club's fate faded Monday after a scheduled auction of the financially troubled Bakersfield golf course was again postponed, this time because one of its minority owners has filed for personal bankruptcy protection.
The property had been scheduled to be sold at public auction at 10 a.m. on the steps of Bakersfield City Hall. But with close to a dozen residents of the surrounding retirement community gathered around, the auctioneer announced the sale had been delayed because of a bankruptcy case related to the property.
The auction was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, though the auctioneer said the sale will probably be delayed further by the bankruptcy filing.
Federal court records show Steve Kim, an individual who bought a 4 percent stake in Sundale in June of 2018, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on Sept. 4. That was the same day the golf course was last scheduled to be auctioned off but was instead postponed.
Kim's filing lists his city of residence as being Los Angeles. But it states his mailing address is in Bakersfield at 6218 Sundale Ave., home of the country club.
Chapter 13, an alternative to Chapter 7's liquidation proceedings, allows debtors to keep their assets and put forward a plan for repaying their debts during a period of up to five years.
Kim's filing states he owes fewer than 50 creditors a total of between $50,001 and $100,000. It says his assets are worth no more than $50,000.
Kim and the individual from whom he is listed as having bought a stake in Sundale, majority owner Young Ohr, could not be reached for comment Monday.
County records show Ohr not only sold 4 percent of the country club's real estate last year to Kim, but that he also sold 3 percent to Peter Song and another 3 percent to John Park. The records show Ohr retained 90 percent ownership.
Facing foreclosure for more than a year, the group had been negotiating to sell the property to a group of investors led by Bakersfield businessman Randeep Dhillon.
But when successive appraisals estimated the club's value at far less than the purchase price of $4.4 million, Dhillon's group sued Ohr and his partners. Ohr and his partners countersued. Both suits are pending in Kern County Superior Court.
Last year, a partnership including Bakersfield businessman Girish Patel bought the club's debt from Los Angeles-based Hanmi Bank.
Patel's business partner, Jay Patel, said Monday he and Girish were waiting to see whether Kim's bankruptcy gets dismissed from court, which could remove impediments to the property changing hands.
"We’re waiting for the bankruptcy stay to lift," Jay Patel said.
Residents of Kern City are anxious to learn the property's fate because a restriction barring new residential development at the country club is set to expire in 2022. Many of the residents are against such development.
Girish Patel has said he has not decided whether to push for new housing on the site if his group ends up owning the club.