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Date of Issue: September 07, 2006

Court gives go-ahead for Villa Rosa sale

U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge K. Robert May last Friday gave financially troubled GSR Development LLC of Anna Maria Island approval to proceed with its proposed sale of its Villa Rosa property and two adjacent parcels in Anna Maria.

GSR's emergency petition to the court said it can sell the land to Gaspar Properties Inc. of Tampa for $11.5 million. After all liens and mortgages against the properties are paid off, GSR will net $2 million, which it claimed is much-needed operating capital.

Several creditors, however, objected to the sale, including the Florida Department of Revenue.

That's because under bankruptcy laws, the sale of any property by a company in bankruptcy is exempt from paying document stamps. Attorneys for the DOR argued that the exemption applies only after a company in bankruptcy has filed a reorganization plan, which GSR has not, attorneys said.

Judge May said that's an issue that can be dealt with at a later date, as any money from the sale will be retained by the court for distribution.

Gaspar Properties has until Sept. 11 to make a final commitment on a purchase, which must still be approved by Judge May.

The sale, however, would not pay off any of the estimated $3 million in unsecured claims against GSR.

Gaspar Properties Inc. is a Tampa-based development company with Hamilton T. Jones of Davis Island in Tampa as its president. The company has extensive real estate holdings in the Tampa area.