Sale of Tulsa Club stymied again
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
1/15/13 at 12:29 PM
The sale of the dilapidated Tulsa Club was delayed again Tuesday when the former longtime owner of the building filed for personal bankruptcy in Nevada.
The filing by California businessman C.J. Morony has the practical effect of placing a stay on all civil legal proceedings against him, including Tuesday’s planned sheriff’s sale of the building, city officials said.
The vacant building at 115 E. Fifth St. was first scheduled to be sold in August at a sheriff’s sale. That proceeding was stayed when Morony, who for years had been listed as owner of the Tulsa Club building, created a limited liability company in Nevada, transfered the title of the Tulsa Club to the LLC and placed the LLC in bankruptcy.
At the city of Tulsa’s request, a Nevada judge subsequently lifted the stay, clearing the way for Tuesday’s sale.
“Mr. Morony was the owner and is the defendant in this case,” said Assistant City Attorney Bob Edmiston, who did not learn of the latest bankruptcy filing until arriving at Tuesday’s sheriff’s sale. “He is a named defendant, and (for) a named defendant who files bankruptcy, there is a stay even though the property has been transferred to another entity.”
Edmiston said the city will go back to court in Nevada to have the stay lifted.
David Dryer, Morony’s local attorney, said Tuesday that his client has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.
“We are just following the necessary proceedings to protect the interests of our client,” Dryer said.
He rejected any suggestion that Morony is giving the city the runaround.
“These are his properties. He owns them, and he can do with those what he is legally able to do,” Dryer said. “I don’t think he has any animosity toward the city, but he is protecting his properties.”
As for the future, Dryer said, his client will “continue through the legal process until he is able to utilize his properties as he deems fit.”
The city has been in a legal battle with Morony since 2007, when the building was declared a nuisance after a rash of code violations.
Once a favorite haunt for Tulsa’s movers and shakers, the Tulsa Club building opened in 1925 to provide facilities for the Tulsa Club and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.
The city took Morony to court in 2008, and last year Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale entered a final order granting judgment to the city and other lienholders.
The city then filed to sell the building after multiple code violations went unaddressed, and remedial civil penalties, improvement district assessments and interest totaling more than $400,000 went unpaid.
Morony also owns the Sinclair Building at 6 E. Fifth St. He owes the city approximately $150,000 in unpaid Tulsa Stadium Improvement District assessments on that structure.
The city has sued to foreclose on the liens on the delinquent assessments.
In this August 2012 file photo, the Tulsa Club building, which was built in 1925 to provide facilities for the Tulsa Club and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, but has been vacant since 1994. Tulsa World File