Wallace, Lazydays Battling Over Land Lease

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June 16, 2011 by   Comments Off on Wallace, Lazydays Battling Over Land Lease

Don Wallace’s relationship with the giant RV dealership he founded has reached a new low, according to a report in the Tampa Tribune.

Wallace and Lazydays RV SuperCenter are now locked in a suit and counter suit over the fate of the land underneath the dealership.

Through a company called I-4 Land Holding Limited Co., Wallace still owns the land under the dealership he founded in 1976, the largest single-site dealership in the nation.

After selling off much of his ownership stake in the dealership, Wallace leased the land underneath to Lazydays, which at one point was paying at least $4.2 million per year in rent.

That lease gave the dealership an option to purchase the land if specific conditions are met. Wallace could not be reached for comment.

LDRV Holdings Corp., which operates the Lazydays dealership, tried to exercise that purchase option in May this year for an undisclosed price.

Wallace countered that LDRV was in default on its lease after missing monthly rent payments, thus voiding LDRV’s option to buy the land.

Clouding the entire issue is the question of how the contract was complicated when Lazydays filed bankruptcy in 2009, and whether the successor company was assigned the lease correctly and with Wallace’s permission.

Both parties filed suits in Hillsborough County’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit — Wallace on June 1 and LDRV on June 7 — neither asking for money, but both asking the court to clear up the matter and declare which party has what rights.

Wallace is represented partially in the case by Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen, who has handled other matters for Wallace, including an attempted case of extortion against Wallace by Wallace’s extended family members.

Randy Lay, chief financial officer of Lazydays, said their motive for owning the land is purely strategic, not personal.

Big RV dealers like theirs typically use a lot of land, he said, but also make significant investments in showrooms, perks for guests, service bays and even restaurants and campgrounds. “It makes a heck of a lot of sense to own the land,” Lay said.

That’s what the company did in purchasing a large dealership in Tucson this year, Lay added.

While Lazydays just went through the Chapter 11 process, Lay said the current majority owners, Wayzata Investment Partners, extended $10 million to the company for such investments, and the dealership has enough collateral to access more capital for purchases.

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