One of the 10 Prince William County subdivisions abandoned when Battlefield Builders Inc. ceased operations last year and defaulted on more than $100 million in debts has been taken over by Yolanda Ghadban, mother of Battlefield's three owners, county authorities said this week.
Ghadban startled county officials when she told them she owns Montyville 2, a subdivision near Manassas, and wants to resume work left unfinished by her two sons and daughter, Jimmy, Harry and Mary Ann Ghadban.
The three younger Ghadbans signed the documents and obtained permits necessary to begin development of Montyville 2, leading Prince William officials to assume they were the owners of the property, according to James E. Barnett, assistant county attorney. A check of county records, however, showed Yolanda Ghadban listed as owner of the property and developer of the subdivision, Barnett said. Yolanda Ghadban said she plans to sell the 16 lots to be finished in the subdivision, and that she will not build homes on them.
The Prince William Board of Supervisors last week approved Yolanda Ghadban's plan. The supervisors also voted to declare Battlefield in default of the performance agreements with the county for work in several other subdivisions. These were the remaining projects that had not already been ruled in default, according to another assistant county attorney, Stephen A. McIsaac.
After learning of the mother's ownership of Montyville 2, county officials inspected the records of other Battlefield projects in Prince William, said Martin E. Crahan, county director of development administration. The three younger Ghadbans are the owners of the other subdivisions. Crahan said the property designated as Montyville 2 is a part of the Ghadban family farm, and "that's probably why she Yolanda Ghadban shows up as owner."
Yolanda Ghadban posted a letter of credit from the Business Bank of Vienna for $145,813.76 to ensure completion of roads, storm drains and other public facilities in the subdivision, according to Barnett. Some of the roads have been graded, but no other work has been done, and construction of homes had not started at the time Battlefield collapsed, he said. No lots had been sold.
County officials were about to cancel the subdivision plan, rather than look for another developer to complete it, when Ghadban announced her ownership and intentions, Barnett said. The bond covering public improvements was held by Ideal Mutual Insurance Co. of New York, which went bankrupt earlier this year, and the county could have been faced with paying for the public facilities.
"We're fairly pleased" with Ghadban's plans, because Montyville 2 will be completed without cost to the county, Barnett said. Prince William has collected the money from the letter of credit covering roads and public facilities in another Battlefield subdivision, and other builders have shown interest in completing many of the remaining subdivisions, he said, adding that "the county may not get too badly burned" by the Battlefield collapse.
Jimmy, Harry and Mary Ann Ghadban filed individual business bankruptcies in February, listing debts of $104.8 million, the total owed to creditors of their companies and for which the three together are responsible.