Chesterton Tribune

Splash Down Dunes water park foreclosed, up for sheriff sale

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Splash Down Dunes is up for sale.

Up for sheriff’s sale.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 28, the two parcels of land comprising the water park at 150 E. U.S. Highway 20—as well as all equipment and inventory—will be placed on the auction block at the Porter County Sheriff’s Department.

On Jan. 7, Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford ordered the property foreclosed after owner Paul Childress failed to make a $300,000 payment to his former partner, Fred Pearson, under the terms of a sale agreement penned in May 2007, according to court documents.

As part of that agreement, Childress issued a note in the amount of $3 million to Pearson and secured that note by mortgaging the property and granting Pearson an interest in all other assets, including “equipment, inventory, accounts receivables, contract rights, intangibles, and fixtures.”

But Childress—and related entities Porter Recreation Company LLC, Porter Recreation Company Inc., and Water Parks of America LLC—defaulted on a $300,000 payment due on Dec. 31, 2008.

In his ruling, Bradford noted that Childress owes Pearson $2.35 million in principle, $500 in title expenses, and $30,000 in attorney fees, for a total indebtedness of $2,380,500, and added that the judgment should bear an annual interest rate of 8 percent.

Bradford accordingly ordered the property foreclosed and sold by the sheriff.

If the proceeds of the sheriff’s sale are insufficient to satisfy Childress’ debt, Bradford stated, a levy will be placed on his “goods and chattels” until “such payment is made in full.”

Bradford also enjoined Childress “from removing any fixtures from the subject real estate, from creating waste upon the subject real estate, or otherwise causing damage” to it.”

Pearson does have the right to bid himself on the property, Bradford stated, and should Pearson be the successful bidder he “has the right to apply the amount of (the) judgment, including all interest thereon, as may be required, as a credit towards the purchase price of such property.”

That Splash Down Dunes should be up for sale is no surprise. As Childress told the Chesterton Tribune in June 2009, last summer’s season—the water park’s 16th—would be his last at the helm.

At the time, however, Childress envisioned liquidating the park’s assets piecemeal by auction and apparently did not foresee the foreclosure order.


Posted 6/1/2010