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Lakewood Ranch decision delayed until October 2

Sal Diaz-Verson has a week to save his dream of building an arena in Manatee County.
After all that has gone on in the Lakewood Ranch Arena story, it has come down to this: Sal Diaz-Venson needs to come up with 60 grand by October 2 or the arena goes back into foreclosure.

At least we think so.

Diaz-Verson was supposed to make the $60,000 payment to Schroeder-Manatee Ranch on September 18. SMR holds the mortgage on the half-built arena. A late summer foreclosure sale was stalled when Diaz-Verson’s company, DVA Sports, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As part of the deal, however, he still had to make some payments to SMR. When he failed to do so, the company marched into federal court looking to re-start the foreclosure proceedings. Judge Caryl Delano tossed out the bankruptcy case but Diaz-Verson filed an emergency appeal that will be heard October 2.

The former president of AFLAC Insurance says he will go into his life insurance savings to pay SMR, which holds the $6.5 million mortgage on the arena.  SMR’s plan is to reclaim the property and find a new developer to finish the project, which was halted in 2005. Walbridge Aldinger, the construction firm that did work on the project, has a $9 million lien on the property.

The clock is ticking.