OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Family members of an 86-year-old World War II veteran complained he was being harassed by a well-known golf course, and on Thursday, after FOX 4 reported Virgil Wesley’s story, the golf course changed its mind about suing Wesley.
Virgil Wesley has lived in his home since 1995. Family members say Brookridge Country Club, 8223 West 103rd St., was suing Wesley for $75,000, because they allege 60 square feet of his garage is on country club property, according to a survey.
“I thought somebody was crazy!” Wesley said, “I’ve been maintaining it all these years!”
“He’s a WWII veteran, he’s 86 years old, he’s wheelchair bound, he has no money, no ability to hire an attorney, and they know that!” said Virgil’s daughter, Louanna Davis.
She said the country club asked him to tear the garage down back in 2011. Virgil’s family offered $2,000 for the 60 square feet. Davis says they didn’t hear back from Brookridge until this lawsuit, last week.
“Stating that they had been harmed, they’ve been kept from the use of the land, and they want $75,000,” Davis said.
FOX 4′s Melissa Stern called Brookridge’s media relations number on Wednesday and when her call was returned, they said everything could be found in the lawsuit and that they had no further comment. The attorney for Brookridge did not return a call.
Then, on Thursday, Brookridge Golf and Fitness posted the following on its facebook page:
“Brookridge Golf & Fitness has announced today that it will voluntarily dismiss its suit against Mr. Wesley and all other defendants. The dismissal will occur at no cost to Mr. Wesley or any other party. The portrayals of the suit by the news media, and the reactions from many concerned citizens, do not accurately reflect the relief that was sought. Brookridge never intended to recover damages of $75,000 or more from Mr. Wesley or any other defendant. The suit was filed pursuant to Kansas law that requires parties to include specific jurisdictional language. Furthermore, Brookridge never intended to remove Mr. Wesley from his property or otherwise interfere with his property rights. The suit was field merely to protect Brookridge’s property rights that are verifiable and recorded with the Johnson County Register of Deeds office. Brookridge regrets any misunderstanding or hardship that may have occurred from its actions.” (SEE PICTURE BELOW)
At attorney FOX 4 called on to give his opinion on the case says Wesley could have raised as a defense the concept of ‘adverse possession.’
“He would defend this case upon the claim that he has openly and exclusively and continuously possessed the property for 15 years, under the knowledge that and belief that he owned it, or that he was actually possessing it against the interests of the golf course,” said property law attorney Doug Patterson.
He says if the building permit shows that Wesley built the garage in 1998, that would be in excess of 15 years.
“They want the ground for some reason or another,” added Wesley. “The lot next door is vacant, because the house burned down, so they want the whole corner.”
Wesley was served with papers last week. He had 21 days to respond, but because of finances he was not sure he’d be able to meet that deadline.
Now, according to the facebook post, Wesley no longer has to worry about it.