The trustee running bankrupt Newport Beach home builder Baldwin Co. has sued the firm's owners, brothers Alfred and James Baldwin, claiming they want to resurrect their development empire by wresting the rights to thousands of acres of valuable land from the business that bears their name.
Bankruptcy trustee David Gould argues that the brothers are jeopardizing his efforts to nurse Baldwin Co. through a reorganization and repay more than $250 million in debts. Last week, he won a temporary restraining order barring the Baldwins from using the land in any way pending an Aug. 30 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Barbara.
"These development opportunities are crucial assets" for Baldwin Co., which may never emerge from bankruptcy without them, the suit says.
The Baldwin brothers, ousted from operating control of Baldwin Co. in May, are in business as Village Development. The company, which formerly was called Village Properties and was not part of the bankruptcy case, has sold Baldwin Co. most of the raw land for its housing developments.
Village's properties include about 16,000 acres in the Otay Mesa region of southern San Diego County, as well as hundreds of acres in master-planned communities in Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, north San Diego County and the south Orange County planned community of Portola Hills.