Dundee United owner Mark Ogren has halted plans for a multi-million-pound golf resort in St Andrews amid a legal dispute.
Contractors working on the luxury development at Feddinch Mains have left the 241-acre site on the south side of the town without being paid.
Mr Ogren blames the mess on his Spanish business partner, Hector Pous Rivero, who, he claims, hired multiple contractors behind his back.
The Tangerines‘ chairman says Mr Rivero “unilaterally” authorised the work without his knowledge.
And Mr Ogren insists he ordered lawyers to call a halt to the £25 million project as soon as he learned workers were not being paid.
He is now in talks with legal representatives over his next steps.
Mr Rivero could not be contacted for comment.
From his home in Minnesota, Mr Ogren confirmed work had stopped.
In a statement, he said: “As had been reported by various media outlets, I am a shareholder and director of GPH Engineering Limited.
“Subsequent to my recent initial investment in GPH, I became aware that site work had commenced at Feddinch Mains, which had been unilaterally authorised by the other director of GPH, with multiple contractors hired by him in connection with such work.”
He added: “To be clear, this work was not authorised by the board of directors of GPH.
“As such, I attempted to obtain details regarding the scope of the work authorised by the other director but have been unable to do so.
“Since I had no visibility of the site work being conducted in connection with the Feddinch Mains development project, since such work was not authorised by the board of directors, and since I had been made aware that contractors were not being paid for their work, I instructed GPH’s attorneys to direct all contractors to cease work while I investigated the matter.
“Such investigation is ongoing and I am exploring my options and legal rights.”
Seeking planning permission
Mr Ogren’s company – investment firm GPH Engineering – is seeking planning permission for the massive Feddinch project.
The American, along with Mr Rivero, submitted proposals to Fife Council for an 18-hole golf course to rival the Old Course last year.
Their plans include a clubhouse, golf accommodation, 41 luxury suites, a spa and restaurant.
Work began on the site but a public consultation on the proposals, due to be held on May 20, was cancelled at the last minute.
Unfortunately due to contractual issues the Feddinch community consultation has been cancelled today. Our apologies to those who were interested in attending. We will keep you updated through the consultation website. @FifeCouncil #Feddinchhttps://t.co/PKRNSYslIk
— Orbit Communications (@orbit_agency) May 20, 2021
The Feddinch Golf Resort website said only that it was due to “contractual issues”.
Neighbours say contractors and machinery left the site shortly afterwards, leaving an “eyesore”.
One neighbour said: “They started work and now it’s stopped.
“The rumour is it’s gone belly-up and it’s a bit concerning because they’ve left huge mountains of soil.”
Planning permission for a championship golf course and 40 two-bedroom suites at Feddinch was originally granted in 2004.
However, while an 18-hole course was designed by former Open champion Tom Weiskopf in 2014, the project failed and the site was put on the market last year.