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Legal problems head to federal court for Buena Vista

ACA and city argue cases in court

BUENA VISTA, Va – The city of Buena Vista's legal troubles over its golf course are front and center in federal court today in Lynchburg.

Representatives from the city and ACA Financial Guaranty met in court after the financial firm filed a lawsuit against the city over defaulting on a bond issuance. But no decision was made today. 

Attorney's played a high stakes game where one side wants to seize Buena Vista's City Hall and the Police Department after the city defaulted on $9.2 million secured bond issuance.
    
Both parties walked out of Lynchburg federal court after arguing their cases for more than two hours. The city golf course Vista Links, is the center of the hearing, which has caused problems for the city for more than 10 years.
     
ACA Financial, the firm that insured bonds to finance the golf course, filed a suit after the city said it could not pay back the debt. The money was was raised in 2005 to repay funds used to develop the Vista Links golf course.

The lawsuit asks the court to give ACA the right to seize city properties, which were pledged as collateral. The city attorney Brian Kearney, says they're asking the judge to dismiss lawsuit because ACA has no basis for their claim under moral obligation instead of general obligation.
 
"You have to pay under general obligation because the full faith and credit of the taxing authority can be used to pay that debt. So you have to raise taxes if it's a general obligation. And that's the big difference. Under moral obligation it is subject to annual appropriations or a revenue. So is a big difference between having to pledge your tax base," Kearney said.

Buena Vista stopped making payments on the bonds used to pay for the golf course in 2014. And those who live and work in the city of Buena Vista such as James and Martha Smith are ready for the problem to go away..

"Something needs to be done. It's time for it to end. We  don't live in the city but we have a business here and it's time for them to step up and do whatever they need to do to make the bill right," said Martha Smith of M & P Market. 

The city attorney for Buena Vista says they're asking the judge to dismiss the entire case. If not a trial date will be set for next year.

Attorney's for ACA says they will not comment on the case until a judge makes a final decision.