Not even Rush Limbaugh could keep the Pilot Hill Crossing development alive.
But the lender liability claim lodged after the luxury home subdivision failed in 1991 was alive and well for three years.
In 1988, Bank of San Francisco had agreed to lend Madeleine Winn $4.5 million to develop an 840-acre suburban tract known as Pilot Hill Crossing. Despite intensive marketing, including radio spots by talk show host Rush Limbaugh, only one 10-acre plot was sold from 1989 to 1991, according to lawyers for the bank.
The bank spent the last three years defending itself against Ms. Winn, who claimed that the bank had orally agreed to be her "joint venture" partner, not just her lender.
Ms. Winn, alleging that because it was more than just her lender the bank was barred from foreclosing on her property, sought $2 million in lost profits. After a three-week trial that ended in December, a jury rejected her arguments.
"Given the economic struggles faced by so many players in the real estate market in the past few years . . . it is a shame that they are further burdened by spurious suits of this type," said Raul A. Ramirez, a lawyer for the bank.
- Terrence O'Hara and Barbara F. Bronstien