FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM has uncovered two foreclosure lawsuits related to a Flagler County real estate project linked to Serenata Beach Club owners, Molly and Jeffrey Butler.
These lawsuits are for an unfinished development in Flagler County — the Moonlight Beach Villas on South Ocean Shore Blvd. Property records show the Butlers bought the land in 2021 for $1.3 million and were in the process of building 10 luxury oceanfront villas.
But, they still owe a general contractor and a mortgage lender millions of dollars for the unfinished project.
There are now four different foreclosure lawsuits amounting to more than $15 million dollars owed by the Butlers. The Serenata Beach Club in Ponte Vedra Beach is still open and taking payments from members as the club faces two foreclosure lawsuits.
Two lending firms are seeking a combined $10.6 million dollars owed on the Serenata Beach Club property. Now, the News4JAX I-TEAM has learned the couple are also involved in the Moonlight Beach development that’s facing foreclosure.
One lender – Sachem Capital – has filed a complaint for foreclosure. The lawsuit outlines that the original principal balance on the loan issued in December of 2021 was for $5.5 million.
The lawsuit says the Butlers owe more than $4.1 million ($4,115,859.28) on that loan – the full balance of which was due back in December.
Another foreclosure was filed by the general contractor who worked on the Moonlight Beach Villas – and seeks more than $1.8 million – the lawsuit claims the Butlers’ company failed to pay for work completed despite “several demands and promises to pay.” The contractor says work was last done on the project in February of this year.
“What this tells us is that the Butlers are in a financial position that does not bode well for the members of Serenata Club or anybody else that has invested in their properties,” Attorney Gene Nichols said. “Now, there is the potential that they’re able to solve these problems.”
The Flagler Beach project is only partially complete, with a steel structure visible and many exterior walls missing.
It’s distinctly different from the renderings shown on the website for the development, a project that the other court documents show was expected to be completed between July and October of 2022.
The 10 oceanfront properties are listed on Zillow for more than $1.3 million each and are marked as “pending sale.”
“In the grand scheme, this does show everyone a sign, that something may not be in good shape when it comes to the Serenata Beach Club and its members as well as the other properties the Butlers are involved with,” Nichols said. “I think everybody who’s paying Serenata, paying their dues, needs to be concerned. There’s no reason not to be concerned.”
Molly Butler gave News4JAX this statement which reads in part: “The members are currently being kept informed of the issues and continue to be our highest priority. Due to unforeseen criminal activities against us, in which we have been awarded a judgment and retribution, our initial refinancing has been delayed. All of these issues are being resolved.”
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