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Farmer Bails Out Couple Who Bought Country Club Entrance

June 18, 1987

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) _ A farmer tired of seeing ″the big guy squashing the little guy″ has come to the aid of a family who bought land at a country club entrance as a site for their mobile home.

Jake and Becky Eckert of Hutchinson bought the property near Lakewood Country Club at a sheriff’s sale, only to have the courts threaten to seize the property to pay their debts.

Farmer Jack Nolde on Wednesday loaned the Eckerts $5,500 at 6 percent interest to help them pay their debts.

The 4.6 acres of land which the Eckerts bought sight unseen for $600 in January is the only collateral for the loan. Reno County Court records show that the deadline for repayment is July 1, 1992.

The country club, which has an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool and 522 residential lots, has negotiated with the Eckerts to try to buy back the land. But the two sides have not agreed on a price.

Country club officials said they thought the land, which includes the country club sign and a pond, was a worthless utility easement and stopped paying property taxes on it.

Club members began complaining when the Eckerts and their five children began visiting the land this spring. After media reports about the dispute broke, the Eckerts’ creditors started calling.

A former landlord awarded more than $2,200 in a lawsuit against the Eckerts began legal action against the land. Judgments awarded to at least two other creditors pushed the total debt to $4,800, not counting interest.

If the debts are not paid, the land could be sold at another sheriff’s sale this year.

Nolde said he’s thinking about developing the Eckerts’ land, although he doesn’t own it.

″I have some contacts with a few developers, and we might just let them develop it. Ol’ Lakewood Country Club - they let a pretty good piece of property get away,″ he said.

Nolde said he and his wife, Anita, have tried to help other needy people.

″We like to usually pick out one person a year that needs some help. The government won’t help ‘em. The state won’t help ‘em. The city won’t help ’em. I figure a person isn’t worth much on this earth if he can’t help somebody.″

Nolde said he was confident that Eckert, an unemployed machinist, would be able to repay the loan.

″I’m sure he’ll get back on his feet,″ he said. ″I’m a farmer. I know how it is to be hard up.″

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