Alachua County may hire attorney to monitor Celebration Pointe bankruptcies

Svein Dyrkolbotn speaks at the lectern during Alachua County's May 28 meeting.
Svein Dyrkolbotn tells the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners that Viking Companies is not bankrupt at the May 28, 2024, regular meeting.
Courtesy Alachua County

The Alachua County legal staff recommend the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hire an outside firm to monitor and represent the county in the bankruptcy hearings of two Celebration Pointe companies.  

The proposal to hire the firm, MarksGray, P.A., is in the consent agenda for Tuesday’s regular meeting. It’s contingent on approval by the BOCC, but unless pulled from consent by a commissioner, the item will pass during a single vote that approves the entire consent agenda. 

MarksGray, P.A. is already on retainer for Alachua County, but using the firm for this project will cost additional funds.  

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The fiscal impact is unknown at this time, but an email from MarksGray, P.A. says that the company charges $395 per hour of work done by a shareholder, $295 per hour of work done by an associate, and $165 per hour of work done by a paralegal.   

In the current budget, Alachua County has $50,000 in special expense funding set aside for such cases.   

The backup documents, prepared by the county attorney’s office, note that two Celebration Pointe companies are going through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida. The documents also say the bankruptcy process has raised questions about impacted county interests. 

“In order to monitor the bankruptcy for the protection of the County in its dealing with these and related entities which may become enmeshed in the bankruptcy and to ensure that the outstanding taxes receive the appropriate treatment in bankruptcy, the County Attorney has consulted with the Tax Collector who has agreed to the retention of outside counsel who would appear on behalf of the Tax Collector and through that role be able to keep a closer eye on proceedings which might impact the County,” the backup documents say.  

Celebration Pointe is made up of several different companies that own the retail and residential developments just west of I-75 and north of Archer Road. These entities are owned by Viking Companies Inc., headquartered at Celebration Pointe.  

Alachua County has collaborated with Viking Companies/ Celebration Pointe on several occasions—most notable on the $30 million Alachua County Sports and Event Center that opened last year.  

The two entities are currently working to host the 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships.   

On the regular portion of Tuesday’s agenda, commissioners will discuss using $1 million to support the athletics championship—including $650,000 for renovations at West End Golf Course. The BOCC recently decided to purchase the golf course after taking over the contract from Viking Companies at a meeting in late May.  

The West End Golf Club.
Photo by C.J. Gish The West End Golf Course may be part of the upcoming 2025 World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in March 2025.

At that meeting, the BOCC asked Svein Dyrkolbotn, principal owner of Viking Companies, if he had anything to add. Dyrkolbotn said the project will use state funds for West End and added that the tournament will be a boon for the area. He also addressed the bankruptcy proceedings.  

“I can set the records on a lot of other things that I probably shouldn’t talk about today, personally, and some of the companies that are involved here,” Dyrkolbotn said. “But I just want to set the record that Viking Companies is not in bankruptcy.” 

The bankruptcy filings concern three companies owned by Viking Companies— Celebration Pointe Holdings LLC, Celebration Pointe Holdings II LLC, and SHD-Celebration Pointe LLC. The backup documents only show that MarksGray, P.A. will keep track of the proceedings for the first two of those companies. 

Scott Shuker, the attorney handling the bankruptcy cases for Viking Companies, told Mainstreet in March that a couple of creditors wouldn’t work with the company to restructure its debt, forcing the bankruptcy declarations. He said the cases wouldn’t impact tenet businesses or experience for customers.  

“The idea is that the entity will exist post-Chapter 11,” Shuker said in a phone interview. “It’s to put a pause on the immediate payment of certain debts while we come up with a global reorganization plan.”   

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AC BOCC Blowing Taxpayer Money

AC BOCC is doing their best to prop up their deadbeat friends by purchasing the West End Golf Course, on top of building a sports center for Celebration Point stockholders! Waste of taxpayer money! There are plenty of “green spaces” in western AC. Hey, make a park out of the county’s Ag Center in Newberry!

Alachua County

The County would purchase West End regardless of the World Masters tournament. It will be transformed into a much-needed park in Jonesville.


The county commission’s “consent agenda” is the method used by the county attorney and county manager to get approval for many shady projects, without any public discussion or vetting.

Items placed on this “agenda” are often buried in the middle of hundreds of pages of unrelated issues, and therefore are obscured from review. Realistically, it is not possible for a commissioner to thoroughly digest and understand many of the issues brought to them in this fashion.

The county attorney and manager understand this phenomena well, and use the consent agenda to spread money widely, and especially throughout the legal community, thus boosting their power and influence.

Even worse than the consent agenda scandal is the standing $50,000 per contract approval power that the county attorney holds — she uses this to get funding for items without any commission approval or review at all. If one of her buddies in the legal community needs more, they simply break the request up into multiple $50k items and approve them separately. This is the very definition of a slush fund.

Ragnar Lothbrook

How about the 100,000 the county paid to have the chicken replace Old Joe????


Very true. But as an member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, I am happy that Old Joe is in a safe, private place, away from the protestors who spat at him and urinated on him. Even though we got zero help from the BOCC and they tried to thwart us at every turn (with the exception of Commissioner Pinkoson), we managed to raise the money needed to safely move him to a place where he is honored and respected. And, I personally also think that chicken statue that replaced him is hideous.

More facts

Three of the fifty Celebration Point LLCs each filed a separate bankruptcy, The Federal court consolidated the three cases into one, case 2024-bk-10056. Attorney by default will “monitor” all three cases.

The county’s concern is, at the moment, primarily unpaid property taxes. Marks Grey was hired to monitor two companies because only two of the three own property, according to the Alachua County Property Appraiser.

1. SHD-Celebration Pointe LLC owns no property under its own name. However it owns and manages a few shell corporations to keep a lot of lawyers and accountants employed, and obfuscate the cash flow.
2. Celebration Pointe Holdings LLC owns 6 parcels. None of the 2023 property taxes have been paid on them. Overdue on June 1. The bankruptcy filing prevents tax certificates from being sold.
6820-2-18, 6820-4-1, 6937-4-0 are tiny and of little value. However
-6820-2-0 owes $36,500 for 2023 taxes.
-6828-7-0 owes $26,700 for 2023 taxes. In addition, it never paid its 2022 taxes and a tax certificate was sold for 33,206. CPH owes this investor repayment plus interest.
-6818-0-0 owes $23,000 for 2023 taxes. It never paid its taxes for 2018, and a tax certificate for $17,677 was sold; it never paid its taxes for 2019, and a tax certificate for $21,486 was sold; it never paid its taxes for 2021, and a tax certificate for $27,402 was sold.
3. Celebration Pointe Holdings II LLC owns one parcel.
6820-3-0 owes $24,000 for 2023 taxes. It never paid its taxes for 2018, and a tax certificate for $29,714 was sold; it never paid its taxes for 2021, and a tax certificate for $28,759 was sold; it never paid its taxes for 2022, and a tax certificate for $28,003 was sold.