ANTIOCH -- An entertainment hub popular with local youngsters remains shuttered two years after being purchased out of foreclosure, as owners of the former Golf N Games are locked in a legal dispute.
San Ramon Valley businessmen Harry Lewis and Johnny Moore bought Golf N Games Family Fun Center property out of foreclosure in May 2011 for $700,000.
The complex, which opened on Auto Center Drive in 1990, features East Contra Costa's only 18-hole miniature golf courses, batting cages, go-carts and an arcade.
Some improvements were made shortly after purchase to the interior and exterior of the property's main building, batting cages and the miniature golf course area.
But work abruptly stopped a few months later, as court documents reveal, when the partnership soured.
Lewis' partnership group and Moore initially agreed to a 51-49 percent split in forming an LLC for the property -- renamed Antioch Family Fun Center -- with Moore acquiring a $347,000 loan for his end.
According to a suit filed Jan. 29 by Lewis in Contra Costa Superior Court, Moore breached the contract by defaulting on the loan in June 2012, thus giving Lewis the right to purchase his membership interest. The suit also says Moore took a new pitching machine, pressure washer and other batting cage equipment and didn't return some of it, and made an unauthorized use of a debit card. Moore denies both claims.
Moore filed a countersuit on March 22, saying Lewis fraudulently notarized the documents in setting up the operating agreement to take over Moore's interest in the business. Lewis also refused to order the proper materials, prepare to open for business and threatened to sue if they continued to work on the Fun Center, according to court documents.
A case management conference is scheduled between the two parties next month.
"We're hoping we can get a resolution soon. There were some really great ideas and designs for it, but unfortunately, we weren't on the same page," Moore said.
Added Lewis: "It's really unfortunate. Opening it for the people of Antioch was the main motivation, and we had high hopes. Some issues arose, and now it's in the hands of the attorneys."
Brian Nunnally, Antioch's economic development analyst, expressed hope that the business will reopen soon.
The prospect of opening a kid-friendly venue in Antioch would benefit area residents, especially youngsters, he said. About 30 percent of Antioch's population is younger than 18, the highest percentage in the county.
"Along with Rockin' Jump (a trampoline park opening soon in Somersville Towne Center), it could provide more recreation opportunities and a wholesome fun experience for families," Nunnally said.
Before foreclosing in early 2011, the previous owner bought the Golf N Games property in 2004 for $1.7 million.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.