Saying she will not be silenced by a lawsuit filed against her by Pebble Creek Golf Club (PCGC) owner Bill Place, Pebble Creek resident and activist Leslie Green is firing back with a counterclaim lawsuit of her own.
Denying all of Place’s allegations in his lawsuit, Green filed her countersuit on May 11, suing Place for defamation.
In his lawsuit, Place alleged that Green had personal and selfish motivations when it came to fighting against development of the golf course, and conducted a smear campaign by reaching out to developers, city, county and state officials and others in order to stop him from securing a so-called brownfield designation and selling to a developer who would build homes on the land.
She “made things personal and pervasive,” according to Place.
“I never felt it was personal,” Green told the Neighborhood News. “I was merely trying to save our greenspace and keep our zoning what it is. That’s all it was to me.”
Green, who has lived along the 10th hole at PCGC for nearly 30 years, has been a vocal critic of Place’s efforts to sell the 54-year-old golf course and clubhouse, which he shut down on July 31, 2021.
She originally started the “Save Pebble Creek” Facebook page in March 2019 to rally residents when Place sought the brownfield designation to offset the costs of removing pesticides and other chemicals from the property, a requirement before he could sell the 150-acre property for development.
The application was denied, but Green continued her efforts as Place attempted to woo developers. She denies, however, that she ever used “blatant falsehoods” to sway KB Homes and Pulte Homes to back out of deals to buy the property to develop homes on it.
There are roughly 1,400 homes in Pebble Creek, and 130 of them border on the golf course. But, far more residents than just those living on the golf course are opposed to development, claims Green.
Green’s countersuit claims that Place’s lawsuit “can only be construed as revenge for expressing and encouraging others to express their constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression.”
The counterclaim suit accuses Place of disparaging Green by asserting she was “immoral, selfish, dishonest, and acted with animosity” resulting in damage to Green’s “integrity, character and professional competence amongst the general public.”
Her suit also alleges that “Mr. Place published false statements about Ms. Green…intentionally and with malice, having knowledge of the falsity of the statements and/or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements…and was intentional, knowing, malicious, and with callous disregard of Ms. Green’s rights.”
As a result, Green “has suffered, is suffering, and will continue to suffer severe and irreparable harm and substantial damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”
Green is seeking damages for “lost income and business opportunities, litigation costs and expenses including attorney fees, and other actual damages, including irreparable and quantifiable harm to Ms. Green’s personal and professional reputation amongst her residential community and the public at large.”
Place has 20 days to respond, but has already received a requested extension.
A virtual court date has been scheduled for Nov. 7.
Place is currently negotiating with GL Homes, which has already presented a preliminary development plan to some residents. A recent meeting with GL Homes on May 18 drew a small protest by those opposed to building more homes in Pebble Creek, which Green attended.