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Eventful week could sway future VSB meetings

Events this week could affect a Virginia Beach icon, the law of closely held corporations and the future of the Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar.

Monday, a judge in Buckingham County will consider approving a global settlement of legal disputes marking a signal victory by minority shareholders who challenged their outcast status in a family-run business.

Tuesday, a Virginia Beach developer goes to the city council with plans for development of The Cavalier Hotel – a property expected to be sold as part of the settlement being presented Monday to Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush.

On Thursday, lawyers, judges and legal academics descend on The Cavalier for this year’s VSB Annual Meeting while VSB leaders contemplate whether such meetings have a future at the grand hotel.

The settlement to be presented today would mark the end of years of litigation over the rights of minority shareholders in The Disthene Group Inc. who claimed they were ill-used by chairman Gene Dixon Jr. and other controlling family members.

The deal would allow Dixon to regain control of most of the company assets, principally a profitable Kyanite mine in Buckingham County.

One notable exception is The Cavalier, the 22-acre landmark complex of two hotels and a “beach club” at the north end of Virginia Beach’s commercial oceanfront. The Disthene parties agreed to allow the sale of The Cavalier to developer Bruce Thompson.

There are encouraging signs about a future for The Cavalier. As The Virginian-Pilot reports, Thompson is scheduled to present his concept for the future of the property at a city council workshop Tuesday. Joining him will be Bart Frye, developer of the East Beach mixed use project in Norfolk.

The Disthene battle called into question the outlook for The Cavalier – highlighting problems with the aging hilltop hotel, in particular. With plans for ownership and operation of The Cavalier uncertain, VSB leaders have been working on an alternative plan for a beach-based Annual Meeting in 2014, talking to other nearby hotels.

The developments this week could determine whether any alternative Virginia Beach destination will be needed when the Annual Meeting convenes next year.

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