Second partner sues in failed hunting deal

Man accused of not paying his share

WARREN — A second business partner has accused a man involved in the once-proposed transformation of a golf course into a hunting preserve in Vienna of not holding up the financial terms of a business arrangement.

Michael Mullenax is being sued by Joseph Hray of Warren in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, where Hray alleges Mullenax hasn’t paid for his half of a business venture, Buckeye Trophy Whitetails Deer Farm LLC, and removed property from the farm to support a hunting preserve operation Mullenax was pursuing with Dale Soinski of Windham, according to a complaint.

Soinski filed a lawsuit in June, alleging Mullenax misled him during negotiations for Soinski to purchase nearly 300 acres at 765 N. Scoville Road in the fall of 2017 as part of a $1 million investment to turn the former Candywood Golf Course into the Candywood Whitetail Ranch, which would have been a hunting preserve.

Soinski was to purchase the land and building, and Mullenax would continue to own / operate a private hunting company, Candywood Whitetail Ranch LLC, on the property, according to Soinski. The company provides hunters access to deer, elk, boar and rams.

The suit is in the process of being settled, said attorney Michael O’Shea, who represents Soinski. The details of the agreement are not public, but O’Shea said Soinski is positioned to be the sole member of the LLC that owns the land, maintaining control over it. Mullenax is to maintain possession of the animals, the suit states.

“There is a certain period of time Mullenax has to comply with obligation of the settlement agreement, and we are waiting to ensure that happens,” O’Shea said.

O’Shea said Soinski has no intention of pursuing a hunting preserve for the land.

In the new suit, Hray alleges Mullenax is responsible for $65,000 to cover half of the business expenses accrued since 2006, including the cost of animals, taxes, insurance, veterinary medicine, regulatory costs, maintenance and repairs.

Mullenax, who has addresses in Newton Falls and Vienna, declined to comment.

Hray alleges Mullenax removed jointly owned property from the farm and took some of it to Candywood, including a $4,000 buck and fencing.

Soinski claimed in the first suit that Mullenax committed fraud by misrepresenting to him that he was the operator of other, successful hunting preserves.

Messages were left with Hray and his attorney, Michael McGee.