BY JOHN MONK| [email protected]
Pro football player Dontrelle Inman has survived six seasons in the NFL by outwitting tough defenses.
But on Friday a South Carolina judge blocked Inman’s plans to use his waterfront mansion in a quiet Lake Murray community as a for-profit business that would host weddings, parties and other events where helicopters would land and up to 750 guests would attend.
The order by S.C. Judge Robert Hood is only temporary. Inman must appear before Hood at a hearing on March 16 at the Richland County courthouse where opposing attorneys will likely argue whether the order should stay in place or Inman can proceed with his business plans.
The order, called a temporary restraining order, was sought by Inman’s neighbors and their lawyers, Columbia attorneys Eric Bland and state Sen. Dick Harpootlian, D-Richland. It is part of a lawsuit they have brought against Inman that claims the football player has no right to start a big business in their quiet residential neighborhood.
During the 15-minute hearing, which neither Inman nor his lawyers attended, Bland and Harpootlian told Judge Hood that Inman had not complied with numerous government laws and regulations, including failing to obtain a business license.
Bland told the judge that, “My clients have young children who play in the street … and he has advertised that he is going to have 750 people there.”
Moreover, Bland said, the neighborhood’s sewage lift station is only built for 10 homes but Inman plans events with up to 750 people. “The burden on the sewer lift station would be tremendous,“ Bland added.
Charisse Curtis, Inman’s publicist, declined comment.
Harpootlian told the judge that Inman – who calls his mansion “The Manor on Lake Murray” – has been quoted saying he will flying guests into his property in a helicopter and also rent boats to ferry people across the lake.
But, said Harpootlian, if helicopters and boat taxis are going to be traversing the lake, Inman will likely have to get approval from the Federal Aviation ADministration and the U.S. Coast Guard.
“This is in close proximity to the (Columbia Metropolitan) airport,” Harpootlian said. “As far as we can tell, he (Inman) has never asked for any of the basic approvals … It’s as if he wanted to open up a McDonald’s on his property and didn’t think he needed to get permission from anybody.”
In December, before the dispute with his neighbors began, an enthusiastic Inman, 31, shared his excitement for the property with a State newspaper reporter.
“I solely wanted to bring back the vacation-style things that have been part of my life so far,” said Inman, who was born in Charleston and played football at Batesburg-Leesville High School. “It’s a blessing.”
Inman’s 5,370-square-foot home with terra cotta tile and 1,700-square-foot pool house (which will be a guest house) were built in 1985. The gated manor has five master suites, 8.5bathrooms, a cigar room, bar, great room, outdoor gazebo, two swimming pools, a private dock and more than 500 feet of waterfront.
After the hearing, Bland predicted there would be a large crowd at the March 16 hearing because “people all around the lake are concerned about this. There will be hundreds.”