LIVINGSTON – Property occupied by John Schneider Studios in Holden sold for $385,000 today at auction, two months after seizure from the Livingston Sheriff’s Office.
Paul Ferachi, owner of Capital City Produce, offered the high bid at the auction in the jury holding room at the Livingston Parish Courthouse.
“I figured there was a good story behind the property, I saw the story on the news about it, and figured it was be a nice property to have,” Ferachi said. “It was right there on the river, and after talking with John, hopefully we’re going to be able to work out something on the property in which he still has access to the property as well as myself.
"At the end of the day, it may be a win-win for the both of us," he said.
Bidding started at $262,000 and ballooned to the final price after 26 bids. Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office seized the property after Schneider defaulted on a $242,000 mortgage from First Guaranty Bank of Hammond.
Ferachi said he has never been to the property, which was once occupied by Camp Singing Waters, along the Tickfaw River.
“We’re going to go look at it for the first time today,” Schneider said. “Before today, he had only seen it on the news.”
Ferachi said he had not purchased the property because of the film studio, but neither him or Schneider ruled out the possibility of keeping it in operation on the 52-acre lot.
“I guess if me and John can come to some kind of agreement, and that’s what he wants to continue, we can talk about it,” Ferachi said.
Schneider entered the room about 15 minutes before the hearing and visited with attendees at the auction. He said prior to the bidding he had no intentions of leaving the film industry.
“You can’t let go of a dream – the dream has to let go of you,” said Schneider, who played “Bo Duke” on the CBS hit TV series “The Dukes of Hazard” (1979-85).
Schneider sat alongside the crowd during the bidding, showing a mix of anxiety and sadness.
He expressed his relief at the outcome when he and Ferachi walked out the Livingston Parish Courthouse.
“I can’t help but feel a bit like a failure because I’m 58 years old and I just basically lost something I’ve been dreaming about since I was eight,” he said. “However, I do believe there are good people and I believe I came to Louisiana for a good reason, and it’s because of the people of Louisiana.”
Schneider and Ferachi talked immediately after the sale about options to stay on the property.
“I’m delighted … this could’ve gone horribly wrong because he could have told me, 'I bought it – now get out',” Schneider said. “That’s not what happened, because he said, “I bought it … let’s talk.
“Your son likes to hunt, and I like to make movies, I don’t want to stop, and I don’t what to stop doing it here,” he told Ferachi. “I think we’re the only studio making movies out here – everybody is in New Orleans, so now it’s Baton Rouge’s turn.”
Lawson Appraisals of Prairieville appraised the 52.778-acres of property at $225,000. It also included 5.78 additional acres and 50 feet of servitude on the southern border.
Debts also included a federal tax lien of $159,882 and a parish property tax bill of $10,332.40.