After months of promising action against more than a dozen people who borrowed tax dollars from the city of Lawrenceburg, the city’s filed foreclosure action against two of the borrowers.
In a May 4 filing, the city has demanded repayment of $1,932,540.22 from two borrowers: Greg Davis and Steve Linkmeyer. The men, collectively, owe the money on two separate loans—loans that were supposed to have been paid off more than a year ago.
GREG DAVIS: DAVIS HOLDING COMPANY $1,900,016.18
(This Lawrenceburg Main Street Facebook photo identifies Greg Davis (left) posing with former Lawrenceburg Mayor Dennis Carr following the May 2015 grand opening of Davis' restaurant on High Street)
The city filed suit against Greg Davis’s company, Davis Holding Company, looking to collect a total of $1,817,440.45 on a balance owed on two loans he got from the city on two separate properties in 2007 and 2010.
The original balance was $1,900,016.18, the lawsuit shows.
One of the Davis loans was to renovate a building at the corner of High Street and Walnut Street, which is where River City Tap and Grill is located. The other loan went for a similar purpose for an address at 9 Short Street.
The loan is supposed to be fully paid off by April 1, 2017, but city payment records show there were no payments made between Nov. 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015 and again between Nov. 1, 2015 and Feb. 24, 2016 when Davis made a $3,000 payment on two of his outstanding loans.
The gap in repayment was cause for default, the city told FOX19 NOW.
In a Feb. 29 phone call to FOX19 NOW investigative reporter, Jody Barr, Davis objected to the city’s position, “I don’t dispute I’ve missed payments,” Davis said, but disputed whether his loan would be considered in default,” I’m not going to comment further,” Davis said over the phone.
Davis claimed he’d made “other payments that weren’t logged in,” Davis said in a Feb. 29 phone call. Davis said he had canceled checks to prove the city’s records are incorrect, but admitted he did not have receipts for the payments.
The city’s May 4 foreclosure filings shows the city holds a collateral interest in the properties and the city’s loan agreement shows the city could take the properties if the city wins the suit.
We made attempts to contact Greg Davis on his cell phone and by text message before publication. Davis has not yet returned our call or text message seeking comment on the foreclosure filing.
STEVE LINKMEYER: TOWER ROAD STORAGE BUILDINGS $250,000 LOAN
On Feb. 8, 2008, Steve Linkmeyer borrowed $250,000 to build a 136 unit storage buildings near his home on Tower Road. In February, we went to the site and found there were storage buildings standing at the property, but could not verify the number of units because the property has a no trespassing warning posted.
The balance at the time the city filed the suit was $115,159.77, the filing shows.
City loan records showed in February the last time Linkmeyer made a payment on the loan was June 2012, which the city said would have landed Linkmeyer in default. The city never filed foreclosure proceedings against Linkmeyer until the May 4 filing, which was four years after the loan went into default.
The filings shows the city holds a first mortgage on the Linkmeyer property, despite the fact that Linkmeyer transferred ownership to Betty Fette, LLC on May 5, 2014. The county’s online property sale database shows Linkmeyer sold the property for $0.
State corporation records show the LLC’s registered agent as Roger Curry with an address in Whiteland, Indiana.
The county seized the property on Sept. 17, 2015 at the Dearborn County tax sale for unpaid taxes, the court filing shows. The new owner is listed as “Halifax Financial Corporation.”
City records show the loan was supposed to have been fully repaid by Feb. 1, 2015.
“I don’t really have any comment. It is what it is,” Linkmeyer told FOX19 NOW in a phone call today. Linkmeyer said he knew nothing about the foreclosure filing and has not been served with it.
CITY HASN’T TACKLED THE $3 LINKMEYER LOAN During our trip to the Dearborn County courthouse, we did not find any filing from the city to foreclose on the $3 million Steve Linkmeyer taxpayer-backed loan. That loan was given to Linkmeyer on Nov. 30, 2009 to develop 21.5 city-owned property for a “future development,” a development known as the Tanner Creek Project.
The payment history provided to FOX19 NOW by the city clerk’s office shows no payments made between April 5, 2012 and May 2, 2015, when a $175,000 payment was made on May 1, 2015.
City records show no other payments made since May 1, 2015. The loan was supposed to be fully paid off by Oct. 1, 2015. The balance when we asked the city for it in February was: $3,062,947.21.
“I want to tell my story,” Steve Linkmeyer told FOX19’s Jody Barr on Feb. 25 while out shooting video of the Tanner Creek Project. Linkmeyer said he was “calling my partner who is in Indianapolis today,” and would interview with us that weekend.
The next day, Linkmeyer called from his attorney’s office, declining the interview.
Linkmeyer’s attorney, Matthew L. McDaniel, later sent us a statement: “The failures of the last City administration created this financial fiasco. The Linkmeyer Entities have since filed a lawsuit against the City seeking damages and judgment on the principal loan amount after the City breached its utility agreement necessary for developing the WaterView Apartments. At this time, the Linkmeyer Entities and its officers are advised to withhold further comment as they pursue all available legal remedies.”
On Dec. 10, 2015 Linkmeyer and his partner, Brian R. Bischoff, sued the city claiming the city failed to follow through with a written agreement that the city would “be responsible for all of the costs incurred to run or otherwise extend the utilities required for the WaterView Apartment Development,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit claims the city “breached the contract” detailed in a Nov. 13, 2009 letter from Mayor Bill Cunningham where Cunningham notified Linkmeyer that the Lawrenceburg Planning Commission voted to approve $295,000 in tax dollars to install utility lines to the WaterView Apartments.
The city never finished running the utility lines, Linkmeyer’s lawsuit claims.
We contacted Linkmeyer today to question him about the Tanner Creek Project loan. Linkmeyer called us back an hour after leaving a message on his cell phone today.
“The loan was a bad loan, well, the monthly payment was too high,” Linkmeyer explained in the call. “I definitely owe the city money,” Linkmeyer said in the call, “I want to make this right.”
Linkmeyer said he made the city an offer to settle the $3 million loan sometime between February and March, but that the city never responded to the offer. Linkmeyer would not disclose the details of the offer.
We asked Lawrenceburg City Attorney Del Weldon for an explanation as to why the city did not file a foreclosure action against Linkmeyer on the $3 million loan. Weldon send FOX19 NOW this statement:
"All of the matters you reference are in litigation, and as such I am not able to comment. I can tell you that the $3m Linkmeyer loan is currently being litigated, and we are aggressively and diligently fighting to return every penny of the citizens’ money to the City."