EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

December 5, 2012

Condo group to sue city over loan

Officials said promotional materials were erroneous

(Continued)

Feliu said he had hoped to enlist the council’s support in urging the mayor to fulfill the original terms of the loan. But prior to discussing the issue, Council President Robert Scatamacchia said City Solicitor William Cox advised that council not discuss the dispute in public.

“I have concerns that the subject matter involved could result in claims against the city,” reads Cox’s legal advisory, in part.

Cox’s letter goes to say, “city officials remain willing to continue to discuss a possible resolution of these claims with the Wingate Street Condo Trust.”

Feliu, who attended the meeting with three other condo trustees, said he learned the council would not be discussing the issue five minutes before the meeting.

“If the city is going to say those document on the program that have the city’s seal on them are not legitimate, then I guess that means residents and businesses can’t trust anything they get from the city,” Feliu said.

Feliu said his association applied for the facade program last spring and was accepted, and that the association took out a commercial loan to secure funds beyond the $25,000 limit of the city-sponsored program.

There were several delays in securing the $25,000 and the association eventually had to authorize its masonry contractor to begin work before the association received any money from the facade program, Feliu said.

“This pushed our finances to the limit — a risk we thought was acceptable considering we expected the money to be forthcoming,” Feliu said in a letter to City Council on the dispute. “June and July passed without action from the city. In August ... we learned the city had no intention of fulfilling its promise of a depreciating loan.”

“In mid September, after seven months of applications, telephone calls and e-mails, a contract was given to us. Ten years, one percent (interest), no depreciation — take it or leave it,” Feliu wrote. “The trustees, representing the interest of all unit owners, do not understand what happened. This is not how local government should work.”

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