West Deptford Committee OKs Court Petition on RiverWinds Loan Info
Redevelopment counsel Mark Cimino said he hasn't gotten any of the information he's requested from Fulton Bank, and the township committee gave him the go-ahead to use the courts to intervene.
A month after the original presentation with still no sign of documents from Fulton Bank on the construction loan for the RiverWinds golf course and tennis center, the West Deptford committee moved Thursday night to let the township’s redevelopment counsel push legal means to force the bank’s hand.
That would mean petitioning the court to compel Fulton Bank to release the information in an effort to track down the unaccounted-for $4.5 million from that loan, redevelopment counsel Mark Cimino said.
Despite overtures from bank officials that the records were in the process of being turned over, Cimino said he’s still at square one, with nothing in his hands on the construction loan.
“I’m not going to speculate as to the reason for the delay, but we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” he said.
The claim of missing money centers around a discrepancy between what was stated in the loan documents as the cost of the golf course and tennis center—about $5.4 million—and the total value of the loan, which came in at $9.945 million.
Given the township is on the hook for the full amount of the loan, because it guaranteed the money before RiverWinds redeveloper Namwest went bankrupt.
“Our goal here is to find out what exactly transpired,” Cimino said. “There could be any number of explanations.”
Cimino’s efforts have been met with criticism from Democrats, who have called it “a finger-pointing game” and worse. Former township administrator Gerald White went so far as to call it a baseless smear campaign.
“It’s a blatant lie,” he said in late June.
While the Democrats have slammed Cimino for not doing all the legwork ahead of his claim of missing money, Cimino said it’s also possible the information gleaned from loan documents may still not be able to tell the whole story.
“I can’t tell at this point whether it’s going to provide a sufficient answer or not,” Cimino said.
At that point, it’s possible he may have to go to the golf course developers, the Dobson brothers, to get more information—he indicated he hadn’t done so as yet—but Cimino said he’s taking a methodical approach to the process, first exhausting the information available at the municipal building and within the loan documents.