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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 , 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 , 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.

WDNeedsHelp July 18, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Has anything been released as of today Bryan? The longer this goes on the more I suspect that there was something done that shouldn't have been. Have you spoken to anyone at Fulton Bank about this? Their legal staff? The WD Tax bills were just mailed and folks are rather upset over the increase in their taxes and the lack of transparency this financial institution is showing them. If this keeps up it will not end well.....
Bryan Littel July 18, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Nope, I'm going through Cimino on this, since he has leverage - but it's been, what, three business days since the township committee gave him the go-ahead to press via the courts. It's not entirely accurate to connect the loan and tax increases, too, since those are a result of budgets at the school, township and county level - plus the Sunoco/El Paso settlement. Debt service is a slice of that, but there's obviously more than just the RiverWinds golf course/tennis center loan in there.
WDNeedsHelp July 18, 2012 at 05:19 PM
People aren't stupid, they see their tax bills increase and 4.5 Million missing. They have seen the articles about the past Democratic administrations Cadillac pensions and health care packages. They see the nepotism that goes on in West Deptford and the County. They watched a 10 million dollar golf course go to Jaws for a measly 2 million. They watched over 20 years of tax appeals fester under the old administrations while millions were wasted on legal fees. They want answers. Where is the money?
Bryan Littel July 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM
They'll also see big spikes in health insurance premiums, the legal defense fund and debt service, plus a huge drop in ratables: http://westdeptford.patch.com/articles/tax-hit-from-west-deptford-budget-cut-by-more-than-40-percent You have to look at the entire picture.
Christopher September 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Lets just wait and see what happens. We have a great town with great people. Lets not ruin anyone's name before we know the whole story. It's a small town and we will find out the truth soon. That is the advantage of living in a small town. News travels fast!

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