With still nothing in hand after six weeks of waiting on documents regarding the nearly $10 million loan that went to building the golf course and tennis center, West Deptford officials have taken the next step and pushed the matter into the courts.
Redevelopment counsel Mark Cimino filed a petition Friday to put further pressure on Fulton Bank to release the loan documents, which could clear up the mystery surrounding what Cimino says is about , given the projected costs for the golf course and tennis center.
“Like I‘ve said before, there may be a reason for what happened,” Cimino said. “The issue here is that they need to produce the documents that back up the loan.”
It’s a move Mayor Ray Chintall said they hoped not to have to take, but with weeks of notice and no action, there was little choice but to involve the courts.
“I don’t understand what the delay is,” he said. “We had to go to the next step.”
The lack of response thus far has raised at least some suspicion in Chintall’s mind, but both he and Cimino stayed away from guessing at what the cause for the delay—or the reason for the unaccounted-for money—might be.
“Speculation and rumors are not healthy,” Chintall said.
But the fact remains the township only has documents to substantiate the first set of payments out from the bank on the $9.945 million loan, Cimino said.
“The township doesn’t have a clear idea of what he money went towards,” he said. “If someone sends you a bill in the mail, you don’t automatically pay it.”
While the money didn’t go through the township’s hands, the loan was backed by West Deptford and was used essentially for a public purpose, making it that much more important the township have documentation to follow the money, Chintall said.
“We’re responsible for the public money that’s out there,” he said. “We just want a full accounting.”
Ideally, the township should’ve taken steps to get copies of the loan documents along the way, Chintall said, rather than having to knock down Fulton Bank’s door to get them.
“We should have them in our hands anyway,” he said. “They should’ve been in the township somewhere.”
There’s no exact timeline on when Fulton Bank will have to produce the loan documents, though Cimino said the court filing should speed the process.
“I did get a call from their attorney today,” he said.
Representatives from Fulton Bank weren’t immediately available for comment.