Vic's gets good news

Regulars flocked to "Taco Tuesday" at Vic's Restaurant and Lounge, concerned about the future of the Mexican/American eatery two days after a bank issued a foreclosure notice for the business.
Marie Havenga
Jul 11, 2012

A sign for the restaurant along M-104 reads: “Open for business as usual.”

Vic's owner Fred Sears said customers and staff have been very supportive of the business that has been in his family since the early 1970s.

Judy Oakes of Spring Lake dined on steak Tuesday night at Vic's — while her husband, Barney, munched on beef tacos.

“I was real upset when I read about the foreclosure (in the Tribune),” Judy Oakes said. “We're regulars here on Tuesday nights and Saturday nights.”

A Notice of Foreclosure was taped to the door of the restaurant, 14977 Cleveland St. (M-104) in Spring Lake Township, on Sunday morning. The document announced a loan default and a public auction for the property scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Ottawa County Courthouse.

Sears, his attorney and his tax preparer all insist that Sears is current on his mortgage payments.

The problem is that the mortgage with Chase Bank is in the name of Sears' late mother, Gwendolyn A. Victor. She died in December 2011, but Sears said he has continued to make the payments.

Sears' attorney, Paul Winter, said it is not uncommon for a mortgage contract to contain a clause that death constitutes default.

In an e-mail late Tuesday, Chase Bank media spokeswoman Emily Smith said the corporation could not disclose the reason for the foreclosure or the status of the loan.

“The firm has been working with the customer for many months and will continue to work toward an amicable solution," Smith wrote. "It's always the firm's intention to do what is best for the customer.”

Sears said after weeks of not hearing from the bank, he received a return call from his Chase loan representative Tuesday morning.

“She said she's more than willing to work with us,” Sears said. “I'm very happy about it. We're working toward restructuring the note. It sounds like they're willing to give us more time.”

Sears said the bank wants to see the business' 2011 tax return and year-end paperwork.

Vic's tax preparer, Bo Grant, said she filed an extension with the Internal Revenue Service and the business' 2011 taxes are due Sept. 15.

Sears also said he is under the impression the restaurant will not be on the auction block in August.

“That's what we're working toward,” he said. “We're very pleased to hear about the cooperation and looking forward to hearing about the adjournment of the court case. Hopefully, the worst of this is over. We're excited for the future.”

So are many of his customers.

Norma and Tom Sodini of Ferrysburg said they were saddened to hear of the foreclosure notice, but relieved to learn Tuesday that things are looking up.

“I kind of feel the banks are disappointing to a lot of people,” Tom Sodini said. “They're jumping the gun on things rather than working with people.”

Norma Sodini said she feared the restaurant would be forced to close when she first learned of the foreclosure notice.

“I'm glad to hear the bank is working with them,” she said. “They can't close, because then I would have to cook.”




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