Foreclosure confusion

There were more than daily specials posted Sunday morning at Vic's Restaurant and Lounge.
Marie Havenga
Jul 10, 2012

 

A Notice of Foreclosure was taped to the door of the American/Mexican eatery at 14977 Cleveland Ave., east of Spring Lake.

The restaurant's owner, Fred Sears, said he is up to date on his mortgage payments. He said there was a glitch after his mother, Gwen Victor, whose name is on the mortgage, died late last year.

“We had a note with the bank and my mother was the guarantor,” Sears said. “I never realized that her dying was going to create such a havoc. Neither did she.”

The foreclosure notice from JP Morgan Chase Bank states that there will be a public auction for the property at 10 a.m. Aug. 9 at the Ottawa County Courthouse.

Chase Bank representatives on Monday were unable to confirm the reason for the notice. Emily Smith, the bank's media spokeswoman, said Monday night “our team is working to get details.” Those details were not available as of press time.

According to the document, $249,490 is due on the mortgage made by Gwendolyn A. Victor as trustee on behalf of her husband's trust (Ernest J. Victor) in 2003. Gwen became sole owner of the restaurant when Ernest died in 2003.

Sears said he filed all the necessary death certificates with Chase Bank shortly after his mom passed away. He said the bank requested the business' 2009-11 tax returns to “rewrite the loan."

Sears said his accountants always file an extension for the business tax return. The 2011 taxes are not yet completed and aren't due until Sept. 15. According to Sears, the bank is demanding them.

“They know my people are working on it and doing everything they can do,” Sears said. “Some dude with a clipboard came up with a big wad of tape and slapped it on there about 7:30 a.m. I didn't know anything about it. I thought it was a joke until I got to reading it.”

Sears' attorney, Paul Winter, said he believes his client is current on the business' loan. Winter said it's possible there was a provision in the mortgage that says that death constitutes default. Because the note was in her name, Gwen's passing may have triggered that clause.

“It's not an uncommon provision,” Winter explained. “He's been paying on that note right along. I know Fred was working with the bank on refinancing the note. I had not heard from the bank that they were going to take it to this next step. I'm sort of surprised. We'll see if we can't work something out.”

Bo Grant of Cascade Business Services prepares the tax returns for Vic's Restaurant and Lounge. She, too, said she's shocked by the foreclosure notice.

“When his mother passed away, they called the note,” Grant said. “He provided all the information they wanted — financial statements and tax returns. The 2011 corporate returns are on extension and aren't due until Sept. 15. The reason those taxes aren't done yet is because his mother passed away. It's hard to get on top of things.”

Grant said she and Sears thought things were progressing with the bank in a positive manner, until the notice appeared on the door. At this point, she sees three options for Sears: continue to work with Chase Bank for loan approval, obtain financing elsewhere or sell the business.

“We got no notification that his credit application was denied,” Grant said. “I don't think they followed the correct procedure. I think it's very inflexible and inappropriate for the bank to put this in the public forum without notifying him. We haven't heard anything from the bank to indicate it was headed this way."

Sears said he is the trustee to his mother's estate, but he is not on the deed to the restaurant property.

Sears said two to three weeks ago, a Chase Bank representative showed up at the restaurant to do an “environmental assessment.” Suspicious, Sears called his attorney and was told that is a necessary step in rewriting a loan.

Sears said only a few customers saw the note on the door on Sunday before one of his employees took it down. He vows to fight what he considers an improper procedure and keep the restaurant open for business as usual.

“I'm embarrassed by this, but we live in a great community," Sears said. "I'm going to keep making my payments. I'm going to work with my attorney and Chase Bank so we can hopefully get this thing resolved."

 

Comments

DKS523

We can't lose Vic's! I am sure a lot of people (myself included) would be happy to step up and help them out. The banks have forgotten about people. They only worry about numbers now.

searsm

Thank you for the words of support…..
Fred & The Vic’s Staff

pike84

Chase bank is an aweful bank to work with, I dropped them years ago. Whats funny is that the bank cannot even figure out whats going on, shame on them! They will never issue an apology either.

Webb69

Great place to eat best food and drink specials in the county wonderful owners and friendly waitstaff best all around restaurant

opinionscount

Does the owner of Vics really want all these details put out there for all to read?
Seems a bit invasive to me. However, I hope all works out for this business.
Seems people must really like to read about other folks trials and hard times. Sad, isn't it?

ohwell

I assume he does, since he standing there in the picture with notice in hand (I assume that his him in the picture). Don't think he would agree to it, knowing everyone would read it.

searsm

COMMENT FROM FRED SEARS, OWNER, VIC’S RESTAURANT: The thought never crossed our, or Marie’s, minds until we saw comments that people might think that Vic’s called the Tribune on this story. After speaking with Marie, it was suggested that we post a comment to let people know that it was actually a customer who saw the notice being posted called the Tribune who in turn contacted Vic’s to find out what was going on. At that point there was no choice but to make it public knowledge. The owners of Vic’s are very embarrassed by this situation and are very thankful for the support and words of encouragement that we have received from our community as we continue to work on resolving the situation with Chase. We are still open for business as usual.

opinionscount

We wish you all the best. Looks like todays headlines indicate that all has been resolved! :)

MeanSmith

They have some of the best bankers in the US working in our local Chase branch..................

searsm

Since there have already been several calls to the restaurant today, YES we (Vic’s) are still open for business as usual and today is Taco Tuesday :o) We would like to thank our wonderful community for their concern and words of encouragement.

Jinxed329

Wish it were true, that place is a wreck.

DKS523

In the past, I have gone to Vics and felt the food and the service was not up to par. We hadn't gone for a long time. We decided to give it another chance a few months ago, and we were pleasantly surprised. The food is delicious and the service was great! We have been there several times since then, and it was always the same... great food.. great service.

ohreally

I had the privledge of working for Fred and Rog for many years and I am 110% positive that he has been doing exactly what he should be doing in regards to paying on the restaurant. The guys always took good care of me and as a former employee, it makes me mad to see the way Chase bank is giving it to them. I heard it best just the other day regarding big banks... instead of them being too big to fail, now they are too stupid to survive. They can't even figure out what is going on! I hope for nothing but the best possible outcome for Vic's.

tbone63

At Pike...most often times it isn't the bank but the government regulators who pressure the banks to "write off" these loans where even the smallest issues exist as in this case rather than working with a successful hardworking business owner who is making timely payments. This is the fallout out from the bank bailouts and I see it EVERY DAY!!! It would amaze you how many of the business owners in this community are under the same pressure and many have not survived it; I tip my hat to every business owner out there who has survived this this economy. If you don't like what is going on out there then vote this jackwagon of a president we have out of office!!
We need someone in office that understands business and that this over reaction to under regulation is hurting not helping American business owners.

noncuratlex

Oh yeah, this is definitely Obama's fault. And the gubmint regulators. And the liberal media elite. Definitely not a mistake. You are on to something here.

Lenus

First my heart goes out to Vics, it is challenging running a small business, but I believe the law provides for a series of steps to occur(which normally takes a period of several months) before a notice is placed on the door. So you should not have been totally surprised it was going to happen.. Sometimes when you play/stretch the rules you get slapped and it appears that this time you got slapped - been there done that..You still have time to put a deal together with the banks but the costs will probably increase for you now...


"This is the fallout out from the bank bailouts and I see it EVERY DAY!!!

Really can you tell us how that might be?

"It would amaze you how many of the business owners in this community are under the same pressure and many have not survived it;"

This is an interesting statement and maybe you could back that up with some facts, maybe a survey of business owners... The majority of small business owners by the way are under tremendous financial pressures, most of the time.

"I tip my hat to every business owner out there who has survived this this economy."

"If you don't like what is going on out there then vote this jackwagon of a president we have out of office!! We need someone in office that understands business and that this over reaction to under regulation is hurting not helping American business owners."

Ah we finally get to the crux of your little note

- A republican troll trying to throw mud any chance he gets.. Remember this economic mess was handed down from your dear friend and neither have anything to do with Vic's problems...

Restaurants fail all the time - those with great locations, great food, great service, and a unique product might do well, but the American consumer is a picky eater and tastes change constantly. Restaurants must change food and decor all the time to draw customers in, very few restaurants survive long term with the same old, same old....

Restaurants have a 60% failure rate according to a study done by H.G. Parsa Associate Professor in Ohio State University's Hospitality Management program.

I wish Vic's all the best, I have eaten there several times and enjoyed it....

tbone63

AND HOW DO YOU SPELL ASSUME!!!
WRONG ASSUMPTION NUMBER ONE - THAT I AM A MAN!!

WRONG ASSUMPTION NUMBER TWO - THAT I AM A REPUBLICAN TROLL; I AM NEITHER, WHAT I AM IS A VERY CONCERNED INDEPENDENT AMERICAN VOTER WHO BY THE WAY IS VERY EMBARRASSED TO HAVE VOTED FOR THIS AMATEUR OF A PRESIDENT!!

I WILL RESTATE MY ORIGINAL COMMENT - WE NEED A PRESIDENT THAT IS PRO BUSINESS!! THIS ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE; IF YOU WANT THE ECONOMY TO THRIVE YOU NEED MORE PRODUCERS THAN TAKERS AND IF YOU DON'T WAKE UP MAYBE YOUR NEXT MEAL WILL BE PAID FOR WITH FOOD STAMPS.

AS FOR "BACKING UP MY STATEMENTS" - I WORK IN AN INDUSTRY VERY CLOSELY LINKED TO BANKS, COURTS AND ATTORNEYS FOR BOTH BORROWERS AND LENDERS, IN SHORT; WHEN THE PARTIES CAN'T COME TO AN AMICABLE SOLUTION THE COMPANY I WORK FOR GOES IN (USUALLY UNDER COURT ORDER) TO TAKE OVER AND RESELL THE BUSINESS OR LIQUIDATE IT!

I FIND IT UNFORTUNATE THAT MY VIEW AND OPINION HAS BEEN TAKEN PERSONALLY BY YOU BUT MUST CONFESS THAT I REALLY DON'T CARE; I CAN FIX A LOT OF THINGS BUT I CAN'T FIX STUPID!! BY THE WAY; YOUR ASSUMPTIONS SAY SO MUCH ABOUT YOU!!

 

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