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Resort developers behind on taxes again

Developer’s home foreclosed upon

February 16, 2013
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer (jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - The group developing the Adirondack Club and Resort project at the Big Tupper Ski Area is behind on tax payments again, and one of the developers' Tupper Lake home is being foreclosed upon.

Three properties owned by the development group Preserve Associates or its subsidiary limited liability company Big Tupper LLC owe a total of $77,660.60 in taxes from 2011 and 2012. Some of the properties had 2011 taxes paid, but none were paid in 2012.

The group had problems with paying taxes on the properties in the past as well. In summer 2009, unpaid taxes on four of its parcels totaled $149,553. Preserve Associates was put on a payment plan with the county, though, and the entire sum of back taxes from 2007-09 on the non-marina parcels was paid on June 17, 2011.

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Home foreclosure

In addition to the resort-related properties, Lawson and his wife Susan have their Lake Simond Road home wrapped up in foreclosure proceedings.

Fact Box

The Adirondack Club and Resort, proposed by a Pennsylvania-based investment group called Preserve Associates, would overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area in Tupper Lake and build out the land around it with about 700 luxury housing units and various amenities including a spa, a marina and an equestrian center. The project received permits from the state Adirondack Park Agency on Jan. 20, 2012, after eight years of negotiating, reworking the application and an extensive adjudicatory hearing.

In March 2012, two environmental groups and three nearby landowners filed a lawsuit to challenge the APA's decision. That suit is working its way through state courts.

In addition to that, the project must also obtain a number of other approvals, including from the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Health, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local town-village planning board.

CNB Realty Trust is suing the Lawsons for a June 2002 mortgage and a January 2004 mortgage. The first was for $600,000 and the second for $155,360.08, according to lawsuit paperwork filed Jan. 7. The two mortgages had been consolidated, extended and modified based on a January 2004 agreement to secure a single lien in the sum of $720,000.

The Lawsons missed a payment on that mortgage on June 1, 2012, and haven't made a payment since, according to papers filed in the Franklin County Clerk's Office.

The trust is now calling the entire remainder of the mortgage, totaling $616,804.57.

The CNB Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust organized in Maryland, with an office in Canajoharie.

NBT Bank is also suing the Lawsons. According to the complaint in that case, they took out a $123,000 interest-only home-equity loan from the Saranac Lake branch of NBT Bank in 2005. Interest-only loans allow the borrower to pay only interest on the loan for the first few years.

They didn't pay on the loan starting May 22, 2012, and every month since then.

Now that the loan is in default, NBT is requiring that the Lawsons pay the loan in full. As of Nov. 29, 2012, that adds up to $125,886.62: $122,997 in principal and $2,889.62 in interest.

Since then, interest has accrued at the rate of $11.79 a day.

In signing for the loan, the Lawsons also agreed to pay reasonable attorney and court costs incurred by NBT in any action to collect on the loan.

The suit was filed Jan. 4 by Peter Burgess, a Clifton Park attorney.

The Lawsons also owe $37,199.23 in 2011 and 2012 taxes on their Lake Simond Road home, plus $7,037.03 on 2012 taxes for the Main Street building they bought and donated in 2008 to be a pet shelter, which has since closed.

The Lawsons were discharged in December 2012 from two federal tax liens they owed, totaling $507,813.55.

Tom Lawson declined to talk about his personal properties.

"That's my privacy," he said. "It's my own thing. ... It's going to be taken care of."

When Caffry tried to bring up Lawson's personal finances during the adjudicatory hearing, some questioned it. The Tupper Lake Free Press called it a personal and vicious attack to be ashamed of, while Caffry argued that it's a reasonable thing to take into consideration, since it could have an impact on whether people or institutions were willing to invest in the ACR and make it come to fruition.

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Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

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This story has been corrected from its original version.

 
 

 

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