The maturity date of a loan for Tich Hospitality and Calhoun’s Oglethorpe Inn has been extended, according to Calhoun City Attorney Bill Bailey.
The final settlement of an Aug. 11 summary hearing concerning the loan, originally issued by Bartow County Bank (now Hamilton State Bank) to Tich Hospitality was private. However, Bailey stated in an Aug. 12 letter that the balance due on the note was reduced to $1,185,000. He also said the maturation date of the loan was extended to Feb. 7, 2015.
Tich Hospitality, LLC, was once owned by U.S. Congressman Tom Graves and state Sen. Majority leader Chip Rogers.
Bartow County Bank first filed a complaint in Gordon County Superior Court on Jan. 7, 2010, alleging that Graves and Rogers defaulted on a $2.3 million loan made to Tich Hospitality. Graves and Rogers then filed a counterclaim in March 2010 claiming the bank broke its promise in not allowing Tich Hospitality to refinance the loan, according to court records reviewed by the Calhoun Times in May 2010.
Graves’ involvement with the embattled Oglethorpe seems to be winding to an end, however. The loan modification agreement finalized this month was signed by John Edens, who bought Tich Hospitality from Graves and Rogers, Bailey noted.
Bailey also said Graves is not liable for $30,910 in past due city taxes from 2009 and 2010.
“TICH Hospitality, LLC is a limited liability company,” Bailey states. “John T. Graves, Jr., as a member or former member of the LLC, is not personally liable for any past due ad valorem taxes due to the City of Calhoun for the years 2009 and 2010.”
At this point, Bailey stated, “there are no public records indicating John T. Graves, Jr., is still a member of TICH Hospitality, LLC.”
However, since Edens is now a member of the LLC, he is not liable for past due taxes, either, Bailey said in an interview.
Bailey quoted Secion 14-11-303 of the Official Code of Georgia, which states:
“A person who is a member, manager … of a limited liability company is not liable, solely by reason of being a member, manager … of the limited liability company under a judgment, decree or order of a court, or in any other manner, for a debt, obligation or liability of the limited liability company, whether arising in contract, tort or otherwise.”
Bailey explained that if the city can secure payment of the past due taxes, it will most likely be through a tax sale, which he described as similar in procedure to a foreclosure sale.
The city has a tax lien on the Oglethorpe Inn property that Bailey said in his letter is “superior to any Dead to Secure Debt held by any bank, including Hamilton State Bank.”
In the meantime, the abandoned motel has become an eyesore and a possible hazard for the city.
During a recent work session, city council members briefly discussed installing a fence around the property and eventually demolishing the inn.
According to Bailey’s letter, fence installation or structure demolition can take place only after a hearing in municipal court resulting in a court order “declaring the property a nuisance and ordering the abatement of nuisance.”
The decision to enter into this process falls to the mayor and city council, he said.