- Police Beat
- The Forecaster
PORTLAND — A Feb. 15 bankruptcy filing by the owner of the Williston-West Condominiums is being challenged by a creditor.
Operating as 32 Thomas Street LLC, Frank Monsour filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine about an hour before the condos were scheduled to go on the auction block in foreclosure proceedings.
Soon after, Coastal Realty Capital LLC filed a motion to have the bankruptcy petition dismissed, saying it was filed only to avert the auction that could have maximized the sale price.
“The response to the auction by potential buyers has been extraordinary,” Coastal said in its motion, filed by attorney Jeremy R. Fischer of Drummond Woodsum.
Both parties are seeking expedited hearings, with Monsour requesting Friday, Feb. 22.
Williston-West Condominiums are in the former Williston West Church at the corner of Thomas and Carroll streets. The church was built in 1877, the parish hall about 30 years later. Both are on the National Register of Historic Places.
While the initial auction notice at the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds noted the sale proceeds would satisfy a $1.4 million debt to Camden National Bank, court records indicate Monsour is in debt for double that amount.
The $1.4 million debt stems from a 2017 promissory note that Camden later assigned to Marc Powers, Vandelay Enterprises LLC, DiMillo’s Old Port Marina and Coastal Capital.
In 2015, Monsour also took out a $1.4 million promissory note with Coastal Capital, although the principal debt was reduced to $1 million two years later.
In both instances, the notes came due last September, with the debt from the 2017 note at $1.7 million, and the 2015 note at $1.3 million.
The initial filing by Monsour lists assets and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. A list of the 20 largest unsecured creditors “who are not insiders” totals $11,000 of debt. Of that, $1,500 is owed to various municipal departments.
But the list does not include $13,400 owed for property taxes due Sept. 21, 2018. An additional $13,000 is due March 8, according to city records.
A supporting affidavit from Monsour’s associate, Fred Lamontagne, said Monsour has $500 in his business accounts.
Lamontagne also said Monsour had an unnamed buyer for the properties, who decided to wait and see if a better deal could be had at auction. The buildings were listed as “under contract” on a Sullivan Real Estate Group sign outside.
Monsour bought the church and parish hall in 2011 for $658,000, according to city tax records. The sale came after the congregation merged with the Immanuel United Church at 156 High St.
On June 18, 2012, city councilors approved conditional zoning for the property, allowing Monsour the chance to use the parish house for his software business.
The decision was challenged in Cumberland County Superior Court in December 2013 by a dozen West End residents. The court overturned the zoning decision, but the zoning was upheld in October 2014 by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court after the city appealed the Superior Court decision.
The sanctuary was converted to five condominium units that were granted a certificate of occupancy in December 2017, but have never been occupied. The mix of two- and three-bedroom units were priced from $620,000 to $1.15 million.
In his filing, Lamontagne said a water pipe burst in the buildings last year. Although the damage was repaired through an insurance claim, the delay proved costly, since it prevented the condos from being marketed.
The Feb. 15 auction for the Williston-West Condominiums, 32 Thomas St., was postponed after owner Frank Monsour filed bankruptcy.