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Developer facing legal action everywhere it has built condos

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In a photo on the Page Development website, the four company principals stand arm-in-arm, tanned and smiling.

Paul, Tony and Peter Page and Paul Pittman from 2004 to 2007 could barely keep up with demand for $1-million-plus condos along Florida’s Gulf Coast. They also were working on downtown Indianapolis’ Villagio at Page Pointe, a project that would attract the likes of Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

On June 8, 2010, Tony and Peter Page and Paul Pittman slumped in auditorium chairs on the third floor of the City-County Building, waiting their turn as people around them stood up, one at a time, walked a few steps and raised their right hand.

That’s when an attorney for a creditor—in most cases a credit-card issuer trying to recover a couple of thousand bucks—began quizzing: Are you working? How much do you make an hour? Do you have bank accounts that could be tapped to pay us back?

The room was mostly empty by the time the Page principals stood to face the magistrate.

PageLocally based First Internet Bancorp had won a $1.35 million judgment in March against the four principals and an entity called Page V LLC over a defaulted loan secured by a 100-foot-by-500-foot piece of sand in Englewood, Fla.

The bank first sought to put a freeze on the principals’ assets at local banks but found only a handful, all with low balances, including a Paul Pittman account at Regions with $41.02, a Peter Page account at Huntington with $233.84, and a Tony Page account at Chase with a balance of $0.01.

In April, the bank won an order to compel the principals to appear in person to reveal any other assets that could be used to satisfy the debt. All but Paul Page, who also is a local criminal defense attorney, attended the hearing.

The lawsuit—one of several in Indiana and Florida involving Page Development condo projects, principals, condo associations and lenders—is a turnabout for a group that a few years ago could sell out condo buildings on Englewood’s Manasota Key with little more than a glossy pamphlet promising “a true tropical paradise.”

Trouble in paradise

Page Development sold out the 14-unit Barefoot Beach in Englewood in 2005, unloaded the last of six units at Gulf Breeze in 2007. All but a few of the 12 units in nearby project The Palms and 19 in Boulder Pointe were spoken for as well, at least until the housing market began to turn and buyers forfeited deposits and walked away, said CEO Peter Page, 70, who has been building condo projects in Florida since 1969.

A fifth Englewood project, planned for an undeveloped parcel at 2520 N. Beach Road, was supposed to be called Venetian Sands. The waterfront land served as collateral for a 2005 loan from Indianapolis-based Landmark Savings Bank, which merged with First Internet in 2006. In 2007, the bank agreed to raise the principal balance from $995,000 to $1.35 million.

David Lipstein, a Florida real estate agent who marketed the Venetian Sands condos for Page, said the company landed pre-sale commitments for all 10 units, but Charlotte County stepped in with new density rules allowing only six condos on the site. With fewer units, the deal no longer made sense.

The developers, furious over the intervention, filed suit and still are trying to squeeze a settlement of a “couple million” dollars out of the county, Peter said.

Peter contends the land is worth $3 million, well above the First Internet loan balance, but his company can’t find a buyer willing to pay a fair price.

“It’ll all be worked out shortly,” he vowed. “They just have attorneys who need to keep busy.”

The attorney representing the bank, David J. Jurkiewicz of Bose McKinney & Evans, did not return a phone message.

Legal mess

The unpaid loan to First Internet is only the most local of the company’s legal troubles.

In Florida, banks including J.P. Morgan Chase and Wachovia are foreclosing on units the Pages own in each of their condo buildings in Englewood.

Page VI LLC, an entity connected to Page Development, is facing a foreclosure suit over a failed 100-unit condo project called Della Rosa in North Naples, Fla. Page VI appears to be in default on a $4.6 million note from Huntington Bank that had been scheduled to mature in late 2009.

Page Development also owes Fifth Third Bank more than $3.5 million for loans on a couple of projects, a debt the bank agreed to forebear until May 2009.

Lenders on individual projects are taking different approaches to recovering loan balances. A lender on Villagio at Page Pointe agreed to reduce a loan balance to allow price cuts on unsold condos, Peter said. Meantime, a lender on a Florida property has been reluctant to accept what it sees as low-ball offers for unsold units.

Lipstein, the Florida broker, said the Pages have tried to maintain prices to protect early buyers while “other developers had a knee-jerk reaction to just dump everything.”

But many buyers of Page condos aren’t happy, either, and not just because they are so far under water.

The company has failed to pay its share of condominium association dues for the unsold Boulder Pointe units or the ones owned by Page friends and family members, said Ronald Jensen, who paid more than $1 million in 2007 for his 3,000-square-foot condo and has joined with three other residents in a lawsuit against the Pages.

Jensen has another complaint that will sound familiar to residents of Broad Ripple’s Spirit Lake condo community, also a Page development.

“I have a dispute about crap construction—windows leak, tile in bathrooms is mismatched, junky air-conditioning units,” said Jensen, who is less than hopeful about a satisfactory resolution. “We’re just one of a bunch of people waiting around trying to get a piece off a carcass—that’s probably what they are at this point.”

What’s left

Peter, who has seen booms and busts but never one as bad as this, said he’s not giving up hope for a housing recovery.

Page Development has sold four Villagio condos in the last two months and leased another, leaving 15 remaining in the 64-unit building. The company was able to sell land for a proposed development in Broad Ripple along the Monon Trail that never materialized.

The real problem is the banks, Peter said. They aren’t lending to buyers, and they’re squeezing developers by trying to sell properties at fire-sale prices.

“They’re stealing properties; it’s unbelievable,” he said.

At that Tuesday morning hearing, Peter, his son Tony, and his nephew Paul Pittman gathered around Magistrate Caryl Forsythe Dill.

Attorneys for the Pages and First Internet had huddled in the hallway beforehand, so there was no cross-examination under oath for the Page principals. Their attorney, David R. Krebs of Hostetler & Kowalik PC, simply explained they were trying to work things out with the bank but also pulling together paperwork for a possible bankruptcy filing.

It wasn’t just a negotiating tactic, Peter said a few days later.

“There’s always that possibility that one or two of us might just file and start over,” he said.•

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  • Flyboy

    I know the Page family to be very kind. The housing market is what it is and has adversely impacted all of us.

    Pete died today...now are you happy?

    You should be ashamed! The Pages had a vision and tried to bring many of you into that, but it failed thanks to the ECONOMY, not because they profited off any of you! God Bless you Pete and my prayers are with all in the Page family! Jim
    • Wait a minute SusieQT
      I believe the article states that Bose is representing the Bank, not the Pages. You should get your facts straight first.
    • Did you get a home inspection before you bought
      sounds to me like a lot of this crap could have been avoided if you would have gotten a simple home inspection...
    • Question
      Can you comment on the alleged partnership between Page, Brizzi, Durham, Newman et al in Florida and whether or not this is true, and if it is true what the name of the partnership is that alleged resulted in a massive default to Huntington?

      Also I noticed no answer to the question below. According to one database I have seen it looks to me like Tim Durham did lend Bose money--and we all know his money came from stealing from Fair Finance victims. That presents a great question-how can Bose defend Page if Page is in a parternership with Durham or any person who has received funds from Durham.

      Does any lawyer tell the truth?
      • You're upsetting your neighbors
        Spirit Lake has lots going for it: strong HOA, good neighbors, convenient location, gorgeous gardens, great floor plans, wonderful swimming pool. The buildings are good-looking. Why don't you concentrate on making it better, not tearing it down publicly? No one wants assessments, but for those who have lived here a while, they've only averaged about $1500 a year, and none in 2010.
      • You're upsetting your neighbors
        Spirit Lake has lots going for it: strong HOA, good neighbors, convenient location, gorgeous gardens, great floor plans, wonderful swimming pool. The buildings are good-looking. Why don't you concentrate on making it better, not tearing it down publicly? No one wants assessments, but for those who have lived here a while, they've only averaged about $1500 a year, and none in 2010.
      • Trustee report not good for gang
        http://www.kccllc.net/documents/1050494/1050494100614000000000004.pdf
      • Hard Labor at Spirit Lake
        The victims are the people who bought into Page properties. Thanks to Cory Schouten for exposing the Pages and what they have done to people. The Page's troubles are self-inflicted due to their use of fly-by-night contractors - most of whom are out of business. Ever heard of Dan - the tile man? Huge assessments have been levied on residents to repair and rebuild these new buildings. Our HOA has replaced all 8 roofs of the buildings and recaulked all windows due to water flooding the units. Raw sewage was in between the walls on some buildings, snow has blown under the doors to buildings, EFIS exterior is being replaced, terraces have water ingress issues - not sealed, cheap air conditioners and intercoms.........etc. etc. etc. These goons have inflicted financial and emotional hardship on people who bought this property, which has affectedreal estate values more than other properties hit by the real estate bubble. Could the IRS and the FBI lock them all up for the good of the community? They could do hard time at Spirit Lake and perform the labor to rebuild these condos. Paul Page has the audacity to live within a walled residence among residents on this very property. The IN Supreme Court Disciplinary is to blame for all the unchecked attorney misconduct and lack of integrity; the bar is so high a giraffe could run under it. And, Barnes & Thornburg and their own Don Lundberg (former Exec. Sec. of IN Sup Court Disc Comm) would be perfect for the Page's criminal defense. Already have Durham; grat firm for Brizzi and Pages.
        • I hope they do file bankruptcy
          Dennis Halliden at the local FBI office is waiting, licking his lips....please file Pages. please file... cuz bankruptcy fraud charges are not fun to defend....
        • Warm Up Article
          Cory is justing getting his pen ready...

          Is this Paul Pittman that only has $42 in his bank account the one that is a licensed bar attorney, and drives a big @$$ Mercedes and has a wine locker next to mine at the Conrad Hilton/ Capital Grille?.... The lender pulled them into court "for guest appearances" as they KNOW the borrowers/guarantors have SHIFTED ASSETS..... No more hiding the sausages boys....
          • Conflict of interest for Bose
            I believe Bose borrowed money from Tim Durham, didn't they? Did they ever pay that money back?

            How can they go after a Page partnership if Durham was involved with them?

          • Comment
            Huntington Bank has been keeping the Page's default off their REO list.

            It is also my understanding that Durham and Brizzi were involved in a partnership with the Pages that resulted in this massive default of about $10M to Huntington. Someone needs to alert the banking examiner that handles Hungtington to look at Ed Scolari's portfolio--Ed is their loan officer, and come to think of it I think he also loaned on the Elkhart building that Brizzi scooped up.

            If not the bank examiner than the FBI should be jumping on this now. Get these guys on mortgage and bankruptcy fraud asap. Ask about if and how so Ben Pecar is tied to this.

          • re
            Hey John,

            Why don't you disclose the Brizzi partnership in Southwest Florid and how it is tied to Huntington Bank and all the Pages?

            You know exactly what I am talking about. Thank God for this "young reporter" Cory who is not going away, and the FBI, it's all about to come tumbling down.
          • Why are you enjoying others hard times?
            Once again, (based on previous professional experience), Cory Schouten has many of his facts incorrect and half true.

            Mr. Schouton is a young reporter that writes for a Business Publication yet he has had actually no practical business experience.

            What these individuals are dealing with is a personal and financial tragedy that is happening all around our country!

            Where is their bailout - instead Mr. Schouton's article reeks of glee.

            One fact that Cory failed to either investigate or mention was the gentleman (Mr. Ronald Jensen), he quoted from Boulder Pointe is from New York and a Hedge Fund Broker that bilked millions from investors on Wall Street and was a big part of starting this economic crisis.

            Also, (an omitted fact) - this gentleman has also been behind and delinquent on his association dues within the last 12 months.

            Corey, there are many people in this business community that wish you would learn how to become professional and unbiased and stop reporting like a rag sensationalistic journalist!

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