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Valley News Dispatch

Mortgage holder sues for payment from Harrison shopping center owner

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, June 14, 2018, 9:39 a.m.
Harrison Town Square.
Steven Adams | Tribune-Review
Harrison Town Square.
Harrison officials say the exterior of the Harrison Town Center building along Pacific Avenue/Marino Boulevard has not been properly repaired following a 2012 fire.
Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Harrison officials say the exterior of the Harrison Town Center building along Pacific Avenue/Marino Boulevard has not been properly repaired following a 2012 fire.

The owner of Harrison Town Square has defaulted on its mortgage, a lawsuit filed in Allegheny County alleges.

Valvest, an offshore corporation with an address in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is demanding payment of about $17.4 million from the shopping center's owner, Wild Blue Management of Far Hills, N.J., and company owner, Steve Kogut.

Kogut could not be immediately reached for comment.

That amount includes the $16.3 million principal plus about $828,300 in attorneys fees and $314,200 in interest accrued from April 1 to May 29.

Interest has been accruing on the debt since May 30 at 24 percent, or about $10,800 per day.

Wild Blue Management bought the shopping plaza, long known as Heights Plaza, in December 2003.

According to Valvest's complaint, Sedona Capital loaned Wild Blue $16.25 million in April 2016, with a 10 percent interest rate. It was to be paid back by April 30, 2018.

Sedona transferred the mortgage to Valvest in December 2017. The maturity date remained April 30.

“The defendant failed to make the required payment of all accrued and unpaid interest and the unpaid principal balance and all other amounts due under the loan on the maturity date,” Valvest's complaint reads.

Valvest issued notices of default and a demand for payment in May.

In the complaint, Valvest said it was made aware in May of property maintenance violations issued against the property by Harrison Township. That lead to another notice of default against Wild Blue for allegedly failing to maintain the mortgaged property in good condition and repair.

Under township ordinances, each violation carries a penalty of up to $1,000, and each day the violations continue constitutes a separate offense for each violation.

Valvest noted that there are at least 30 separate violations.

In May, tenants in the plaza were directed to send their rent payments to Cerco Funding, which is a servicer for Valvest.

“Failure to pay the rent to the lender will be a default under your lease, and payments to any other party will not satisfy your lease obligations,” the letter states.

The shopping plaza has been under protracted renovations and repair since a fire in its facade caused extensive damage in December 2012.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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