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Friday, January 22, 2010

Joe Biden Sr.‘s old development, the Cliff House, takes out mortgage to pay for projects backed by B

Category: Issue 18

Documentation of all facts mentioned in this article is available here: http://www.litmocracy.com/docs/CliffHouse

The Cliff House, a Wilmington property managed by commercial property manager Brite Realty of Exton, PA took out a $690,000 mortgage in 2009 to pay for a balcony project and other incidentals.  This amount was added to $800,000 for special assessments in 2001, and annual condo fees that total to a 78% increase since 2001.

Cliff house was developed and sold by Joseph Biden, Sr. who was one of the first 2 Council members.  Mary Lou Sheehan also served with Biden until their successors were chosen and qualified as required by the condo association’s Code of Regulations.

According to Dan Rusk, who owns a construction company and was one of the first purchasers of the Cliff House Condos, the units sold well.  Biden left the council after the development was complete and his successors were chosen.

The current council is a far cry from the halcyon days of Biden Sr.  Some at Cliff House are beginning to question the debt incurred and the fee increases over the past 10 years. 

Cliff House took out its first loan against the property in 2002 when it borrowed $300,000 from Wilmington-based bankWFSF to pay for a variety of items.  By 2005, the Cliff House Council had granted Brite Realty check writing authority on its checking accounts and the loan was renegotiated to $462,000.  And now, last July in 2009, WSFS has increased the loan to $690,000. 

Martha Thornley, the treasurer in 2005 who initiated granting check writing authority to Brite has herself filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  The current treasurer, Thomas Prentice, has had 5 financial judgments against him over the years, and his wife was sued by Cititgroup in Oct 2009 for $14,000 in unpaid debt.  Police were called when another current member, Leopold Mancuso, was accused of forced entry and verbal assault in 2005 of an elderly widow.  An attorney for a recent plaintiff in Delaware court maintained that the Council has tacitly admitted of failing to follow its own budgetary requirements and refuses to state in writing that it will in the future.

According to collateral filings, Brite Realty has been pledging assets and future revenues for a series of loans.  Starting in 2006, Brite received a loan from Continental Bank in Plymouth Meeting PA,.  In September of 2009, Brite received a third loan in as many years.  This one, like the first, was against all of its current and future assets.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday January 18, 2010, the owners at the Dorset Condominium received some pleasant news that they will be refunded $40,000 from the overpayment of condo fees for the past two years after terminating its relationship with commercial real estate manager Brite Realty in 2009. The Dorset declined to increase Brite’s management fee by the full 7% that Brite had requested.  For more information visit http://www.litmocracy.com/docs/CliffHouse

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