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Bank sues city over hotel debt

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Journal
715-425-5666 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

A Tomah bank has filed a lawsuit against River Falls, claiming the city owes the bank $240,000.

Timberwood Bank filed a complaint in Pierce County Court last week, claiming the city wrote checks to Martinsen Investment and Land Company, and although a development agreement said the checks should be made payable to both Martinsen and Timberwood, they were not.

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"This claim has been reviewed by the city attorney and is without merit. I have no further comment on the matter," said City Administrator Scot Simpson in an email response Wednesday.

According to the lawsuit, Martinsen and the city were parties to a development agreement and addendum dated Feb. 25, 2008.

The agreement involved the construction of a 68,000-square foot "mixed use commercial facility" in downtown River Falls. The building is now called Riverview Hotel and Suites.

The city agreed to commit or spend money or provide land for the project through the tax income and financing process.

When the agreement was signed, the city projected the TIF monies would be available for the project on Aug. 15, 2008.

According to the civil court complaint, Martinsen applied for a $600,000 line of credit for short-term financing from Timberwood, securing the loan with, among other things, an assignment of the development agreement with the city.

According to the terms of the development agreement, signed by then-city administrator Bernie Van Osdale, any checks the city issued in connection with the project would be made payable to both Martinsen and Timberwood and were to be promptly endorsed by Martinsen and delivered to the bank until the full amount owed was paid.

According to the complaint, Martinsen has failed to make payments to the bank, and the city issued checks to Martinsen without making them jointly payable to Timberwood.

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Judy Wiff
Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
(715) 426-1049
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