Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tully Eating Crow: Fifth Third Lawsuit Dropped

After dismissing 7th District GOP congressional candidate Eric Dickerson's campaign as a "soap opera" and suggesting that his campaign had imploded because of a business-related lawsuit, Star political columnist Matt Tully is eating a little crow tonight. Dickerson's campaign has issued a press release indicating that Fifth Third Bank has received amounts owed it, and that its lawsuit has been dropped. Dickerson says, through his press spokesman Stuart Hirsch:

In the past few days, much has been made of a lawsuit filed against me by Fifth Third Bank. The bank and I both know this action was unnecessary but they had a right to do it. That is, after all, the American way. Small business owners are routinely required to sign "personal guarantees" to secure loans. This is often the only way to expand or finance business operations.

In my case, I signed a $2 million personal guarantee to buy new and used vehicle inventory for my dealership. Although the terms of the loan and conditions for payment are too complicated to explain in this statement, I am proud to say my dealership never missed a loan payment and was never late with a loan payment.

There is good news for everyone today. Fifth Third Bank received its money and the lawsuit is being dropped. Case closed. I thank the bank for all its support over the many years of our business relationship. We all prospered.

Now, it’s time to move on with the real issues that are at the heart of my run for Congress.

Dickerson is absolutely right. It is time to move on to the real issues. Tully and the rest of the mainstream media who did Julia Carson's dirty work for her by chasing this non-story should be collectively holding their heads in shame. One of the real issues Tully and other mainstream media should be discussing are the illegalities and self-dealing associated with the newly constructed restaurant/bar in the Julia Carson Government Center. You know, the one involving public funds and public property.

It is precisely this kind of crap that causes most decent and honest people to shun public service. The corrupt insiders are masters at the game of smear. Eric Dickerson is just the latest in a long list of victims on that score. If only there were real reporters who still investigated public corruption and avoided the lure of these useless sideshows the corrupt insiders feed them for easy consumption, more good people might enter politics. But as long as the mainstream media continues to reward corrupt insiders while shredding newcomers on a whim, that's not going to happen.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, AI.

Only one thing...

Personal gaurantees are not always required on such loans.

This whole thing is kinda strange. Something is missing from the story.

But the mainstream media did overplay it. Big time.

Doug said...

I'm confused about how to reconcile the assertion that there was never a missed or late payment with the acknowledgment that Fifth Third had the right to bring the suit and that Fifth Third received its money and the lawsuit was dropped.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, Doug.

I'm glad Mr. Dickerson was able to quickly make the lawsuit go away.

but for some reason, there is more to this than meets the eye.

No bank, especially 5/3, would go to these means without due cause. And, GM is under criticism for its lack of diversity in dealership ranks. Has been for years.

So why would they quickly usher ED out, in favor of Ed Martin?

It makes no sense.

But, I am ready to get on to basic important Congressional campaign issues.

Anonymous said...

From what I have heard from other people in the car dealer buisness is that having a personal gaurantee in a loan that size ( 5 mill + ) is the norm. They do not want the person the chance to skip out with outh having some stake in the deal. It is like having a REAL BIG Mortgage.

Fith Third had been burned by a dealer in OH that sold a dealership and had the money sent out of the country and the bank got zero. The lawsuit was done in June or July when the talk of the sale started picking up steam. 5th/3rd wanted to make sure they would get thier money when the deal went through. Dickerson told them he is running for congress he was not going anywhere but they decided to go that route anyway to play things safe.

Being a standalone Buick dealer with an ever shrinking car base ( 7 models down to 3 in 2007 ) was more than an incentive enough to sell now rather than later. Sell now and get more money for the dealership than try to sell in 2 or 3 years when GM Drops Buick all together and maybe lose money on the whole deal.

From what I heard.

Anonymous said...

Businesses sue other businesses all the time. If ED was in discussions with Ed Martin, then 5/3 could view that as an breach in the loan agreement (regardless of if it was or not because the case was never hear in court). This is American. People sue all the time.

I would be more upset if Mr. Dickerson was our congressperson and stated that he did not know what was going on in the building where his dealership was because he did not get involved in "those things". Mr. Dickerson lived up to his obligations enough said. Now can we discuss Ms (or is it Mrs.) Carson's obligations to the taxpayers?

Sir Hailstone said...

Doug: You can sue anyone, for anything, at anytime in the State of Indiana. I could sue you for wearing ugly clothes if I wanted to. Doing it pro se (basically means without a lawyer) only costs a small filing fee. This isn't the police or the state. No "due cause" or "probable cause" is required.

anon 7:23 "there is more to this" .. no there is not. You're looking for fire where there's no smoke.

anon 8:01 - Exactly right.

Sir Hailstone said...

Oh and for some odd reason I think Matt likes HEINZ ketchup to go with his crow.

Anonymous said...

Matt does need to eat crow. But he won't, because that would require breaking a sweat, something he rarely does.

I have car dealer friends, too. They've told me large personal gaurantees are not usually sought from dealers, at least in that size of a loan, if there is good payment history and other credit criteria are met. GM's or the bank's security is ultimately the vehicles...they can walk in at any time and attach liens to them, the real estate and the person. A lien would've held up closing on the deal.

And, I've done commercial loan business with 5/3. Not exactly a heads-up bank, to say the very least.

Filing suit to protect a loan position, can be done easier, cheaper, with less (no?) publicity by filing a lien. Commonly done.

The filing of a lawsuit is something I just don't understand. True, anyone can...but in this kind of case, and especially with this lender, I'm told, by people who know, it is highly irregular.

Doug said...

Filing suit to protect their interest during the sale is plausible, I suppose; but presumably they've filed their liens against the inventory and whatever else which ought to be sufficient to protect their interest as the sale goes through.

Certainly you can file suit for anything and allege that the moon is made of cheese if you want to, but that doesn't seem like what happened.

According to the Indiana Business Journal, as quoted by TDW, Fifth Third alleges repayment of the notes was not made within 'applicable time frames,' which it says triggered default. The bank also alleges the loans were in default because neither the dealership nor Dickerson filed annual financial and tax statements for 2005.

Dickerson, meanwhile, said that he never missed a loan payment and was never late with a payment.

Most recently, Dickerson said, "Fifth Third received its money and the lawsuit is being dropped."

So, for Dickerson to be politically in the clear, the following would have to be (and may well be) true:

1. No loan payments were ever missed or late;

2. Regardless of loan payments being fully current, money was still owed to Fifth Third which was paid, resulting in dismissal of the lawsuit; and

3. Fifth Third's allegation that repayment of the notes were not made within the applicable time frames were false.

Seems like there should be a quick explanation as to what money was owed and paid that wasn't attributable to loan payments.

Sir Hailstone said...

Doug this is barely worth the time to respond but here it goes slowly so even you can understand:

1. No payments were missed or late. PERIOD.

2. The sale of the dealership to Ed Martin paid off the note to 5/3rd.

3. 5/3rds claims were false. Payments were made. To 5/3rds point of view they "called" the note making it immediately due and payable in full.

What I'm suprised at is you libs going around defending the bank. If a bank "called" a mortgage on someone, especially a "poor" person who was on time with payments but may not have complied with some obscure term of the mortgage you'd all be up in arms trying to fight the bank. That is the ultimate in hypocrasy.

In this case 5/3rd called default when for anyone else it possibly wouldn't have occured.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is after the Star does a job TRASHING someone they don't bother with the service of CORRECTING themselves.

Tully runs garbage like "Eric Dickerson Soap Opera" and follows it a day or two later with "Eric Dickerson Update." He shoudl have had posted "5/3 drops lawsuit against Dickerson," but that would be honorable.

Anonymous said...

Well, Hail, ths more this gets stirred, the more it comes back to some salient points:

It can't be as simple as you've stated, or one/both of the parties is lying. Or asking us to suspend belief.

Rarely (if ever) does a bank file a lawsuit if payments were made on time.

The "Default" of failure to provide tax/financial statements likely had a Cure Period. So, ED would've had registered-mail notice of a default due to failure to provide proper tax/fiscal data. Typically, non-monetary defaults like this are given 20-30 days to cure. If 5/2 is suing alleging non-monetary (paperwork)default, then ED didn't come through with the originally-required docs originally, or, likely, after a default/cure period. Hmmmmm.

I've done a lot of commercial lending business. Compliance with pre-loan and loan servicing is not complicated. Presumably ED paid his loan payments on time for years, and filed the required annual paperwork.

Nothing about the publicly-stated portions of this deal sound typical. Now, 5/3 is a bank that has very odd commercial lending requirements. They're known for that. Hell, they're not much of a consumer bank, either.

But why would a bank, fighting for market share, risk offending: 1. African American business customers, or 2) Republican business customers? Even a mediocre bank like 5/3 wouldn't risk that without some kind of strong reason.

Liens would've protected any interest 5/3 had, because they could've been filed against the business, the person, and the real estate. No sale to Ed Martin could've closed, unless it was a cash and uninsured sale, without clearing up liens. A lawsuit to protect loan position was overkill.

It's strange. Not illegal, for sure, but odd. You can shrug it off if you want, but it's not typical in any way. At least not what we know now.

Anonymous said...

...oops, 5/3, not 5/2...the bank devalued right in front of my eyes...

Anonymous said...

Interesting, AI....which makes the sudden lawsuit for "default" on something as flimsy as lack of an annual financial statement, even more odd. It's a reason to place someone in default to get their attention so they send the documents in to the Lender.

If ED has a lawyer worth his/her salt, the default cure period would not have lapsed before the documents were provided. Oversights are no big deal; outright defiance of a lender's agreed-upon requirements, is quite another matter.

I'm most puzzled, though, by the financial default. ED didn't pay his loans or he did. I wanna believe him. 5/3 takes a huge PR risk suing a well-known, minority car dealer who is running for Congress. Especially when a lien would've satisfied their desire to post a position for payment upon closing of a related transaction.

This should never have gone to lawsuit status.

Just very strange.

Remember what infamous bank robber Willie Sutton said, when asked "Why rob banks?"

"'Cause that's where they keep the money"

It's not necessarily where they keep the brains.

Sir Hailstone said...

AI - they do that because if the bank officer does not appease the political powers, suddenly thousands of dollars in deposits of taxpayers money goes to a competitor bank.

That's obvious even for Mr. Obvious

Sir Hailstone said...

anon - quoting

"which makes the sudden lawsuit for "default" on something as flimsy as lack of an annual financial statement, even more odd."

No it's not odd. 5th/3rd went looking for a reason to pull the plug. They found a reason and did so.

Doug said...

Sir Hailstone, if you're gonna call me stupid, at least spell "hypocrasy" (sic) correctly.

All you really had to say in response to my post was, "The simple answer is that Fifth-Third is lying. I know this because [insert basis for assertion here]."

I did get a little chuckle out of your supposition about what my reaction might be if it were a bank suing a poor person over some non-monetary default. As a collection attorney, I make my living squeezing poor people for money on behalf of lending institutions and other creditors. So, I don't get too worked up when someone gets sued for a breach of contract.

Sir Hailstone said...

Ahhh ... so you're one of those that call people all day and all night and threaten to throw them into prison for not paying up. Nice. So you use a Louisville Slugger or an Easton aluminum bat to break people's kneecaps?

Anonymous said...

Julia Carson serves on the House Banking Committee, maybe she has friends at 5/3?
The case is closed on Eric Dickerson's car dealership. The Bank has been paid off, so stop digging for dirt!
Move on to the real issues at hand.
Carl Drummer has not responded to this scandal in Center Township to date. He is silent!
Where is the pressure from media for accountabilty to taxpayers in the township?

Eric Dickerson's lawsuit was merely a distraction for a week. Now get back to the issues at hand about the the bar/restaurant in the governemnt center,code violations,lack of fines by DMD for lack of building permits, etc.

Who paid the attorneys to file the zoning petition in the first place?

Wilson46201 said...

It was rather peculiar that ED even got involved in this Center Township kerfuffle at all. I don't recall him taking any political actions ever before, anywhere. He lives up in Hamilton County and in Washington Township in Marion County. AI and I both are Center Township residents but why did ED get involved? He said it had nothing to do with Ms.Carson so why did a pitifully underfunded Congressional candidate even get involved in the first place?

Doug said...

Well, if I were up for such tactics, I'd be a Louisville Slugger man to be sure. But, mainly I just take 'em to court, garnish their wages, freeze their bank accounts, that sort of thing. I'm looking to branch out into foreclosing on judgment liens on real estate soon, on special occasions anyway.

Anonymous said...


If a congress women who has an office in that very building will not stand up for the people in center township who will ?

She told the press she did not think a bar was a good idea for that building. Why then was she not at the MDC meeting telling them that in person ?

Will she be at the meeting on Oct. 4th to stand by the voters in her district ?

If not her - who ?

Sir Hailstone said...

"woefully underfunded" ... sure if Eric had left-wingnut groups like MoveOn and other George Soros funded 527 groups supporting his campaign he'd be flush with cash.

Eric is not trying to buy the election unlike others. Of course Wilson46201 is upset because he only gets to vote once now so he's going to cry sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with George Soros, but let's see....

He spends his own money furthering his beliefs through legal means.

Kinda hard to criticize that.

Anonymous said...

Wilson46201 - The sale of the dealership was known to some of us during the Primary Election.

Ms Carson and others thought they had a good smear campaign in the making if in fact Mr. Dickerson had been discredited as a good businessman. Now that the dealership has been sold to Ed Martin Group, what is there to discuss. The deal is closed, 5/3 has been paid, and the lawsuit will be dismissed.

Wilson talk about some of Carson and Drummer's business deals with taxpayer money in Center Township! You do know about that!

Anonymous said...

Very well said!

Mr. Tully knows the actions by Lacy Johnson are wrong, and now he has proven to the entire State of Indiana that you don't have to be black to be the N-word.

The behavior of Carl Drummer, Lacy Johnson, Monroe Gray, Judy-King Ro and his wife Judy Hawley-Conley, and Julia Carson is gutter behavior. Now Tully just showed us where he comes from... which is why we "never heard of him" until Eric Dickerson entered the scene...a man we've all known and liked for years.

As soon as Eric Dickerson, a formibable candidate, runs against their "Queen", (btw doesn't that sound mafia-ish?),

"Out of the gutter comes Matt Tully, along with his friends Monroe "pea-brain" Gray, Julia "Qhetto-Queen" Carson, King Ro & Company, Carl "the code-violating landlord" Drummer and Lacy "the park theft" Johnson.
This would make an excellent comic strip.

Lacy, you've gotten so low. Now you not only take opportunities from women and minority busines owners, you're taking parks away from our kids so that you can have another drinking hole. You have no class and are an embarrassment for our young aspiring lawyers and specifically black people.

The Indianapolis Star should be ashamed of Tully!!! I'm cancelling my subscription...I'll just read the trash online and keep my dime.


Anonymous said...

Ice Miller should be ashamed also...they've allowed him to steal from center township to benefit Ice Miller