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Commissioner, Business Face 3 Lawsuits

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Commissioner, Business Face 3 Lawsuits

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Steve Arnold, Guilford County commissioner, 10/7/99

Guilford County Commissioner Steve Arnold is embroiled in at least three court cases with people and companies who say he owes them money.

In one suit, a couple said Arnold and his development company, Arcon, fell behind on a $275,000 loan and other obligations, agreed to settle the issue, then failed to pay up.

Another couple said the commissioner backed out of a real estate deal, costing them thousands of dollars in taxes and forcing them to dump stock.

In a third case, filed in a small-claims court, a local engineering company says Arcon owes it $4,900.

Asked Monday about one of the cases, Arnold said he couldn’t talk about it.

“That’s a court issue that I’m sure will get resolved,” he said.

Neither Arnold nor his attorney, Trip Adams, immediately returned calls regarding the other cases.

Arnold, a Republican who has served on the board since 1990 and is its senior member, has owed money before. In 2005, the Internal Revenue Service sought payment on thousands of dollars in federal taxes owed by Arcon. Liens on the company’s property were released in January 2006.

In the first case, Manuel and Christine Perkins, whose address in a court filing was listed with a Greensboro construction company, signed an agreement in 2002 for Arcon to get a $1 million line of credit from Central Carolina Bank, according to court filings. Arcon also agreed to pay Manuel Perkins $1,000 for certain lots sold in Brightwood Farms, a large housing development in eastern Guilford County.

Two years later, the Perkinses loaned Arnold $275,000 for Arcon’s operations, the filing said.

But in 2005, Arnold began failing to make the loan payments and wasn’t paying the Perkinses for the lots. The couple said they began paying CCB so the bank wouldn’t sue them.

Arnold denied most of the charges against him but later entered into a settlement agreement that listed the total debt as $1.275 million, plus interest. He agreed to pay it before July 1, 2010.

Arnold and Arcon were supposed to pay the Perkinses $11,608 within 45 days of the agreement. That didn’t happen, the Perkinses say. Arnold also didn’t make the payments to the bank, according to court filings.

Neither the Perkinses nor their attorney returned telephone calls seeking comment. A trial could begin in June.

In another case, Arnold offered this past June to buy 49 acres in Carter County, Tenn., for $220,000 from James and Marilyn Holt, who wanted to use the money to buy property in Montana.

But Arnold backed away from the offer, the couple said. He also engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, according to filings, by presenting a $5,000 check to be deposited into an attorney’s trust account knowing the money wasn’t there and that he wouldn’t buy the property.

By backing out of the deal, the filing said, the couple had to sell other property and liquidate stock to raise money for the Montana property. They’ll also have to pay more taxes than they would have otherwise, the filing said.

“He never has paid the money back on the bounced check,” Krispen Culbertson, an attorney for the Holts, said of Arnold.

Filings showed that Arnold didn’t respond to the suit, which Culbertson called “undeniably curious.”

“In essence, he’s lost the case as far as liability,” Culbertson said. “Now it’s a question of how much.”

In the small-claims case, filed in January, Greensboro’s Atlantic Coast Engineering and Testing said Arcon owes $4,900 for work done in 2003 and 2004.

Source: News

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