Councilman may avoid jail sentence Deal with bank lets Redmond refinance troubled building

Official had faced 30 days

As promised, name of ex-wife must be taken off mortgage

September 19, 1997|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond has struck a deal with a bank that should keep him out of jail despite his failure to clean up a financial mess surrounding an apartment house he owns.

An attorney for the Pasadena Democrat told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner yesterday that First Union National Bank had agreed to refinance Redmond's

three-unit building in Ocean City that was cited for building code violations before it burned Jan. 24 and went into foreclosure.

Lawyer Michael Demyan said the refinancing would cost Redmond about $26,000 but would meet a court requirement that Redmond remove his ex-wife's name from the building's mortgage, as he promised to do nine years ago in their divorce agreement.

Sandra C. Redmond took her ex-husband to court earlier this year, claiming it was unfair that she be held financially responsible for a property under her ex-husband's control since their 1988 divorce.

Lerner sentenced Redmond on July 31 to 90 days in jail for contempt of court for failing to obey the couple's divorce settlement. Lerner said he would drop the penalty if Redmond removed his ex-wife's name from the mortgage by Sept. 15.

Redmond appeared in court yesterday to tell the judge that his ex-wife hadn't been freed from the mortgage. But he produced documents to show that he and the bank had reached an agreement to do that.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore must approve the refinancing, because Redmond filed on July 23 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming $1.6 million in debts, according to testimony.

Lerner gave Redmond until Oct. 10 to get Bankruptcy Court approval.

"We are not interested in Mr. Redmond being incarcerated," said Myles F. Friedman, the attorney for Mrs. Redmond. "We are just interested in Mrs. Redmond getting off the hook."

Redmond apologized to the judge for the delay. "I'm glad Judge Lerner gave me enough time to work this out," he said outside the court. "This whole thing got a little bit complicated and blown out of proportion."

Redmond and his ex-wife bought the apartment house at 3503 Canal St. in 1985. The property now has an assessed value of $165,300.

After the building was rented to vacationers for several years, Ocean City building inspectors in 1994 and 1995 filed a series of complaints of failure to maintain it. The roof was missing shingles, paint was peeling, wood was rotting and screens were missing, according to city records.

Ocean City last winter put Redmond on a list of property owners who should be denied rental licenses this summer, according to Dan Giubilo, the city's business license inspector.

A fire broke out in the building at 1: 40 a.m. on Jan. 24 when it was vacant. The Ocean City Fire Marshal's Office has not determined the cause of the blaze.

Pub Date: 9/19/97

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