Manor Builders facing foreclosure Head of firm may have quit business, left town

Real estate

March 03, 1998|By Robert Nusgart | Robert Nusgart,SUN STAFF

Foreclosure proceedings by two banks have begun against Manor Builders Inc. after its principal, Palmer Williams, left a note last week telling his staff and homeowners that he was quitting the business and leaving Baltimore.

As of yesterday, there was no record of bankruptcy filings for Manor Builders or Palmer Williams. It was also unclear whether buyers who were under contract would still have access to escrow money.

Manor Builders was involved in three townhouse communities: Summerwoods and McDonough Run in Owings Mills and the Village of Gracecroft near Havre de Grace.

According to Andrew Kochenderfer, production superintendent for Manor Builders, Williams left a note last week in the sales office at Summerwoods stating his intentions.

"They [Williams and his wife] left a 'Dear John' letter to the secretary in the office and stated that they were leaving the state, and, between the health and business problems, they couldn't handle it anymore and they left," he said.

Kochenderfer, who said he is owed back wages of $3,500, estimated that Manor Builders owes contractors more than $300,000.

Gracecroft and McDonough Run were financed through the Columbia Bank. Kathy Ashby, vice president of the bank, said "it is our intention to proceed with foreclosure we're hoping to have a sale planned by mid-April."

Summerwood was receiving its construction financing through Chesapeake Bank of Maryland. A Chesapeake official said it also was filing foreclosure papers and had already secured A. J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers -- which has set a March 24 date -- to auction the remaining unfinished homes and lots in the development.

Neither of the institutions would reveal the size of the loans or how much they are owed. Calls taken by an answering machine at Williams' home were not returned.

According to Kochenderfer, families have moved into five of Summerwoods' 64 planned townhouses. Another 13 are under construction. Gracecroft, a 62-unit community, was further along with 23 settlements and another 15 under construction. McDonough Run essentially was completed.

"We knew all along that there were cash-flow problems," said Kochenderfer, who began working for Manor Builders in July.

A management official of Number One Supply Corp., which supplied Manor Builders with windows as well as interior and exterior trim materials, said that, with insurance covering only part of a $100,000 loss, his company would suffer "a five-figure hit."

"The guy had some history of being a slow payer, but he had never been considered a danger to skip town," the official said.

Pub Date: 3/03/98

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