Manor Builders account is frozen Escrow to be transferred to court for disbursement

Real estate

March 17, 1998|By Robert Nusgart | Robert Nusgart,SUN STAFF

A lawyer for Sparks State Bank confirmed yesterday that an escrow account opened by the owner of the defunct Manor Builders Inc. and containing $20,000 has been frozen and that the bank plans to turn the money over to the Baltimore County Circuit Court for eventual disbursement.

The lawyer, Jerry S. Sopher, said he expected the transfer to the court to occur this month after a court order is signed.

Earlier, attorneys for the Chesapeake Bank of Maryland had filed garnishment proceedings when that bank foreclosed on Manor Builders and its principals, Palmer and Carol Williams. Chesapeake Bank holds the mortgage on Summerwoods, a townhouse community in Owings Mills, where an auction is scheduled March 24 to sell off its unfinished homes and lots.

Attorney Robert E. Cahill Jr. of Nolan Plumhoff and Williams, who is representing Chesapeake Bank, said the bank also has filed a $2.3 million judgment against Manor Builders Inc., Phoenix Land Inc. and Palmer and Carol Williams, who he said personally guaranteed the loans.

But the bank, Cahill said, has no intention of taking possession of the escrow funds.

"All that the lawyers and the banks are going to be interested in is that the home purchasers will either get return of their money or have it credited toward the house [the] escrow accounts are not subject to the garnishment," Cahill said.

Manor Builders, which also was developing the Village of Gracecroft near Havre de Grace in Harford County and McDonough Run in Owings Mills, abruptly ceased operations at the end of February. In a written note to its staff, Carol Williams said she and her husband were leaving the area. Their whereabouts remain unknown.

Manor Builders had placed escrow monies in an account at First National Bank of Maryland, but that account was closed out in January, and, according to Sopher, an escrow account -- as well as another account containing $1,764 -- was opened by Williams under Phoenix Land Inc. at Sparks State Bank at the end of February.

Sopher said neither he nor Sparks State Bank has had any contact with the Columbia Bank, the lien holder at the Village of Gracecroft, which has also started foreclosure proceedings.

Pub Date: 3/17/98

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