Liquidators of four failed thrift and loans have filed hundreds of lawsuits against delinquent borrowers, and one of those complaints has been lodged against syndicated journalist Jack N. Anderson.
Anderson owes about $180,000 in principal and interest on a $157,030 loan he took out of Copper State Thrift and Loan in 1984, according to a lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court.Reached at his office in Washington, D.C., Anderson said, "we aren't going to pay them a dime," and he will fight the claim in court.
Anderson, a former Utahn whose investigative columns appear in newspapers across the country including the Deseret News, took out the loan to finance a tax shelter investment, said his son Kevin, a Salt Lake attorney who is also named in the suit along with Jack Anderson's wife.
The money was used to purchase semitrailer tractors, which were leased to Clark Tank Lines Co. But Clark Tank Lines filed for bankruptcy in February 1986, and by the time the trucks were sold they could only produce $42,900, the complaint said.
The loan was assigned to Western Heritage Thrift and Loan shortly before the Clark Tank Lines filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Jack Anderson said Western Heritage agreed to retrieve the trucks, which were collateral for the loan but failed to do so until the trucks had deteriorated and lost their value.
"We think the (thrift) was negligent in not doing what they should have done," he said. "It's a legal issue that the court will have to decide.
Kevin Anderson said it is not a question that money is owed, but exactly how much. Principal owed is $145,543, with annual interest of 18 percent accruing since May 1987.
Terry Garlock, conducting the thrift liquidations for accounting firm Grant Thornton, said Anderson had offered a settlement for about half of what is owed but that was turned down because they believe more could be paid.
Western Heritage and Copper State are two of five thrifts under a court ordered liquidations since Utah's privately insured thrift industry collapsed in 1986, freezing about $105 million in savings of 15,000 depositors.
Depositors have filed suit against the state over the financial crisis and an out of court settlement has been reached to return $103 million of depositors' money.
Garlock said some delinquent borrowers may believe the settlement has relieved them of their debts. "But, that isn't the case.
"We have hundreds of lawsuits in process and more to come," he said, noting about $15 million to $20 million of thrifts' assets are involved in litigation.