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Watertown Trust to begin collection procedures against Fort Drum Vehicle Storage

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In July, the owners of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage promised that they would start making double payments on a $40,000 delinquent loan to the Watertown Local Development Corp.

It happened only that month.

CEO Donald W. Rutherford of the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust, said he has not heard from owners JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist and John S. Norquist since then.

“We have not received a dime” since that July payment, Mr. Rutherford told the Trust board at its meeting Thursday. “We’ll be going after them.”

As a result, the Trust will instruct its attorney to initiate collection procedures for the $28,456 still owed to the economic development agency.

The couple had taken out the loan from the agency to help start the company, formed in 2005 to serve deploying soldiers in need of a safe place to store their vehicles.

On Thursday, local attorney Andrew N. Capone, who represents the company, declined to comment, saying he was not aware of the situation and referring inquiries to his client. The owners were not available at the company’s office at the Hotis Motel, Route 37 in the town of Pamelia.

The couple also has been delinquent on a $40,000 loan from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. The same installment plan was promised to JCIDA officials. It was unclear Thursday whether the JCIDA, too, planned to start the collection process.

The owners made the promise — to make double payments monthly, including interest and late fees, until the loans are paid off next July — at a time when they were trying to reacquire a 26,281-square-foot warehouse at 753 Rear W. Main St. from the city for $17,776.37 in back taxes.

But just days after that double payment was made to the Trust in July, the Watertown City Council turned down the owners’ request to let them buy back the building, where the business stored as many as 90 vehicles.

After hearing that the couple has apparently reneged, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said he wondered whether it was a false promise “to make it look good when they went before council.”

The owners eventually lost the warehouse and it subsequently was sold at an Oct. 10 public auction to the company’s chief financial officer, Ruby C. “Charlene” Williams, for $125,000.

The closing on the property is scheduled for today. But City Comptroller James E. Mills said Thursday that Ms. Williams had not contacted him about paying off the $112,500 still owed on her bid. She was required the night of the auction to pay 10 percent, or $12,500.

Ms. Williams, who has not indicated her plans for the warehouse, did not return a reporter’s phone calls Thursday.

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