Suit between Gilmer Clerk, Va. bank settled for $40K

By Lawrence Smith | Feb 9, 2012

GLENVILLE – Following a lawsuit to compel its release late last year, Gilmer County officials made public last month details of the settlement in a dispute between the county clerk, and a Virginia bank.

Upon conclusion of a five-minute special meeting held Jan. 20, the Gilmer County Commission disclosed the details of the settlement reached in the third-party suit Summit Community Bank of Winchester, Va. filed against the clerk's office in U.S. District Court in October 2010. In exchange for admitting no wrongdoing, the clerk's office, via its insurance carrier West Virginia Risk Corp., agreed to pay Summit $40,000.

Summit filed suit against the clerk's office after it was named as a co-defendant in a breach of contract suit filed in March 2010 by Textron Financial Corp. of Providence, R.I. In its suit, Textron alleged New Horizon Home Sales, an Athens, W.Va.-based modular home dealer, defaulted on paying them for property they helped New Horizon acquire in 2005 when New Horizon, three years later, sought permanent financing from Summit's branch in Moorefield.

According to the suit, New Horizon purchased property in the Rivers' View subdivision outside of Glenville along W. Va. Route 5 between the Otterbein United Methodist Church and the Gilmer Federal Corrections Institution. Records show New Horizon purchased the properties from Gilmer Housing Partners, a for-profit corporation managed by Glenville State College President Peter B. Barr, and located at his home on One Pioneer Way.

GHP was also named as co-defendant in the breach of contract suit, but was later dismissed a year later.

In its suit, Summit alleged it was brought into Textron's suit unwittingly due to the clerk's office failure to properly record lien information. Specifically, Summit alleged the clerk's office violated state law when it did not list New Horizon's president, Jack Jones, as a co-debtor on a Uniform Commercial Code fixture filing.

Records show, Summit reached a tentative settlement with the clerk's office on Oct. 11.

Following the settlement, West Virginia Record contributor Lawrence Smith made efforts to find out the details, including repeated telephone calls to the clerk's attorney, Wendy Greve, and through the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request. When the requested information was not forthcoming, Smith filed suit in Gilmer Circuit Court to compel its release on Dec. 23.

When asked how much of a deductible the county would be paying as a result of settling Summit's claim, commissioners referred questions to Gilmer County Prosecutor Gerry Hough.

When contacted, Hough said the amount was $10,000 though the county had yet to receive a bill for it.

Gilmer Circuit Court case 11-C-29

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