After nearly 2 years of trying to work out a deal with AEA, a Yuma realtor files a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Federal Credit Union.
News 13 first broke the story Thursday.
Fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract and defamation, those are the three counts filed by Todd Burch against AEA federal credit union in a 13 page lawsuit. Burch says it was the final straw after filing for bankruptcy and not being able to work out a deal behind closed doors, "the frustrating part is you spend 18 months trying to get it done." He said "in good faith you try to work with a bad situation, but it wasn't our stuff that failed, it was the bank that failed and then you turn around and you get sued because of the banks failure."
Burch says in 2006, he pulled his money from Yuma Community Bank and transferred it to AEA. He says he mostly dealt with their chief lending officer at the time, Bill Liddle, who was terminated in 2009. Upon switching, a loan deal was presented and he was given a multi-million dollar credit line, "what ended up happening was from what we can understand is that AEA began to run up against it's federally regulated limit as to what they could loan. He says, "and rather than make some changes within their bank, they continued to loan that money and got to a point where the feds shut them off all together."
According to the lawsuit, in March of 2010, Burch was advised by his then attorney to file for bankruptcy, in which he did a few months later. It says throughout the years, Burch felt pressured by AEA to have several of his friends and family contribute money and sign guarantees. But now he says, "AEA is looking to come after each of our members, all 9 of us, for $17 million a piece."
Burch says they've all been served with the lawsuits and with the highest liable amount owed in one lump some to AEA is said to be around $17 million.
According to his attorney's you take that and double it and that's where the $34 million dollar suit comes into play, "I've had a couple people ask well why so much, well you realize of the 9 of us, they didn't just sue us for $17 million they sued us for $17 million a piece." He says "so you're looking, they're trying to get us for over $150 million on properties that developed maybe, were worth $15 million." He says you liquidate it maybe worth 3 or 4 [million], I don't know."
Burch says he tried to come to an agreement similar to the Fun Factory being sold, but the credit union didn't want to deal with him. He says this lawsuit probably won't be the last against AEA, "I'm guessing I'm just small potatoes in this." He says "I'm just the first one here, I was forced to kind of go a little quicker, because I've got bankruptcies pending on all these entities that are coming to a head."
Burch says this is just the beginning of a long haul.
He says his lawsuit has nothing to do the indictment against Bill Liddle or Frank Ruiz.
We put a call into N.C.U.A. about the lawsuit but our call was not returned.
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