Atlantic Beach misses settlement payment again

05/15/2013 8:48 PM

05/15/2013 8:49 PM

A missed payment by Atlantic Beach in a settlement agreement prompted a Myrtle Beach lawyer to file motions Wednesday that could lead to a contempt finding against the town and put someone else in charge its finances. The town was slated to appear before a judge Thursday, said Charles Jordan, with Thomas and Brittain P.A. – the firm representing Councilwoman Carolyn Cole and the Tyson Beach Group – but the hearing is being rescheduled.

In addition to filing a motion for contempt, Jordan filed a motion to appoint the S.C. Municipal Association as a receiver to manage Atlantic Beach’s finances.

The town settled two long-standing lawsuits involving Cole and the Tyson Beach Group last October, with monthly payments of $7,763.20 scheduled to begin in November 2012.

Jordan said the payment in April was not made, and the town “claimed to lack the necessary funds.”

He said Atlantic Beach was unable to timely provide information to prove and explain why it did not have the money to pay.

Town officials and council members could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Atlantic Beach was in court in January for the same reason when payments for December and January were not made.

Circuit Court Judge Larry Hyman at that time gave the town 30 days make the two missing payments, plus $4,876 to Jordan – Cole’s attorney – for fees owed to him at the January hearing.

Jordan said the town complied with that order until the missed payment in April.

One of the settled cases revolved around a $190,000 loan secured by Cole through Tyson Beach Group, a landholding company involving her former husband Gerald Montgomery and Catherine Aldridge. In 2002, while she was town manager on a volunteer basis, Cole secured the loan to the town through the Tyson Beach Group. That suit had been pending since March 2008 and had accrued interest totaling more than $450,000 before the settlement. The town saved about $225,000 in interest by settling.

Also in 2010, Hyman awarded Cole $83,333 plus $38,695.62 in interest in a suit over nonpayment for her services as town manager. Before the settlement, the town had partially fulfilled the payment, but still owed $90,127.24. Additional interest had accrued since the judgment. That settled for $105,794.36.

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