Bank threatens to sue Legislature over Anchorage LIO lease
A bank that lent money to the developer of the Anchorage Legislative Information Office is threatening to sue the Legislature if it breaks the lease that a Superior Court judge declared invalid in March.
In a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, Bob Hume, an attorney representing Everbank, said that if that ruling is upheld, the bank will “present its claim against the state.” Hume warned legislators that they could be responsible for all the money owed under the developer’s loans if they leave the building.
“EverBank estimates that those amounts total approximately $27,500,000 at this time,” he wrote.
Sen. Gary Stevens, chair of the Legislative Council, said he’s confident the Legislature wouldn’t be liable for that money if the bank does sue. He said he plans to continue moving forward on assessments of the Wells Fargo building, which is in Spenard at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard.
“I think we’re on pretty solid legal grounds to look at other buildings,” he said Wednesday, citing a judge’s declaration that the downtown LIO lease was invalid. “I think it’s unlikely he would alter his ruling.”
Stevens added that litigation is a factor in any decision the Legislature makes.
The Senate Finance Committee added $12.5 million to the state capital budget Wednesday in anticipation of a move to the Wells Fargo building.
In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for 716 W. Fourth Avenue, the downtown LIO building’s developer, wrote:
“If the State breached an agreement with a substantial financial institution, it would be hard to quarrel with EverBank’s characterization given the consequences that would follow. We trust that the State will review this matter with the high level of care and caution that it warrants.”
The Legislative Council had recommended purchasing the Fourth Avenue LIO building for $32.5 million, but Gov. Bill Walker announced last month that he’d veto the funding for it.
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