Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Former Peoples president finds buyer for home

Sale pending despite federal lien

By James McNair, jmcnair@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Former Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky president John Finnan has found a buyer for his home amid a federal lawsuit alleging that the property was financed by proceeds of bank fraud.

        The two-story, 13-room brick house, at 2467 Legends Way in Crestview Hills, was originally offered for $799,900 May 3 and was reduced to $779,900. The listing broker, Susan Huff, would not disclose the contracted sales price, but a source said it was $650,000.

Click here for all Enquirer reports on Erpenbeck Co.
If you have any additional information on the business dealings of the Erpenbeck Co. or Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky - or on the involvement of any parties not yet identified in our coverage - please email Enquirer business reporter James McNair at jmcnair@enquirer.com or Kentucky Enquirer reporter Patrick Crowley at pcrowley@enquirer.com.
        “All I can say is that a contract was signed Friday and that it's pending,” said Ms. Huff, president of Florence-based Huff Realty.

        Although the Finnan residence is on one of Northern Kentucky's swankiest streets, Legends Way has fallen into notoriety because of its tie to the $107 million scandal involving Peoples Bank and the Erpenbeck Co.

        A. William “Bill” Erpenbeck, who resigned as president of the home-building concern in March, lives one block down from Mr. Finnan. Like Mr. Finnan's classical revival house complete with mother-in-law suite and a golf-course view, Mr. Erpenbeck's two-story house, valued at $1.3 million, is subject to a federal lien filed in the wake of an FBI bank fraud investigation.

        Employees of the Erpenbeck Co. are accused of diverting almost $16.8 million in checks made out to other lenders into the company's accounts at Peoples. No charges have been filed.

        The government's civil forfeiture cases do not seek the seizure of the two homes, but hold open that possibility for later, presumably if the house purchases are more directly tied to stolen money.

        As of Monday afternoon, the Finnan house was still encumbered by the civil forfeiture. Ms. Huff said the federal lien was in the course of being removed. The assistant U.S. attorney who filed the lien, Kathleen Brinkman, was out Monday and unavailable for comment.

        “Mr. Finnan told me he has worked through his attorney and worked everything out,” Ms. Huff said. Still, she noted, “Any contract is subject to clear title.”

        Mr. Finnan paid $675,000 in 1994 for the house, built by Mr. Erpenbeck.

        Mr. Finnan and another executive, Marc Menne, were forced to resign from Peoples Bank in May because of their entanglements with the Erpenbeck Co. The bank is locked in a messy legal battle with home buyers, title companies and other banks and is under review by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

        Mr. Finnan could not be reached for comment Monday.


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