Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Bank One releases condo liens



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - Bank One has released an estimated $1 million in liens on up to eight Warren County condominiums purchased with cash from The Erpenbeck Co., according to lawyers representing the homebuyers.

Florence law partners Jeff Blankenship and Ed Monohan said Bank One agreed late Tuesday afternoon to release the liens on condominiums in the Scarlet Oaks development in Mason.

The homeowners faced possible foreclosure even though they paid cash for the condos, because the Erpenbeck Co. did not use the money to pay off construction loans on the properties. Bank One officials could not be reached to comment. But Monohan said, "The bank stepped up to the plate, and they are not going to foreclose on these retirees."

Bill Erpenbeck, the former president of a once successful Northern Kentucky homebuilding company, pleaded guilty earlier this month to a single federal count of bank fraud in connection with diverting $34 million of home closing checks into Erpenbeck company accounts at the former Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky. He is cooperating with federal authorities.

The liens against about 200 homeowners who paid by check had their titles cleared through a settlement reached in Boone County Circuit Court earlier this year. The money was raised through the sale of Peoples Bank, along with contributions from other banks that had handled Erpenbeck closings.

About 50 cash buyers hired Blankenship and Monohan to work with the banks in getting their liens released.

"There are still people out there who have liens on their property and are faced with the possible loss of their homes," Blankenship said.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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