|By Andrew Knittle, The Norman Transcript,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 19, 2010--NORMAN -- Norman-based First American Bank has begun foreclosure proceedings against the owners of a motel just south of Riverwind Casino, a bank official has confirmed.
First American Bank Chairman and CEO Jim McAuley said Monday that he couldn't release specific details about the proceedings, but did acknowledge that things aren't going according to plan.
"We're on the front end of the (foreclosure) process," McAuley said.
Sleep Inn and Suites, which has been complete for several months and lies several hundred feet to the south of the casino, is owned by Majesty Hospitality of Oklahoma City, according to mortgage documents on file in McClain County.
First American Bank loaned Majesty Hospitality $3.55 million in 2007 and upped the amount to $4 million in May 2009, records show.
Alex Patel, manager of Majesty Hospitality, said the reason for the delayed opening is a "developer situation."
"It's a legal issue and I can't really say more than that," Patel said. "Hopefully, it will be open soon."
Aside from First American Bank's pending foreclosure, numerous contractors have filed liens against the property in McClain County, including one for nearly $200,000.
Kym Koch Thompson, spokeswoman for the Chickasaw Nation, said the land associated with Sleep Inn and Suites is "public land and has nothing to do with the tribe," who owns Riverwind Casino.
Is the motel sinking?
From Norman to Purcell and back up to Goldsby, rumors about why Sleep Inn and Suites hasn't opened abound. The most consistent one is that the new motel, which has a pool full of water and furniture in place, is sinking into the ground.
But according to the parties involved, that isn't the case.
Steve Puckett, building inspector for the town of Goldsby, said he's been out to the building but didn't see any evidence that it was sinking.
"Not that I could tell," he said, adding that viewing time-elapsed elevation photography would be the only way to know for sure.
Puckett said he inspected the building once before and there "were a few things that needed to be fixed," but found nothing to do with the foundation or any indication the structure was sinking. He said the motel has yet to request a final inspection of the facility, which has to be passed before an occupancy permit is issued.
"Nobody can stay there until that happens," Puckett said.
Goldsby, which collects room-tax revenue from Riverwind Casino's hotel, also would realize cash if Sleep Inn and Suites opens to the public.
McAuley also addressed the rumors about why the motel has yet to open.
"We have no knowledge of the building sinking, although I've heard that," McAuley said. "It's probably because it hasn't opened, that's what I think."
Patel also denied Sleep Inn is sinking.
Andrew Knittle 366-3540 email@example.com
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