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JCIDA committee recommends accepting Curtis Furniture Co. loan settlement

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Generosity was spread to those who asked for it Tuesday as the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s loan review committee recommended accepting a lump-sum payment from a businessman to forgive a loan, then approved two loans for small businesses hatched this year.

Curtis Furniture Co., 25465 Route 342, Evans Mills, will pay a lump sum of $75,000 to settle a $94,000 loan principal owed to the agency, the committee decided after talking with owner Peter S. Curtis, who attended the meeting. The agency’s board of directors will take a final vote on it July 11.

Mr. Curtis has had difficulty staying current on monthly loan payments, according to the agency. The outstanding $94,000 remaining principal is owed from two $125,000 loans made in 1988 and 1990.

He has paid about $147,000 in interest to the agency since September 1997, when those loans were refinanced into a $176,941 loan to be repaid at a 5 percent interest rate for 20 years.

The committee went into executive session for about 15 minutes Tuesday to ask Mr. Curtis financial questions about his company, which has manufactured custom-made furniture since 1981. Seven employees are now on the staff.

Board members expressed unanimous support for the $75,000 offer made by the businessman, $19,000 shy of what he owed. The total interest Mr. Curtis has paid on loans to the agency since 1988 has amounted to about $250,000, said David J. Converse, JCIDA board chairman.

“I personally think that, through these hardships over the years, he’s generated a lot of interest,” Mr. Converse said. “He’s paid a little bit of the principal amount but has paid us a lot of the money back. I think he’s set a precedent, and this agreement will help preserve jobs in the community.”

Mr. Curtis’s relationship with the agency started in April 1988 after his building on Route 342 near Calcium was destroyed by a fire. The agency agreed to lend $125,000 to help Mr. Curtis rebuild the shop, then followed that in 1990 by approving another $125,000 loan for working capital.

In other business, the agency approved:

n A $40,000 five-year loan at 5 percent interest for Better Health Chiropractic of Watertown, an independent practice in the office of Maxon Chiropractic, 21101 Route 12F, Suite 5. The loan will be used by Renee J. Petitto, who opened the practice in February, to purchase equipment. Mrs. Petitto shares space at the building with Dr. Tomm Maxon at Maxon Chiropractic. As collateral for the loan, the agency has a lien on the equipment and holds a second position on the mortgage for the Petittos’ residence, 205 E. Main St., Gouverneur.

n A $12,150 loan to SUP Sackets Harbor, 125 Pike Road, a paddleboarding outfitter and yoga business located in Madison Barracks. The five-year, 5 percent interest loan is contingent on approval of a matching $12,150 loan from Sackets Harbor Local Development Corp. Owners Justin B. and Jamie McGiver, who attended the meeting, said they plan to use the funding to purchase stand-up paddleboards to be rented and sold by the business. Along with a lien on the equipment for collateral, the agency has a first position on the mortgage of the couple’s Sackets Harbor residence, 110 Dodge Ave.

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