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Watertown Trust going after former owner’s parents for unpaid loan

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The Watertown Trust will hire an Arizona attorney to seek delinquent payments from the now-defunct Fort Drum Vehicle Storage by going after the former owner’s parents, who guaranteed the business loan.

The move comes just after a California bank took ownership through foreclosure of a former Pamelia motel that JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist owned and used as an office for the vehicle storage business. City National Bank N.A., Los Angeles, was owed $610,000 on the former Hotis Motel, 23442 Route 37, town of Pamelia.

That leaves an apartment building at 505 Washington St. and a self-storage facility at 22271 Teal Drive, Pamelia, as local properties still owned by Ms. Sanchez-Norquist.

In Arizona, the trust’s lawyer will search for the address of the two guarantors, any property they own in Arizona, bank accounts they have and any employment, said Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust.

In 2009, Fort Drum Storage borrowed $40,000 from the WLDC and eventually paid $12,000 back before it defaulted on the loan, Trust officials said.

Jenny and Peter O. Sanchez Jr., both of Gold Canyon, Ariz., were signers of “unlimited continuing guaranties” on loans totaling $105,000 from the Watertown Trust and two other local economic development agencies.

They are the parents of Ms. Sanchez-Norquist, who had owned the vehicle storage company with her husband, John S. Norquist. Their whereabouts are not known, although she was believed to be living in Las Vegas.

Local attorney Stephen W. Gebo, who was hired by the trust to go after the company for the unpaid loan, has arranged for Phoenix attorney Brad Delaney to handle the matter for the WLDC. Plans could include garnishing the parents’ wages. “It would be nice if we can collect some of our money,” Mr. Gebo said.

Ms. Sanchez-Norquist executed notes and security agreements May 13, 2009, in which she promised to repay $105,000, plus interest, to the three agencies.

So far, the Watertown Trust has spent $6,300 in efforts to seek its unpaid loan, Mr. Rutherford said. The Arizona collection efforts will cost $2,000 to $3,000. The trust is still owed $28,000.

Fort Drum Vehicle Storage was formed in 2005 mainly to serve deploying soldiers in need of a place to store their vehicles.

It had gone through tumultuous financial times after losing its West Main Street warehouse to back taxes.

In August, the company closed, and Ms. Sanchez-Norquist abruptly left the north country, leaving about 170 soldiers not knowing the whereabouts of their vehicles because they had been moved and stored in facilities in Oswego County without their knowledge.

The state attorney general’s office intervened to help soldiers get their vehicles returned.

The attorney general’s office also commenced proceedings against the company for violating the state’s general business and labor laws. It also filed a cease-and-desist notice with the owners to stop them from collecting money from Fort Drum soldiers who had stored vehicles with the company.

The company also borrowed $40,000 from Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and $25,000 from the Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce.

In October, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency wrote off the balances of a loan that Fort Drum Storage had with that agency, though it will continue legal action and collection efforts.

It was unclear Thursday night how much the vehicle storage company still owed on the chamber’s $25,000 loan.

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