The Ohio Department of Development has announced the availability of $8,000,000 in grant funding for qualifying energy efficiency projects undertaken at existing multi-family, commercial, and institutional buildings. The goal of the program is to encourage the installation of energy efficiency equipment that will measurably improve the energy efficiency of existing multi-family, commercial, and institutional buildings. The program

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that Fannie Mae, a player in the national secondary mortgage market and unwitting owner of numerous abandoned properties in the Greater Cleveland area, has reached a deal with the newly formed Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation to sell properties to it for $1 each.

Compared with our last report

On October 30, a coalition of federal regulators issued the Policy Statement on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts. The Statement is designed to give greater flexibility to lenders in renegotiating or restructuring loans secured by commercial real estate, and should aid the flow of financing to credit-worthy borrowers. 

The first purpose of the Statement

Ohio’s Budget Bill, signed by Governor Ted Strickland on July 17, contained provisions authorizing Ohio’s first state-run New Markets Tax Credit, as well as substantially revising the state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit. Here is a breakdown of each:

New Markets Tax Credit

 

Modeled after the federal New Markets Tax Credit, the state program allows up to a nearly $1 million cumulative, nonrefundable tax credit for an entity that holds an investment in a “qualified community development entity” over the next seven years. Like the federal Credit, the Program is intended to aid development in low-income areas where new projects are typically more difficult to finance.

 

Only insurance companies and financial institutions are eligible to receive the credit, and they may do so by holding a “qualified equity investment.” A “qualified equity investment” is an investment in a “qualified community development entity” (i.e. an entity with an allocation agreement under the Federal Credit that does business in Ohio) that: (1) is acquired solely for cash after July 17, 2009; (2) has at least 85% of its purchase price used to invest in low-income communities; and (3) is designated by the issuer as a qualified equity investment. 

 

To receive the credit, the community development entity must invest in a “qualified active low income community business” (“QALICB”). The intention behind this provision is to ensure the credit is used for new projects that actively promote job creation in the state. The QALICB definition excludes from such businesses those that derive 15% of annual revenue from real estate, such as developers. The language may permit a developer to be a QALICB, however, if it is the end user of the property through a sale-leaseback transaction. The program permits investment in a special purpose entity (“SPE”), principally owned by the property user, if the SPE was formed solely to rent or sell the property back to the principal user. Therefore, a developer could form an SPE and lease the property to itself as the owner of a separate end user entity, so long as the user is not itself a real estate developer.

 

An eligible entity may receive the credit if it holds such an investment on the first day of January in 2010 through 2016. The Program credit is equal to the “applicable percentage” of the purchase price. In years 2010 and 2011, however, the applicable percentage is zero. In 2012, the credit is seven percent, and in 2013 through 2016 the credit is eight percent. At the end of seven years, the entity may receive a 39% credit on a statutorily capped maximum investment price of $2,564,000, for a total credit of up to $999,960. The total amount of credits allocated by the state under the Program each year may not exceed $10 million.

 

Ohio joins a number of states that offer a New Markets Tax Credit in conjunction with the federal Credit. The Program should be a useful tool, along with the Historic Preservation and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, for encouraging investment in underserviced areas.

 

 


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Some time ago in this space I wrote about the prospects for revitalization from the creation of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, better known as the County Landbank. Since then the Landbank has gotten up and running, or walking perhaps, but has made little progress toward its goal of returning significant amounts of abandoned and

Courtesy of DailyHaHa.com  http://www.dailyhaha.com/_pics/notice_the_notice.htmA helpful reminder to lenders – if you’re going to foreclose, read the note and mortgage and do what they say. In a recent Ohio Court of Appeals case, the bank failed to follow these instructions and was rewarded by having its foreclosure complaint dismissed. 

The borrower missed a payment on her mortgage and the bank

The rights of owners and tenants in post-foreclosure property have been dramatically altered by new legislation signed by President Obama. On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the “Helping Families Save Their Home Act,” which contained provisions to aid renters whose landlords go through foreclosure. Title VII of the Helping Families Act (the “Act”) is

In U.S. Bank National Association  v. Gullotta, 120 Ohio St 3d 399, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that multiple actions under the same note and mortgage are subject to the two-dismissal rule and res judicata preclusion. The decision could have far-reaching implications for lenders seeking to workout loans with troubled borrowers.   

The history of the case is important to understanding its impact. In June 2003, Giuseppe Gullotta entered into a note and mortgage with MILA, Inc., which assigned the note to U.S. Bank. In April 2004, U.S. Bank filed a foreclosure complaint for the total principal due on the note, plus interest from November 1, 2003. It voluntarily dismissed this complaint in June 2004. In September 2004, U.S. Bank filed a second identical complaint, except with interest running from December 1, 2003, which it also voluntarily dismissed in March 2005. In October 2005, U.S. Bank filed a third foreclosure complaint on Gullotta’s note and mortgage. After Gullotta filed a motion to dismiss, U.S. Bank amended its complaint to seek interest only from April 1, 2005 (the first missed payment date after its second dismissal).

Ohio Civil Procedure Rules state that “a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits of any claim that the plaintiff has once dismissed in any court.” A second dismissal is with prejudice and res judicata preclusion takes effect. Under a res judicata analysis, any claim “arising out of the transaction or occurrence that was the subject matter of the previous action” is barred. 

The Court held that each missed payment under the same note and mortgage does not give rise to a new claim, and therefore U.S. Bank’s two earlier dismissals precluded a third action. It premised this holding on four critical facts: 1) the underlying note and mortgage never changed, 2) the bank accelerated the payment upon initial default and demanded the same principal payment in every complaint, 3) Gullotta never made another payment after his initial default, and 4) U.S. Bank never reinstated the loan. 


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