Eleventh-hour fundraiser may stall Great Passion Play foreclosure

On behalf of The Rollins Law Firm posted in Foreclosure on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

Foreclosure is not a problem experienced exclusively by Mississippi's residential property owners. It also occurs in the commercial real estate market. Rather than choosing to rent, some companies decide to purchase buildings for business use. Unless they have the resources to buy the properties outright, these companies usually take out mortgages. However, if financial challenges later arise, loan payment obligations can become difficult to meet. If delinquencies continue for several months, mortgage lenders frequently initiate foreclosure proceedings.

The Great Passion Play, operated by the Smith Foundation in another state, has been a popular tourist attraction for several decades. The current crisis arose when the organization could not afford the $75,000 annual interest payment associated with its mortgage for the Passion Play grounds. More recently, the Smith Foundation had given its mortgage lender, Cornerstone Bank, the property's deed in lieu of foreclosure.

The Arkansas-based organization had until mid-afternoon on Jan. 2 to produce the funds. In the event of nonpayment, its deed was scheduled to pass to Cornerstone Bank. A secondary note associated with the association's $2.8 million total bank debt had previously been restructured into monthly payments, which were set to begin in June.

As the result of an emergency fundraiser initiated by the Oklahoma-based Gospel Station Network, cash donations and pledges totaling more than the $75,000 interest payment were gathered before the deadline. The founder of the Gospel Station Network stated that his nonprofit organization intended to purchase the Passion Play and would create a strategy to pay off the rest of the group's $2.8 million debt.

Although the above mentioned case took place in Arkansas, companies based in Mississippi often face similar problems. Depending on the economic success of the business, a purchased property can turn into a profitable asset or become a burden. Unfortunately, many business owners facing foreclosure proceedings are unaware of the breadth of their legal options. If all available avenues are pursued, foreclosures can potentially be stalled, giving financially troubled companies the time they need to recuperate.

Source: Lovely County Citizen, "Gospel Station Radio Network spearheads last-minute drive to save Great Passion Play," Don Lee, Jan. 2, 2013

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