Fairness Prime Mortgage accused of not paying hire
Two rent-related lawsuits were lodged by separate property companies against Atlanta-based Equity Prime Mortgage LLC, adding to the outstanding number of litigation battles the multi-channel lender has to resolve, including one filed by a NASCAR team in late-December.
The lease lawsuits were lodged in Florida and Missouri two months apart by landlords accusing the mortgage company of not paying rent for office spaces.
A suit filed in Florida by TGT Maitland, LLC in April accuses the lender of “failing and refusing to pay the rent and other amounts owed under the lease” for an office space it has been renting since 2019. The sum owed as of March 6 totals close to $30,000.
A month prior, litigation was filed on behalf of Weldon Centre, LLC, a company that owns buildings in Missouri. The company filed a rent and possession lawsuit, a method commonly used by landlords when tenants do not pay rent.
Details regarding the lawsuit are sparse, but as of April 3 the case has been marked as resolved. The attorney representing Weldon Centre would not provide further information about the case.
According to the lawsuit filed in Florida, EPM, which has headquarters in Atlanta, has been renting the office owned by TGT Maitland since May 2019. In September 2022 the mortgage shop renewed the lease for an additional three years. The rent currently due by EPM totals at least three months, with the monthly rate of the property coming in at $8,817, documents show.
The landlord of the property is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 to cover the lease, attorney’s fees and court costs. TGT Maitland is also holding onto a $9 thousand security deposit from EPM, which it will apply to the sum owed, the lawsuit said.
EPM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The back-to-back lawsuits come after Jesse Iwuji Motorsports announced that it was suing EPM for $4.1 million in a Florida federal court, claiming the firm stopped making six-figure monthly payments last September for commitments including stock car signage.
Per the lawsuit, an EPM executive told the team it wouldn’t make further sponsorship payments because of a “margin call” and was suffering financially from mortgage rate hikes.
“Though JIM sympathized with EPM’s predicament and proposed measures in good faith in order to benefit EPM and continue the parties’ relationship, EPM again reiterated in communications with JIM that the effect of the ‘margin call’ was the reason why future payments would not be made,” said Darren Heitner, attorney at Heitner Legal and JIM’s legal representation.
The mortgage shop fired back with a countersuit in February denying accusations of having financial issues and placed the blame of the sponsorship breakdown on the racing team’s own alleged admission of liability. Negotiations between both parties are still ongoing.
EPM has been in the mortgage business since 2008 and is currently licensed in 50 states, with 75 loan officers on board. The company originated $1.9 billion in residential loans between Jan. 1, 2022 and Oct. 31, 2022, according to data from by S&P Global.