BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington bank must re-file its foreclosure action against a McLean County animal rescue group, a judge ruled Monday, citing the bank’s failure to submit certain documents.
Heartland Bank and Trust is seeking foreclosure over $1.1 million it is owed by Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue in rural Colfax. CISAR owes $750,000 in principal and interest on its initial loan and $294,460 on a second mortgage, plus late fees and other charges, according to court records.
Springfield attorney Paul Adami argued on behalf of CISAR operator Pat Burr that the bank did not attach paperwork showing modifications made to the loans, originally issued by Bank of Illinois. Heartland took over the CISAR obligation after Bank of Illinois failed in 2010.
In his arguments, Adami told Judge Rebecca Foley that “we have two loans, multiple mortgages, but the same problem running throughout this case: Heartland Bank has not provided proper documents to support its loan.”
Bank attorney Thomas Howard countered that the nonprofit group did not meet the terms of an agreement to avoid foreclosure and has admitted that the debt is owed.
CISAR provides a service to the community, said Howard, but that contribution to save animals does not preclude the group from its financial obligations.
After the hearing, Burr said CISAR will continue to operate the shelter. She said the group has made substantial payments toward its debt, including paying off a $250,000 loan from Heartland. Problems started when Heartland told Burr that its existing loans would need to be refinanced, something the group has been unable to do, according to Burr.
CISAR operates a no-kill shelter and low-cost veterinary clinic.
Howard said the bank will resubmit its foreclosure notice by next Tuesday. A May 3 hearing is set.