Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Longville lands in limbo

Published:Sunday | February 26, 2017 | 2:00 AMNeville Graham

Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) is hunting buyers for property at Longville Park in Clarendon, which it took over from an unnamed developer.

JMB since at least November last year has been advertising for investors for the near-77-acre property, identified as Longville Park Volume 1438 Folio 765, under power of sale. Subdivision approval for residential homes was obtained by the previous owner, JMB said in its ad soliciting investors.

However, the state-owned mortgage bank is refusing to disclose the size of the loan to the developer, which was secured by a mortgage, the amount outstanding on the debt, nor even to confirm who it confiscated the property from. However, other records indicate that the bank is trying to recover around $77 million, plus interest.

Titles Office records indicate that the property was acquired in 2015 by a company called Longville Estates (Jamaica) Limited for US$1.1 million.

On Monday, JMB's in-house counsel, when advised that the nature of the call related to the advertised property, immediately asked: "Do you want it to buy?" This despite the fact that the closing date for bids had long passed on December 9. Further enquiries were directed to JMB General Manager Courtney Wynter.

"The bank is selling the Longville property under our power of sale. It is not our practice to divulge information on our clients," said Wynter, who also refused to answer specific queries about the outcome of the tender.

TITLE TRANSFERRED

In mid-June of 2015, the title for the property was transferred to Longville Estates (Jamaica) Limited, a company incorporated months earlier in January 2015, with Gerry McKenna of Enfield, Middlesex, England as director and shareholder. On the same day, Mortgage No. 1946374 was registered by JMB to secure $77.09 million, with interest.

Longville Estates also lists attorney-at-law Lorna Phillips as company secretary. Phillips' law firm, Nicholson Phillips Attorney-at-Law, lodged a caveat against the property in November 2016, citing "estate claimed equitable interest" on behalf of Longville Estates.

Phillips declined to comment about the Longville matter, saying she would have to take instructions from her client.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com