JOHN MARTIN

JOHN MARTIN

A taxpayer-funded agency is about to foreclose on a restaurant and bar owned by former state Rep. John Martin and a partner unless they can repay $232,000 in loans by the end of March.

A judge has ordered foreclosure and sale of the Tamarack Inn in Eagle Lake, as well as another Martin property used as collateral for loans from the Northern Maine Development Commission, a publicly-funded agency.

The foreclosure order includes a 90-day grace period during which Martin and his partner can exercise their “right of redemption” and keep the properties if they can pay off the loan.

Martin says he’ll find the money. “I’m making progress and we’re going to be buying it out,” he said in a brief telephone interview.

Duane Walton, director of business finance for the Commission, said last week, “As far as I know, that’s not happened. Mr. Martin has made several appointments to come in and talk with us and has not followed through with those appointments.”

Martin and partner Timmy Soucie owe the Commission almost $232,000 in loans and interest on the Tamarack Inn. On July 12, the commission filed a complaint for foreclosure in an Aroostook County court.

Martin and Soucie formed Tamarack Hill Inc., which owns the restaurant, in 2008. They took commercial loans for the business in 2008, 2009 and 2010, each providing personal guarantees for the loans.

Until the property goes up for sale, Walton said Martin and Soucie’s business can continue to operate.

Martin has a history of financial trouble, including delinquency in his local, state and federal taxes. He also defaulted on guarantees he made on a loan made by the Finance Authority of Maine to a business in which he was a partner. After the court found him in default, Martin settled the debt for $20,000 of the almost $22,000 owed.

Martin’s current financial troubles include the bankruptcy of an Eagle Lake convenience store and gas station he owns with another partner. A $250,000 debt to Irving Oil and almost $50,000 in debts to others forced that business into Chapter 11 earlier this year.

Martin served 46 years in the House and Senate.


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