Directors of the Omaha charity whose bankrupt affiliate borrowed $25 million to build apartments with the participation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have been sent subpoenas asking for information about their dealings with the government agency.
The subpoenas ask Tapestry Group board members Gerald Keating, Michael Wilcox and Sam Murante to appear at a deposition, to submit documents, and to answer questions about the $25 million loan their Omaha-based nonprofit secured to build a 264-unit apartment building in Panama City, Fla.
The subpoenas are civil matters, part of court filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Omaha after Waterstone at Panama City apartments filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. Tapestry, which describes itself as an IRS-tax exempt charity dedicated to housing development, borrowed $25 million via a HUD loan program in 2008 to build the Waterstone at Panama City apartments.
The subpoenas ask for “true and correct copies of any and all documents, including but not limited to emails, evidencing any correspondence by and between you and any employees or agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding the loan.”
The bankruptcy has been disputed. Lenox Mortgage, the Massachusetts-based lender now owed $25 million by Tapestry after the loan was sold, filed papers this month saying interim Tapestry president and Omaha real-estate developer Gene Wilczewski lacked the authority to seek bankruptcy protection on behalf of the charity.
Lenox said Wilczewski-controlled companies are seeking about $737,000 as creditors of the bankrupt apartments. Lenox’s court papers also say the bankruptcy filing concealed the existence of earlier fraud lawsuits against Tapestry.
Also glossed over in the filing, Lenox said, was that Tapestry was found in contempt of court by a federal judge in Tennessee for not paying a contractor owed $510,000, after being ordered to do so. All told, Lenox said, the bankruptcy case should be thrown out. A judge has set hearings on the matter for next month.
As part of the effort, Lenox is attempting to dig deeper into Tapestry with the subpoenas involving the Omaha-based directors.
Wilczewski via email declined to comment on the subpoenas.
Attempts to reach Tapestry director Wilcox were unsuccessful. A certified public accountant, he is listed as the chief executive on the website of an Omaha company called Dimensions in Senior Living, and as having ownership interests in an accounting firm and five assisted living centers. Emails and telephone messages to Wilcox at Dimensions in Senior Living were not returned.
Attempts to reach Tapestry director Keating via emails to his Omaha attorney, John Stalnacker, were unsuccessful. Stalnacker filed court papers this week saying his client is ill and unable to comply with the subpoena.
Tapestry director Murante, owner of Murante Real Estate in Omaha, said he would consult with his attorney before commenting. .
Marta Metelko, a spokeswoman for the HUD inspector general, said the office as a routine practice neither confirms nor denies the existence of investigations into loan partners who have filed for bankruptcy.