SHARON Facing property-seizure threat, 4 businesses make payments

SHARON, Pa. -- The Mercer County sheriff won't be seizing property anytime soon from four city businesses that were behind on municipal loan payments.
Three have made some effort to catch up on their loan delinquencies and one company has paid off its loan.
City council voted April 26 to have the city solicitor file a writ of execution of judgment in Mercer County Common Pleas Court to allow the sheriff to seize personal property such as cash from the register, furniture and other items to satisfy the debts -- even though council didn't know at the time if any of the four were still delinquent and couldn't even name all four businesses.
William Madden, city solicitor, said the four companies began making arrangements to get caught up on their loans shortly after council's action and he hasn't filed for execution of the judgments against them.
The judgments themselves had been filed in court a month ago and all that was needed to send the sheriff to collect on the debts was a writ of execution, Madden said.
Loan program: The companies borrowed money through the city's revolving loan program for small businesses and Madden's office handles the loan paperwork on behalf of the city, said Mayor Robert T. Price.
The loan requests are channeled through an independent committee and city council only gets recommendations to approve or reject specific loans, Price said, explaining the program was structured that way to avoid any hint of politics in granting loans.
Price said Billy's Black and Gold, a bar/restaurant on Sharpsville Avenue, borrowed $20,000 and a check with Madden's office showed that the owner made a $1,080 payment last week to bring that account up to date.
The other three businesses, Central Perk & amp; Deli on Chestnut Avenue, The Rib Connection on Dock Street and West Penn Home Equity Corp. on Vine Avenue each borrowed $10,000, Price said.
Madden's office reported that West Penn made a $1,900 payment last week, paying off its loan; Central Perk made a $300 payment on a delinquency of $1,400 with a promise to pay off the rest of the delinquency by June 1; and The Rib Connection made a $179 monthly payment on an $875 delinquency but is still four months behind on its payments.