MP loses battle with bank
A former attorney-general and government MP has lost an attempt to stop a bank from seizing a piece of land after he defaulted on a $315,000 mortgage.
The Supreme Court heard that Michael Scott, Progressive Labour Party MP for Sandys North, signed an agreement in 2016 where he admitted a $223,000 debt and agreed to repay it.
But the court was told Mr Scott had not made any payments on the $248,000 now owed to Clarien Bank after interest was added.
Alexandra Wheatley, acting Supreme Court Registrar, found in favour of the bank and rejected Mr Scott’s application to suspend execution of the writ to repossess the land.
Ms Wheatley said in a written judgment: “I would have been more sympathetic for the defendant had he been compliant with the terms of the consent order, but for Mr Scott to state in the face of the court he had no prospect of paying at the time he entered into the consent order is alarming.
“Moreover, the fact Mr Scott — particularly taking into account he is senior counsel — made no efforts subsequent to the signing of the consent order to negotiate amended payment terms with the plaintiff or to make an application varying the terms of the consent order, in my view speaks volumes.”
She added: “Had the defendant been compliant with the terms of the consent order, or at the very least provided evidence supporting a change in financial circumstances which rendered him unable to make payments, I would have been more easily persuaded to grant a stay.”
Mr Scott said last night that he was working to settle the matter.
The court heard Mr Scott took a mortgage with Clarien in 2006.
Mr Scott was given $315,000 secured against land on Sound View Road in Sandys.
But a judgment was entered against Mr Scott for $223,109.17, with interest at a rate of 7.75 per cent a year, in 2016.
The court heard Mr Scott later signed a consent order but failed to comply with the terms.
The amount owed had risen to $248,216.18 by the end of April this year when interest was added.
Clarien later filed a writ in a bid to repossess and sell the mortgaged property.
But Mr Scott applied for the writ to be suspended.
He told the court his main concern was that if the writ was allowed it would result in him losing his home, which is separate from the mortgaged property.
Mr Scott proposed repayment of the debt at $2,000 a month — $500 per month less than in the 2016 consent order.
He submitted evidence he would be paid $5,715 a quarter for a board position to show he could make the payments.
But lawyer Richard Horseman, for Clarien, said the proposed payments would cover little more than the interest and reduce the debt by about $7,000 a year.
Ms Wheatley said the Sound View Road property was valued at $225,000 in 2013 but an updated appraisal from 2016 estimated the value had fallen to $140,000.
The court heard Mr Scott turned down an offer for $115,000 in October last year.
Ms Wheatley said: “While Mr Scott averred to have family members interested in purchasing the mortgaged property, no evidence was submitted to support this being a real prospect.”
The acting Registrar said she also had concerns about Mr Scott’s failure to fulfil the consent order.
Ms Wheatley added: “When Mr Scott gave evidence as to why the terms of the consent order were not complied with, he stated ‘there was no real prospect to pay’.
She said: “Mr Horseman understandably raised his concerns as to why Mr Scott had entered into the consent order in those terms in the first place if there was no ability to pay in accordance to the terms of the order.
“Mr Scott did not answer this.”
Ms Wheatley found in favour of Clarien, refusing Mr Scott’s application to stay the execution of the writ and awarding Clarien costs.