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Local restaurant behind on loan payments to county

Feb 14, 2018 12:12PM ● Published by Editor

By Joe Friedrichs of WTIP Radio News - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The owners of the Birch Terrace Supper Club in Grand Marais have not made payments to the county’s revolving loan fund in more than two years, a fact that raised concern among the Cook County Board of Commissioners during a meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13 at the county courthouse.  

During the meeting, Cook County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers shared some news and updates from the Cook County Revolving Loan Committee. A portion of the conversation focused on payments that are not being made by the owners of the local restaurant.

Commissioner Bobby Deschampe said he was concerned with late payments from Birch Terrace. The owners have not made a payment on their loan from the county in more than two years, according to notes from the Revolving Loan Committee.

Powers said there are two members of the revolving loan committee who are speaking personally with the owners of the business before the county attorney’s office becomes involved.

Commissioner Jan Sivertson asked what the policy is when payments are not made to the county’s revolving loans. Powers said the first action is a financial penalty of 10 percent for late payments.

“They’re way past that,” Powers said of the late payments from the owners of Birch Terrace.

After late-fee penalties are implemented, the county can take legal action against the parties in violation, Powers said.  The action could be to force someone into bankruptcy, he added.

The commissioners expressed concern that late payments or failure to pay back county loans in this program can have negative impacts for the county, including the ability to provide funding support for local entrepreneurs. It can also have a negative impact on the county budget.

No official action was taken Tuesday morning regarding Birch Terrace and their failure to make payments on a loan to the county. WTIP will share more information on this story as it becomes available.

In more news from the Revolving Loan Committee, the owners of the Hungry Hippie Hostel, Jeremy and Kate Keeble, made a request of a 20-year, $70,000 loan to purchase Hughie’s Tacos in Grand Marais. The approval of this revolving loan from the county is contingent on the Keebles receiving supplemental loan funds from their bank, Powers said. The Keebles have plans to expand the local restaurant and business, including more staff, possible catering opportunities and the seating inside the restaurant.

The Keebles have previous experience regarding financial relations to the county, including paying off a revolving loan they took out to start the Hungry Hippie Hostel. The Keebles' request to purchase Hughie’s Tacos was approved by the commissioners on a unanimous vote. 

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