Siegel Group owner says disputes have been settled

Real estate investor Stephen Siegel said the move to impose a receiver on three of his Las Vegas suite properties has been settled on undisclosed terms.

Siegel, chief executive officer of Siegel Group Nevada Inc., owed a combined $21.3 million on the Sahara, Craig and St. Louis suites, with all three loans running on identical timetables and with similar terms.

Current mortgage holder Bank of America filed a complaint in Clark County District Court on Feb. 28 contending that Siegel had stoped making payments in November, prompting the bank to begin not only litigation, but foreclosure proceedings.

Siegel said Monday he is current on his loans and that the case would be dismissed, although he did not dispute the contentions in court papers. Bank of America attorney Bryce Kunimoto declined comment.

Siegel attributed the court filing to a new bank officer who took on his portfolio about six weeks ago, during negotiations to restructure the loans — or what he termed “moving forward on an adjusted basis.”

“That person never met with me or walked the properties,” said Siegel. “They just filed a lawsuit with no notice.”

However, this was not Siegel’s first problem with the bank. Last June, Bank of America filed suit to place the Sahara suites under the control of a receiver after contending that Siegel had defaulted on a different loan. That case was settled and dismissed in less than a month.

In the most recent case, Siegel said, “When lawsuits get filed, it gets costly … and sort of speeds up the process to work thinks out.”

He said he is now attempting to rework the loan terms on two other suite properties. He declined to say why, although he said he can service those debts.

Siegel has made a specialty in recent years of picking up hotels that have fallen on hard times and refurbishing them, most recently the now-closed Atrium Suites Hotel.

Siegel Suites, which he calls furnished apartments with no-lease weekly or monthly rates, now number 16 locations, with all but two in the Las Vegas area. The loans on the three that wound up in court were originated by First Republic Bank in August 2007, just as the real estate market started to disintegrate.

All three loans required interest-only payments during the first four years, then the monthly payments rose last October as principal reduction kicked in.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.

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