HarborView Towers condo association seeks bankruptcy
The association that runs one of the Baltimore's ritziest addresses seeks bankruptcy protection
The Baltimore Sun
By Staff reports
10 March 2016

The condominium owners association at the HarborView Towers has filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors after its bank accounts were frozen amid a long-running legal dispute over water leaks and mold problems in one of the building's penthouses.

The Council of Unit Owners of the 100 Harborview Drive Condominium is seeking to reorganize its debts and continue operating in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, filed in Baltimore's federal bankruptcy court.

The 249-unit tower, which rises 30 stories above Key Highway and the harbor in Federal Hill, opened in 1993.

Chapter 11 protection

"With contested litigation filed by a condominium owner over the course of several years, Chapter 11 protection will enable The HarborView Towers and the Council to continue to conduct its business operations while it develops a plan addressing the interests of all creditors and owners going forward," said Dr. Reuben Mezrich, the Council's board president, in a statement. "This was a necessary decision as a result of judgments entered against the Council and subsequent garnishments that froze our banking and management accounts and prevented us from providing necessary services to our constituents."

The legal dispute began in 2010 when the council was sued in Baltimore Circuit Court by Penthouse 4C LLC, owned by James W. Ancel Sr., who said numerous leaks in the building had caused water damage and mold in his unit, making it uninhabitable. The case was sent to arbitration, which resulted in a decision giving the council two years to make necessary repairs.

Condominium associations are responsible for maintaining and operating the shared parts of a condominium development such as the exterior, pools and landscaping.

When the repairs were not completed on time, the circuit court found the council in contempt in 2012 and ordered it to pay Ancel $15,543 a month for living expenses, retroactive to Jan. 1 of that year. The council lost its appeal of the decision at the Court of Special Appeals in August 2015.

In a release about the bankruptcy, the council said it recently completed more than $7.8 million in repairs and improvements to the building's interior, exterior, roof, and fašade.

In its initial bankruptcy filing, the council reported it had both assets and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million. It said it largest unsecured creditor is Constantine Commercial Construction Inc. of Timonium, owed $203,516, followed by Baltimore Gas and Electric and the City of Baltimore, due $93,164 and $63,604, respectively.

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