CAMDEN Citing missed payments, a bank that helped finance the development of Campbell's Field, where the Camden Riversharks play, is suing to recover $4.6 million in loans.
Santander Bank, a Wilmington-based entity formerly known as Sovereign Bank, filed the suit in federal court in Camden on Dec. 4.
The bank is asking for a judgment against CFDA Baseball Property Inc., the Cooper's Ferry Partnership subsidiary that took the loans out to build the stadium. It is asking for the same judgment against Camden Baseball L.L.C., owner of the Riversharks, as the guarantor of the loans.
The suit says the bank had sent notice as part of a 45-day "cure period" for other involved organizations, including Rutgers-Camden, which has title to the property, to resolve the issue. None responded, the suit says. Each day that passes, the bank says, it is owed an additional $163.25 in interest, plus costs and fees.
In 2002, Rutgers-Camden paid $1 to acquire title to the property. The nominal fee made Rutgers-Camden the lessor, but it has no financial stake in the stadium, said Larry R. Gaines, the campus vice chancellor for administration and finance.
"Other than the fact that we have title to the stadium, the stadium is collateral to the debt," Gaines said.
Cooper's Ferry did not return calls for comment Friday. The Riversharks declined to comment.
Adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on prime waterfront real estate, the stadium was a major component of a push by the nonprofit Cooper's Ferry Partnership to develop the area into a tourist draw. Nearby sites include the Susquehanna Bank Center and the Adventure Aquarium.
In 2002, according to the lawsuit, "the bank granted Camden Baseball the right to operate and manage the stadium property and to collect the rents."
With the Riversharks as the tenant, the monthly rent payments - "equal to the debt service" on the loans - were to be made directly by Camden Baseball to the bank.
Trouble arose in 2004 when, the bank says, payments fell into default.
A notice was sent Feb. 20, 2004; a month later, an agreement was signed to "cure" the default, with a series of modifications to the loan agreements over the next few years.
That was the first default, according to the suit.
Now Cooper's Ferry and Camden Baseball are on the hook for missed payments again, the lawsuit says.
According to the suit, Camden Baseball made a proposal to "restructure the payment obligations due." The bank rejected that proposal Jan. 9.
The next month, the bank said, it sent a default notice that the debt-linked rent payments had not been paid for January and February.