Fayetteville lender Signature Bank of Arkansas is suing Creative Things LLC of Lowell for more than $4.3 million in unpaid loans and looking to foreclose on properties that were used to secure the loans.
Creative Things, as recently as two years ago, manufactured products sold in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. locations. Others named in the suit were seven LLCs managed by company president Keith Scheffler and his wife, Crystal Scheffler.
The Benton County Tax Collector, Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansas Development Finance Authority were also named.
In three loans, issued between December 2014 and February 2015, Creative Things borrowed nearly $4.64 million from Signature Bank.
The loans were secured with 4.95 acres at 406 S. Lincoln St. in Lowell that included 10,980-SF and 1,560-SF buildings, 11.78 acres at 16514 Arkansas Highway 12, west of Highfill, which included a 16,000-SF building and a $1 million MetLife Investors USA Insurance Co. life insurance policy.
When asked for comment via email, Charles S. Trantham, attorney for Signature Bank, said “considering the lawsuit was filed [Aug. 18], it would be premature to predict what the outcome will be. However, the borrower and guarantors have been cooperating with Signature Bank.”
Gary Head, president of Signature Bank, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Attorney Rayburn W. Green, partner at Kutak Rock LLP in Fayetteville, was listed as registered agent for several respondents, including Veteran Arms LLC, Retail Renewables LLC and XNA Staffing LLC. However, Green said he was not involved in the suit and did not know who was representing Keith Scheffler in the case.
When called, listed numbers for Keith Scheffler and Creative Things were not working numbers.
The bank filed the suit in Benton County Circuit Court on Aug. 18. Circuit Judge Doug Schrantz was assigned to the case.
Scott Hardin, director of communications for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said the agency provided a $125,000 grant and a $1.2 million loan to Creative Things. The company still owes $996,000 on the loan.
“It is likely AEDC will file suit in the near future related to the funds owed,” Hardin said.
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority was guarantor for up to $1 million of the $3.16 million loan from Signature Bank. The guaranty amount has decreased $142,857 per year, “so the current outstanding amount owed is $857,143,” said Derrick Rose, public information officer for the agency.
“At the time of the loan, the company had orders to manufacture products that exceeded its manufacturing capacity. To accommodate production requirements and fulfill new contracts the company needed to expand and upgrade its plant facilities.”
The Benton County Tax Collector was listed in the suit because of real estate taxes, tax collector Gloria Peterson said. “This is a very common legal procedure when it comes to a petition for foreclosure.”
In an unrelated case filed Sept. 7, Zac Slade is suing Create Things for $13,750, claiming the company failed to pay the Fayetteville software developer for programming services between December and March.