IROC Foreclosure Looms, White to keep fighting

DERBY – U.S. Rural Development (RD) and Community National Bank have denied IROC’s request to postpone foreclosure action for one year. IROC is in debt for $1.1 million and has been unable to make the mortgage payments.Phil White, the unpaid executive director of IROC, had requested that RD and the bank wait on foreclosure until next year following Town Meeting Day. White is petitioning towns to ask voters to approve giving IROC money every year for ten years. However, the lenders say that there is no guarantee the plan will work.“Unfortunately we cannot agree to delay the legal action until March 2013 based on the proposals and projection you presented. There still remains a lack of concrete evidence of the ability to pay,” wrote Beth Morin of Community National Bank in a letter to IROC. Morin said that White can expect to hear from the bank’s lawyer soon.“We are very, very disappointed in this action and will ask the courts for as much time as we can get to allow us to go to the towns with our ten year contract proposals,” White said in response.The loans are 90 percent guaranteed by RD, therefore RD calls the shots on the request, White said. White goes on to say that when Wall Street and certain banks were in trouble, the federal government decided those entities were too big to let fail, referring to the bailouts. “I guess from the federal government’s perspective, our struggling little community center in this most rural and most financially challenged area of the state is just too small to save. We are not asking for forgiveness; all we are asking for is a one year deferral to allow us to continue to grow our revenue base and seek commitments from our towns.”This set back is not going to stop White and others from fighting to save IROC. “We are not about to roll over and give up. This fight is just beginning,” White stated.IROC now has a thrift shop that is generating an estimated $1,000 to $2,000 a month, and the commitments from the Friends of IROC now total more than $200,000 over the next ten years.Petitions will be circulated with the plan of getting towns to support IROC through yearly appropriations for ten years through a contract. Each town would pay annually based on population and proximity to the IROC facility. The figures work out to $4 to $7 per person. The total from all towns is estimated $168,000 annually.The payment would allow all youth through age 18 free memberships. Discounted individual and couple rates are also planned.