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Car dealer, lender negotiate

Glenwood Springs car dealer Ron Esch has withdrawn his lawsuit against a lender, and the lender has delayed foreclosure action against him, as they seek to resolve legal differences over the terms of a $9.985 million loan.Attorneys for Esch’s Glenwood Automotive Group Land Management company and Falcon Financial, a Delaware company, are negotiating in an attempt to settle the matter, they say.The Garfield County Public Trustee’s Office had scheduled a public auction for three of Esch’s properties for today, but it has been delayed until Oct. 31.”I think both sides are proceeding in good faith to explore a way to resolve our differences,” said Patrick Tooley, a Denver attorney representing Esch.J. Thomas Macdonald, an attorney for Falcon Financial, said the auction was delayed by agreement of attorneys for both sides.In moving to dismiss his lawsuit, Esch reserved the right to refile it later if negotiations break down.Esch owns the local Chevrolet, Subaru, Honda and Nissan dealerships. He owes $8.7 million to Falcon Financial from a loan issued in 2000.In June, he sued his lender, saying it misrepresented the terms of the loan. Falcon Financial then foreclosed on Esch’s dealership properties at 130 Center Drive in West Glenwood, and 2718 and 2602 South Glen Ave. Another attorney for Esch has called the foreclosure action retaliation for the lawsuit.Esch contends Falcon Financial charged a higher loan processing fee than he had agreed to pay and demanded a $3.5 million payment if he pays off the loan early. He maintains he had received repeated verbal promises that he would be able to prepay the loan without penalty.Falcon maintains that the terms of the loan processing fee and prepayment penalty are both spelled out in loan documents, and Esch also is barred by statutes of limitations from making claims about a loan made more than six years ago.Esch wants to be able to possibly sell some dealerships and acquire a Cadillac dealership, and also purchase land on Wulfsohn Road. However, he has been unable to complete any deals because his properties continue to be held as collateral for the outstanding loan, his lawsuit contended.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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