Property management group accuses finance company of defamation

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 1, 2010, 3:00am

GALVESTON - South Belt Properties Management claims John James deliberately engaged in activities that were detrimental to its business and reputation, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 12 in Galveston County District Court, the commercial real estate management company insists that defendant James somehow acquired its loan account with LaSalle Bank and padded it with "excessive and outrageous fees."

South Belt further explains that James, an accounts services representative for Crown NorthCorp, "intentionally and outrageously made material statements" to its principal and a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in an effort to defame.

Crown NorthCorp provides mortgage and asset management services to commercial real estate investors and operators.

The defendant's alleged actions were designed to deprive South Belt of its property interest in a 16-unit apartment complex in Texas City, the original petition states.

It adds that the defendant presented false testimony about South Belt's account to a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, pointing out that the court relied on said testimony to rule in favor of foreclosure on the apartments.

The plaintiff alleges it lost about $300,000 because of James' reported conduct.

Attorney Paul H. LaValle of Texas City is representing South Belt, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. 10-cv-4152

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