Lajuana Woods, the owner of Lamos Entertainment, the parent company of L'Jua's Restaurant, stands in front of the business in this file photo. The city of Albany has foreclosed on the property, prompting her to file suit to set the foreclosure aside.
ALBANY, Ga. — The City of Albany has foreclosed on a restaurant owned by a former board member of the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority after they say more than $200,000 in community and economic development loans have gone unpaid.
Originally in a second-tier lien position to Capitol City Bank for the restaurant known as L'Juas on the 700 block of Radium Springs Road, the city of Albany essentially bought out the bank's debt for nearly $100,000, so they could foreclose on the property in hopes of selling it and getting at least a portion of their money back.
"We have no desire to be in the restaurant business," City Manager James Taylor said Tuesday. "Had we not bought Capitol City's interest in the property, they would've foreclosed and we would've lost any money that had been paid out. So we plan to offload it and get whatever we can out of it to satisfy the note."
But owner LaJuana Woods, the former ADICA board member who was forced to repay $50,000 in questionable facade grants she was granted by former ADICA CEO Don Buie, has since filed suit against the city, seeking an injunction to block it from selling the restaurant and seeking a court order to undo the foreclosure.
The $50,000 has been repaid, city officials say.
In the suit, Woods contends that the city failed to follow Georgia law when it brokered the deal with Capitol City Bank and then foreclosed on the property, specifically in connection with how the law requires non-judicial foreclosure sales to be held.
Woods also says the city has not followed the terms of the security deed that was agreed upon when Woods first accepted the money on the property.
Sam Engram, the attorney arguing the case for the city, said Tuesday that the city plans to fight the suit.
The suit comes at the same time that Woods has filed for bankruptcy protection in U.S. District Court. Woods lists the city as a debtor in her bankruptcy filing, noting the $200,000 owed for the property.