Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, Inc. v. Ichthus Community TrustAnnotate this Case
Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless (the “Task Force”) operated a homeless shelter in a building located in downtown Atlanta (“the property”). The Task Force owned the property unencumbered from 1997 to 2001, when it took out a total of $900,000 in loans with its two original lenders, Institute for Community Economics (“ICE”) and the McAuley Institute, which transferred its promissory note and security deed to Mercy Housing, Inc. (“Mercy”). In 2009, the Task Force was in default on its loans with ICE and Mercy, but the parties entered into forbearance agreements in which ICE and Mercy agreed to do nothing on the notes until 2010. In early 2010, however, defendant Ichthus Community Trust purchased the outstanding notes from ICE and Mercy, using money borrowed from defendant Premium Funding Solutions, LLC (“PFS”) to buy the notes. After the forbearance period had expired and the Task Force had not made payment, Ichthus foreclosed on the property and sold it on the courthouse steps in May 2010. Ichthus, as the sole bidder, purchased the property for at least the amount it paid for the notes. Ichthus then filed an to evict the Task Force. At the same time, Ichthus also filed a dispossessory action in magistrate court; but this action and any other dispossessory efforts by Ichthus were ultimately stayed. The Task Force counterclaimed for injunctive relief to maintain its right of possession (wrongful foreclosure) and to quiet title in the property. In addition, the Task Force counterclaimed for: violations of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act; tortious interference with business relations; libel, slander and defamation; bad faith; and punitive damages. In June 2010, the Task Force filed a separate action against Central Atlanta Progress (“CAP”), Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (“ADID”), Benevolent Community Investing Company, LLC (“BCIC”), PFS, and Emanual Fialkow (“defendants”) for the same relief it counterclaimed for against Ichthus. In 2011, while these actions were pending, Ichthus defaulted on its loan obligation with PFS and, as a result, Ichthus executed a warranty deed and transferred its interest in the property to PFS. At issue before the Supreme Court were two lower court orders: an order lifting a stay and allowing for the filing of the dispossessory action, and an order deciding the validity of several substantive issues on summary judgment. The Supreme Court did not reach the merits of the order granting leave to file a dispossessory action, but affirmed in part and reversed in part the summary judgment order.