Last updated: February 21. 2014 11:40PM - 1743 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

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WILKES-BARRE — A lending company is suing the Rice Township Volunteer Fire Department Association over a $43,200 mortgage loan, alleging the association has allowed the loan to fall into arrears three months after it was approved.

Fairway Consumer Discount Company filed the case Friday afternoon in Luzerne County Court.

According to the filing, the loan was made on Nov. 22, with the fire association promising to pay 180 monthly installments of $575 on the association’s property, with the first payment due to be made on Dec. 22.

But the fire association has failed to make payments for two months, Fairway alleges, with the total due to the lender climbing to $51,189 as of Jan. 22. That total includes principal, interest, late charges, fees and penalties and attorneys’ commission, according to the lawsuit.

Fairway’s suit is only the latest controversy surrounding fire services in the community.

Last summer, the Rice Township Board of Supervisors decertified its volunteer department in the wake of years of poor management and allegations of financial malfeasance against several officials. Rice Township contracted with neighboring Wright Township Fire Department at the end of June to provide firefighting service.

But Rice Township firefighters, who own the station property and hold leases for their trucks, were maintaining their status as a department under the new name Independence Fire & Rescue Co. No. 1, although they were not accredited by Luzerne County 911.

Efforts to locate Rice Township Volunteer Fire Department Association officials were not successful on Friday.

Rice Township solicitor Jack Dean on Friday said a hearing has been scheduled for April 15 in county court on a petition by the Attorney General’s Office to dissolve the non-profit.

Fairway is seeking a judgment for the return of its $51,189, plus any interest, legal fees and the cost of collection efforts until the matter is resolved.

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