Defaulted loan leads bank to seek takeover of Bijou Center |

Defaulted loan leads bank to seek takeover of Bijou Center

Ryan Hoffman |
Tahoe Wellness Cooperative Executive Director Cody Bass turned in signatures for a cannabis ballot measure Wednesday.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.— A defaulted loan granted to the previous owner of the Bijou Shopping Center could lead to a takeover of the building despite it being under new ownership. But the new owner is confident the issue will be resolved before it comes to that.

U.S. Bank is requesting to take control of and manage the property, commonly known as the Bijou Shopping Center, which is now owned by Cody Bass. The Bijou center houses several businesses, including Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, which Bass founded.

U.S. Bank is asking for the action, according to court documents, because it says the building’s previous owner, Patricia Olson, repeatedly violated the terms of the loan.

The filing states that Olson, who is now in her 90s, had not made a regular payment on the loan since August 2016. The loan, issued for $950,000 in 2003, fully matured in May of this year and Olson has yet to pay the remaining amount owed.

According to separate bankruptcy documents, the loan was amended multiple times. The amount owed as of May 15 was $921,672.

U.S. Bank’s motion also points to an unauthorized transfer of the property. Olson sold the property to Bass, who purchased the property under the business name Green Bijou Properties, this past summer. According to bankruptcy documents, Bass offered $4.2 million for the property.

Olson, who was involved in bankruptcy proceedings from January 2017 until July 2018, also failed to pay property taxes and pay hazard and flood insurance for multiple years.

Permitting the sale of cannabis also went against the terms of the loan, U.S. Bank — a federally insured bank — argued.

Despite selling the property, Olson never repaid the amount owed to U.S. Bank, confirmed Donna Parkinson with Parkinson Phinney, the firm representing the bank.

The Tribune was unable to locate Olson, who is now in her 90s and lives off of the hill, for comment. The attorney who recently represented Olson in her bankruptcy case is out of the country.

The issue, according to Bass, centers on U.S. Bank’s refusal to deal with a cannabis business. His attorney is in communication with the bank, and Bass said he is “absolutely confident” the note will be paid.

In addition to seeking control of the property, U.S. Bank’s court filing requests a temporary injunction to prevent Olson, Bass or anyone else from interfering with the property management.

The matter is scheduled to go to hearing at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the El Dorado County courthouse in South Lake Tahoe. However, Bass said he is confident it will not reach that point.

“I can very much promise you it won’t get to that level.”

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