Court Says Benoit Owes Money on Liquor Store

The council member said it is a misunderstanding stemming from his wife's attempt to sell the business.

A Circuit Court in Anne Arundel County has ordered County Council member Jamie Benoit (D-4th District) and his wife to pay back more than $112,000 in loans on a wine and beer store in Piney Orchard.

The court on April 13 issued a Judgment by Confession against the couple for two loans on the store, each with about $50,000 in principal. Court documents list PNC Bank as the lender.

But Jamie Benoit said the whole case is a misunderstanding stemming from his wife's recent effort to sell the business.

“What happened—and I suspect it will get resolved very quickly—is that I think the bank mistakenly thought the business got sold and that the business hadn’t paid the loans,” Jamie Benoit said. “I’ve informed them that the business hasn’t been sold. All the loan payments have been made.”

Hops & Vines has been operated by Jamie Benoit’s wife, Kari, since 2006. Maulik Vyas has been operating the business under a management contract since Kari Benoit began the process of selling him the business last year.

Jamie Benoit has never had an ownership share in the business, but is a guarantor on the loans and is named in the judgment. In court documents, the store is identified as Piney Orchard Wine & Spirits LLC.

Court documents said the Benoits owe $55,823.80 in principal on one loan, plus interest of $1,779.45 and late charges of $4,714.55. They also owe $47,179.22 in principal on a second loan, plus interest of $1,529.06 and late charges of $143.54.

In an email to members of the media, Kari Benoit said she began the process of selling the business late last year, and provided PNC Bank with a copy of the purchase agreement. She said she did not notify her husband that she spoke with the bank. She also said she never stopped making payments on the loans, and only learned about the confessed judgment on Friday.

Jamie Benoit said he was hopeful the sale would be complete within the next 60 to 90 days.

He said that the terms of the loans allowed the bank to file for a confessed judgment, which does not require the debtor to be notified. Such clauses are common in commercial loan agreements, he said.

“In this case, the bank did it to protect rights they thought they were losing," Jamie Benoit said. "I think they thought they weren’t going to get paid because the store had been sold. There’s no payment that’s been skipped.”

Kari Benoit said her husband should receive no blame for the situation, and said she hoped it would be resolved quickly.

"To the extent there is fault in this matter, the fault is mine," she said. "This matter in no way reflects on my husband's judgment as he is a simply a guarantor of the debt owed by my business. I am working diligently and cooperating with PNC to quickly get this matter resolved and will alert you when I do."

A lawyer for PNC Bank did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

Stan Pendergrass May 01, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Did you even read the article?
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Did you Stan?
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 12:06 AM
@ Stan do you have anything relevant to add to the conversation or do you just like to make stupid comments?
Tim Lemke (Editor) May 02, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Again, I'm not going to accept accusations of wrongdoing without evidence. Such comments will be deleted. This is not a forum to insinuate or make statements without facts to support them.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:23 AM
For the most part I believe that Mr. Benoit is as close to be ethical as any politician gets. Although I had some concerns with his being able to get approval for a liquor store so clost to a family swimming pool and assisted living facility when it appears as if the County Codes prohibit it I am please with the way it has been run and the way it fits into the community. As a prior military officer I believe that Mr. Benoit deserves to be taken at this word until otherwise is proven. I hope that when the store finally is sold that he will make his run for the County Exec position that will obviously become open. As far as PNC goes I too have had problems with them and they have cost me several thousand dollars because of their incompentance. I bank with M&T here in Odenton and suggest you look into that bank if you are with PNC. I personally believe that Mr. Benoit left the POCA Board when he saw just how corrupt it was and I applaud him for that. I wish he would seek a criminal investigation into it's doings. Who is 'THE TRUTH'? I feel silly not knowing whether to refer to you by your first name: THE or your last MR TRUTH. Sign me THE MASKED AVENGER
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Try M & T by the gas station. I have never received better service or met friendlier people AND they are the only bank that I know of that supports Piney Orchard at our annual Street Festival.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:30 AM
As with most commercial loans a judgement can be requested if a loan is only one day past due. Most businesses run late on occassion and it's not the fault of the owners. If PNC believed that the business was either sold or about to be sold they appear to have acted legally but this sure as heck is not the type of bank I want to deal with. As with most deals such as this I am sure the only lien they could have secured had to do with inventory and that could be consumed very quickly. I hope the next owner turns it into a massage parlor - I think that would be an appropriate location given the proximity of the pool and assisted living facility.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Chris W has it right. I believe that an exception or variance was needed in order to put it so close to an Assisted Living Facility or a semi-public swimming pool. I don't remember any hearings being held and I certainly don't know of POCA objecting to it. WAY TO GO POCA!!!
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 02:32 AM
@ Ronald my first name is Dave.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Right again Chris W. As a public figure he and his family is fair game. Thank you Tim (of the Patch) for priting this newsworthy story.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:35 AM
This is his wife's finances. Not all married couples (or other couples) co-mingle everything. I don't go near my wife's accounts and would never tell her how to invest her money BUT I would happily co-sign for her if she wanted to open a business.
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 02:37 AM
@Ronald according to the article in the Annapolis Capital PNC is claiming the loans have not been paid in months.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I agree Marc Riley. How about a Chucky Cheese? or a Hooters? A pool hall would give our kids a place to meet! or even a family oriented tatoo parlor.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Try M & T bank by the gas station. I have nad nothing but trouble with PNC. The incompetancy there is staggering!
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Allthough I am absolutly for freedom of speech some of this is bordering the absurd. I believe that 'if you have no enemies then you have never stood up for anything' how every I am glad that some censorship on this blog is coming back. I hope that comments will identify themselves as either personal opinion or fact. Thanks Tim
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:46 AM
If you believe this to be the absolte facts how about showing up at the next Council Meeting with a motion for his removal from the Council or at least an investigation as he did for Mr. Leopold? Time to act Scott - give the man a chance to respond in-kind.
Ronald May 02, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Thanks for the updates Dave. I think we all know the truth about this. Lawyers do what lawyers do. The bottom line is that this is his wife's albatrose (sp?) and she needs to be held accountable. Maybe the terms of the pending sale included the new owner making the payments. If his wife ever stumps for him we can ask him those questions then. I do agree with most of what you say. Take care
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 02:53 AM
seems like a lot of people are taking advantage of this news on there personal relation or political relation with these family.. anyways we are not dumb people of odenton.. Please send your credit score "the truth".
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Anyone here want to discus there bed experience with banks??
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 02:59 AM
This issue would be very easy for the Benoit's to clear up. All they have to do is produce the cancelled checks or other proof of payment. If I were in their shoes and I made the payments I would want to clear my name. This has to be embarrassing to them.
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 03:09 AM
@ Mr. Right I have not commented on any personal or political relation with the Benoit's. I will say that I have voted for him in the past. I have no ax to grind. I just feel that people should pay their bills. If it turns out the Benoit's paid these bills on time and PNC was in error I will be the first person posting and admit I was wrong. The evidence looks like they are guilty and I await their reply to these claims.
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 03:15 AM
why they have to produce there proof to you or anyone??.. I am less bother about these.. now i am wondering why you have so much interest on news are you running for any position?? Please these is between bank and Benoit.. why we care about these?? everyone make mistake and might be these is honest mistake from them and Did PNC provided any written note that Mr. and Ms.Benoit are not ready to pay loan?
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM
They don't have to prove it to me personally but I would like my councilman not to have judgements against him. I only brought that up as a way to clear his name.
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I had worse experience with bank, BGE, Verizon and UPC so that doesn't mean they are right... that means I don't have money to fight with those big corporates.
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 03:28 AM
store was dark inside because of its antic look.. small bottle of red wine??? 375 ML?? :-)
Mr. Right May 02, 2012 at 03:41 AM
I know him since so long and I know these things made to just destroy his political position who getting bigger and bigger everyday but dont worry Mr.Benoit Odenton people will stick with you.. you also Ex-army so please fight till end and fight hard..
Chris W May 02, 2012 at 10:27 AM
More like Mr. Wrong...... First, as a public figure with responsibility for our tax dollars, we have every right to know about the business dealings of anyone on the council (shady or not). Secondly, there is no vast right wing conspiracy that prevented the Benoits from paying their loans. It is highly unlikely that the bank would take this action if they had been making regular payments. They were told they were in default in September! No one is out to get them. Please!
The Truth May 02, 2012 at 10:34 AM
@ Chris I couldn't agree more.
Mindy Patillo May 02, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Mr. Benoit has always been "ethically challenged". His ethical compass doesn't always point North.
david young May 09, 2012 at 05:14 PM
A Google search reveals an article published in The Capital from 2010 when Scott Dibasso ran for state office where he acknowledges that he declared bankruptcy. Pot, meet Kettle.


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