Mill auction delayed a second time

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GREENWOOD — A foreclosure auction scheduled to take place at the Saunders Brothers wood mill in Locke Mills village was delayed for the second time Wednesday.

David Sherman, who is representing Bank of America in the matter, said the auction would be adjourned until 11 a.m. April 14. The auction was formerly scheduled to take place March 29 before it was postponed to Wednesday.

Attempts to reach a Saunders Brothers representative Wednesday were unsuccessful. However, the company posted a statement on its Web site on March 22 saying the mill continues to operate and rumors that it will close following the sale are “unsubstantiated.”

The statement also says that Joseph Woodbury, owner of National Wood Products of Maine Inc. in Oxford, is interested in the property.

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“We know he is ethical and committed to jobs in the area,” the statement says. “We know he intends to keep the Saunders Brothers Locke Mills location up and running.”

Woodbury was unavailable for comment Wednesday. According to an air emission license transfer from the Department of Environmental Protection, the National Wood Products facility on Route 26 was a division of Saunders Brothers before Woodbury purchased the site in 2005. National Wood Products manufactures skateboard decks, cribs, flooring, chairs and other materials.

The town of Greenwood has valued the mill site at $1,364,030.

Blaine Mills, vice president of the Greenwood Historical Society and former employee at the Saunders Brothers mill, said the company began operations at the 256 Main St. property in 1999. Its predecessor, Gilbert Wood Products, retained formal ownership of the mill until 2007, when it was deeded to SB Acquisitions LLC.

The notice of foreclosure states that SB Acquisitions LLC, a Maine company with a mailing address of Exeter Advisors in Boston, breached the conditions of a mortgage with Bank of America in 2007. In the mortgage, SB Acquisitions had a revolving credit promissory note with a maximum principal of $1.7 million and a term note in the original principal of $800,000.

The mortgage says default in the mortgage can occur in several ways, including nonpayment, failure to meet obligations, or commencement of foreclosure proceedings by a party holding a lien on the property. A public sale of the property is one option offered to the bank in the event of a default.

“You can glean from the public records that they were in default of their obligations and that was the reason for the foreclosure,” Sherman said.

Sebago Technics, a Westbrook engineering and architecture firm, claimed a $16,555.12 lien against the property in January of 2008 for services performed. Delta Roofing of Maine, a Portland company, claimed a total of $111,664 in liens filed in April of 2009 and January. Saunders Brothers was given a $11,045 civil penalty in November following the Department of Environmental Protection’s determination that the mill was improperly treating and disposing of hazardous wood waste in their ovens.

The notice of auction says it will attempt to sell all intangible personal property except for cash. Prospective bidders are required to put $25,000 up as a possible down payment to take part in the auction, and will have the investment refunded if they do not win the bid.

Saunders Brothers began operations in 1900 with a mill in Waterford. The Greenwood mill manufactures wooden products, with a special focus on dowels. The corporate headquarters is based in Westbrook. According to the company’s LinkedIn online profile, the company employs 70 people. A 2008 news release from the Finance Authority of Maine says SB Acquisitions bought the company in 2007.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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