Circuit Court Judge John Fishel has scheduled a January hearing for further presentations in a foreclosure case brought against the Port of Port St. Joe.
Capital City Bank is attempting to foreclose on a port parcel that serves as the barge terminal off the Intracoastal Waterway that was secured with a loan of over $4 million.
Due to a lack of revenue or tenants to drive revenue, the Port Authority has been unable to make payments on the loan for at least two years.
Frankel, who just rotated into Gulf County in August, was surprised to have such a complex and important case fall into his lap with just a 30-minute hearing last month, said port attorney Tom Gibson and stated a desire for a second hearing for additional presentations on the issues.
The hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. ET Jan. 23.
Each side is seeking summary judgment.
Capital City Bank is arguing the mortgage is enforceable and asking the foreclosure be granted.
The Port Authority is arguing it lacked the authority to mortgage public property without a voter referendum on the issue.
Gibson said the judge could rule one of three ways.
A win for Capital City Bank would enforce the mortgage and lead to foreclosure on the parcel.
A win for the Port Authority would mean the mortgage was invalid on its face, Gibson said.
The judge could also rule that the mortgage was unenforceable but the note the Port Authority owes Capital City Bank remained a debt that must be paid.
Capital City Bank has declined late offers from the Port Authority under which the Port Authority would provide additional strength to its obligation to pay back the loan while securing from Capital City Bank time to allow for development at the port.