Watertown Trust seeks payment of loan

Vina Bonner stands in a rope doorway as FunXcape was under construction in the former Empsall Plaza building in downtown Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The Watertown Local Development Corp. is initiating legal action against the owner of a JB Wise Place building that housed a child indoor play center because she’s 180 days delinquent on her loan.

Donald C. Rutherford, CEO of the local development corporation, also known as the Watertown Trust, has directed the organization’s attorney, Joseph Russell, Watertown, to send a “letter of cure” to building owner Vina Bonner, instructing her that she had to take care of the situation or the loan would go into default.

“It’s past 180 days,” he said last week. “We can’t let this continue.”

Ms. Bonner, who moved to Hawaii several months ago, owes $218,000 on two loans on the building, 223 J.B. Wise Place, he said.

Several months ago, she promised Mr. Rutherford that she would start paying on the loan again but that never happened. The building was condemned back in November because the fire sprinkler system didn’t work and there were some other violations. According to the codes office back then, the building was unfit for occupancy. The building remains empty.

Ms. Bonner still owes $218,000 on a loan she took out with the trust to borrow $150,000 for equipment for the play center and $130,000 in gap funding to help finance the business to get it opened in 2014.

Mr. Rutherford said real estate developer Jake Johnson is interested in purchasing the building. Mr. Johnson confirmed that he’s working to purchase the building and “is ready to roll” with the deal.

In 2014, Ms. Bonner opened the FunXcape indoor children’s play center with much fanfare, proclaiming it would be the local version of Chuck E. Cheese.

While she eventually closed FunXcape, Ms. Bonner landed a major tenant, Power Play Sports hockey training center, and things looked more hopeful. The hockey business eventually moved out last year.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment

Mohammad Aloo Akbar

Serves the City of Watertown, WDLC, and Don Rutherford right to get burned on this one!!

For Decades the Watertown money holders & “Leadership” have favored Foreigners and Special Racial/Ethnic Groups over the People of Watertown!!

Lol .. Vina Bonner is some “Business Woman of the Year”!! Will they ask for the Award Back?? Ha ha!!

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