In some editions yesterday, it was incorrectly stated that Eugene Isaacs, president of EPIC Realty Services Inc. (ERSI), testified that auditors found no problems with EPIC's own books. Isaacs testified that auditors found no problems with ERSI's own books.
Creditors yesterday accused two affiliates of Equity Program Investment Corp. -- whose financial problems forced the closing of Bethesda-based Community Savings & Loan Association -- of defying a court order and diverting millions of dollars to the personal use of the companies' owners.
In papers filed in federal district court in Alexandria, the National Bank of Washington and the First National Bank of Maryland, which represent the EPIC creditors, said EPIC Mortgage Inc. and EPIC Realty Services Inc. have "failed and refused to comply with" an earlier order the two banks obtained to protect the interests of owners of nearly $1 billion in EPIC mortgage-backed securities.
"The improper siphoning of funds from the EPIC system is continuing," the banks charged.
"Moreover, . . . several thousands of properties and the rents thereon are 'missing' and unaccounted for" in court proceedings, they said.
Sources involved with the case said the number of properties that are not included in court documents could be as high as 6,000.
The banks asked the court to hold EPIC in contempt and to extend to EPIC Realty Services its order requiring a full accounting of all income and expenses.
Officials of EPIC said they were directed not to comment by State of Maryland officials who had been appointed conservators of Community and some of the EPIC companies.
Sixteen more EPIC investment partnerships filed for bankruptcy yesterday, bringing to 357 the total number of these partnerships now seeking protection before the federal bankruptcy court in Alexandria.
The EPIC companies originated with a firm called Equity Programs Investment Corp., which acquired single-family homes and placed them in tax-shelter partnerships which it sold to investors.
Over the approximately 10 years it has been in business, EPIC's holdings grew to some 20,000 homes with mortgage debt totaling $1.4 billion. EPIC's holding company owns Community Savings & Loan.
EPIC disclosed last month that it was delinquent on some of its mortgage payments. The announcement touched off a run on Community, forcing Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes to ban withdrawals there. Early this month, the state obtained a Maryland court order placing Community, and several EPIC companies that legally are its subsidiaries, into conservatorship.
At the very moment the state was in court seeking the conservatorship, EPIC's lawyers were in bankruptcy court filing petitions on behalf of the 341 investment partnerships.
NBW and First National, meanwhile, as trustees for pools of mortgage-backed securities issued by EPIC, have been in U.S. District Court in Alexandria seeking to make sure that rents coming in from the 20,000 houses are accounted for.
Officials of both the state and the banks are finding it very difficult to keep track of the EPIC companies, their assets and income. Representatives of both, along with some of the mortgage holders, held meetings yesterday in Washington seeking to assess the situation, sources said.
In the pleadings filed yesterday, the banks complained that "the defendants continue to operate through a serpentine complex of corporations comprising dozens of entities subject to common control, each with its own fee arrangements primarily to benefit the principals of the EPIC group or direct funds from mortgage payments to EPIC-related entities."
The banks did not name all these principals, but they noted that Tom J. Billman, EPIC's founder, Clayton C. McCuistion, and Eugene Isaacs own the stock of EPIC Realty Services Inc.
Although the bankruptcy filings for the partnerships placed much of EPIC under the control of the bankruptcy court, the banks said that these filings "do not include at least several dozen partnerships generating mortgage payments of millions of dollars a month that are neither being passed through" to the proper recipients nor escrowed as the courts had ordered.