Metropolitan Federal Savings and Loan Association in Bethesda has been sued by a Washington company for allegedly trying to collect thousands of dollars that the firm did not owe.
Third Jones Corp., which owned a rental building at 4732 Benning Rd. SE, alleges that Metropolitan "maliciously and unlawfully" charged it more than $5,000 for real-estate taxes, tax penalties and interest that Third Jones says the savings and loan owed the District government over a two- to three-year period.
Carlton M. Green, the Hyattsville attorney representing Metropolitan, would not comment on the case except to say, "We intend to litigate this in the courts, not the newspaper."
In the lawsuit, Third Jones said it had been making payments on a note from the thrift, including all taxes, for several years. But the company argued that Metropolitan held the money and failed to make the tax payments to the District. As a result of that failure, notices of tax sales were issued and penalties and interest were charged, the company said.
Third Jones alleges that Metropolitan then added those charges to the principal balance of its note. The charges were assessed when Third Jones tried to make a payment to the thrift in December 1984, after failing to make payments for several months. When Third Jones refused to pay the additional charges, Metropolitan foreclosed on the property last July.
"We agreed to bring the payments current and avoid a foreclosure," said Jerome P. Friedlander II, the attorney representing Third Jones. "But they would not agree with us on what the payments should be."
Third Jones alleges that the charges are part of a scheme by Metropolitan to "clear out old loans" from its predecessor, County Federal Savings & Loan Association, which made loans at lower interest rates.
"By using this device, [Metropolitan] has been able to increase its revenues from these loans and force either refinancing or payoffs in amounts which are not properly due. . .," the lawsuit says.
Denise Butler, the daughter of Third Jones' president, Roscoe Jones, bought the property at the foreclosure sale last October from the trustees, Walter L. Green and E. Austin Carlin.
Butler said that her father's company was delinquent in its monthly payments to Metropolitan because several of its tenants would not pay their rent.