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Title issues holding up ISC purchase

The Town of Jonesborough’s plan to purchase the International Storytelling Center building remains in a holding pattern according to Town Administrator Bob Browning.
“It is a work in progress,” Browning said. “The loan has been approved by Rural Development and we have received the letter of obligation from them. We continue to be in the process of closing the loan.”
That process, however, is taking longer than expected, Browning said.
The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to purchase the building for $1 million on July 9. The purchase agreement was signed by Mayor Kelly Wolfe the next day.
The town agreed to buy the building and then lease it to the ISC organization at a cost of approximately $45,000 per year for 20 years – an annual payment that will cover the town’s loan payments to Rural Development.
But all of the pieces have not yet fallen into place to complete the transaction.
“We’re still waiting on title search information that must be sent to Rural Development. Once we get that, we can proceed from that point,” Browning said.
After the title search information is provided to Rural Development, closing instructions will be issued, Browning said.
The bond council, Bass, Berry and Sims of Nashville, will then set up a closing meeting with all the necessary documents.
At that time, Browning said, the payments are made and the town will be able to take legal ownership of the building.
“Once that happens, it won’t take long to close the loan,” Browning noted.
The closing date on the property is behind the schedule Wolfe had expected. Wolfe previously said all parties were hoping to close on the sale by Sept. 10.
The delay in the purchase of the ISC building also has the go-ahead for construction of the Jonesborough Senior Center on hold.
“Rural Development wanted the loans tied together, so both loans will be closed at the same time,” Wolfe said.
He explained the attorneys working on the transaction have found some title issues that “need to be corrected.”
That process is now in the hands of Carl McInturff, a real estate attorney.
“He is regarded as the best title attorney around. He is responsible for preparing the deed and the title inspection,” Wolfe said. “We want to conduct a good, sound business transaction. When you’re spending taxpayer dollars, you don’t want any surprises.”
Because of that, Wolfe says, the Town of Jonesborough will take its time, making sure to find any title defects and get them corrected.
“When you deal with the federal government, it is going to be a laborious project,” he said of the deal with Rural Development. “It’s just the nature of the beast. The most relevant thing for us is to know that to proceed to closing you have to have your title in good order.”