Goliad officials attempt to collect on $32,000 loan

GOLIAD - Goliad city officials expect repayment for an economic development incentive given to a company that never opened.

Goliad's economic development board, the Municipal Development District, voted Monday to send a second demand letter to Alvin and Stephanie Welch, who were awarded a $32,000 loan in March.

The loan was intended to be used to purchase a forklift, equipment and supplies along with display fixtures and renovation of the store location. However, there is no store location, and none of the materials have been purchased.

Furthermore, Goliad officials never filed the proper documents with the secretary of state to secure a lien on the Welches' collateral.

Financial documents filed with the secretary of state show Marine One Acceptance Corp. filed a lien against Stephanie Welch on June 24 for a 2013 sun tracker fishing barge, a 2013 Trailstar boat trailer and a 2013 Mercury outboard motor.

That lien was filed about three months after the $32,000 check from Goliad Municipal Development District cleared the bank.

Dannie Wade, a member of the economic development board, said this second letter is "demanding that they meet all contract provisions," including maintaining insurance on the collateral put up for the loan.

Wade made the motion to send the letter after a nearly hourlong meeting with Victoria attorney Kevin Cullen, who was hired at the board's meeting in September.

Cullen declined to speak on the matter.

"The district is under investigation, so I cannot comment on anything," he said.

Since the Advocate began an investigation seven months ago into the city's lending practices, Goliad County Criminal District Attorney Michael Sheppard has secured the Texas Rangers to investigate the loans and grants given in the name of economic development.

As collateral for the loan, the Welches put up a 2013 enclosed cargo trailer, a 2005 travel trailer, a 1998 GMC pickup, a 1997 Dodge pickup, a 2005 Conquest Supreme Travel Trailer and 1984 and 1969 Lincoln Arc welders.

According to information provided by the secretary of state, Goliad officials have not filed documents to have the first lien on the collateral for that loan.

The Welches did not own any real property in Goliad County when they were given the loan, according to the database PublicData.com. In correspondence sent to and from the city, the Welches used a post office box.

Liz Holsey, a Goliad city councilwoman and former member of the development district board, said when she first joined the board last fall, she asked that a demand letter be sent for repayment of the ANS Welding loan.

It took four months before one was mailed because the city did not know how much remained on the loan, she said.

"It was a terrible letter," Holsey said. "I knew it wouldn't go anywhere. It didn't have any teeth."

Mary Jane Martin, president of the development district board, hopes the letter settles issues with the loan's contract.

"It wasn't done in the past, and it should have been," she said.

Continue Reading: Goliad officials await state investigation