CresCom Bank in South Carolina filed a debt collection lawsuit against Myrtle Beach, S.C. automobile dealer Lavin Sales Inc. and co-owners, John and Howie Lavin, claiming the men and the business defaulted on two loans totaling more than $3.1 million.

The lawsuit follows the dealership’s sudden closing last month and the eventual sale of its vehicles. Proceeds from the sale went toward paying some of the debt the dealership owed the bank, according to CresCom lawyer Henrietta Golding.

The lawsuit states that more than $1.9 million in principal and interest remained due as of May 18, with interest accruing at $324 a day.

The lawsuit states that Lavin Sales borrowed about $1.1 million from CresCom – then known as Crescent Bank – in October 2006, with monthly payments scheduled and a balloon payment of remaining principal and interest due in five years. CresCom also gave Lavin Sales a $2 million loan in January, the lawsuit states. That loan called for monthly payments before a final balloon payment to be made early next year.

The Lavins modified that first loan agreement twice during a three-month period starting in November before defaulting.

Neither John Lavin nor Howie Lavin could be reached for comment Monday. The dealership and another business – the Barefoot Resort Bar & Grill, owned by Howie Lavin – remain closed.

The Lavin dealership had weathered financial problems in that past. The dealership operated under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization from 1991-93 and dealership founder Harold Lavin formed The Car Group LLC in 1992 to help raise money for inventory at a time when bank loans were difficult to get because of the company’s financial woes. 

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