WEST OCEAN CITY — While the federal criminal case against a West Ocean City business owner continues to plod along, a national bank this month filed a complaint in U.S. District Court seeking to seize the long-shuttered property.
The U.S. Bank on Tuesday filed a complaint seeking emergency injunctive relief against West Ocean City business owner David Weatherholtz and other named defendants in an attempt to take control of the property that most recently hosted the O.C. Jamboree on Route 611. Last March, Weatherholtz was indicted in federal court on several felonies including producing and possessing child pornography and attempting to entice minors to engage in sex, among others.
With Weatherholtz awaiting trial in a federal medical facility in Massachusetts and the O.C. Jamboree long since shuttered, the U.S. Bank filed the emergency complaint this week seeking to take control of the property through a third-party receiver. The U.S. Bank holds a promissory note on the O.C. Jamboree property in an amount over $400,000 and is seeking to protect its interest by having a third-party receiver take control of and protect its assets, which are in danger of falling into disrepair.
“The plaintiff seeks a receiver for real and personal property owned by the defendants and located in Ocean City for the purpose of taking control of, safeguarding and selling the real property and all personal property thereon,” the complaint reads. “The plaintiff also asks for an temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief in support of the receivership.”
Since Weatherholtz was indicted and been incarcerated, the OC Jamboree has remained shuttered and padlocked and no payments to the bank have been made for the loan. In addition, Weatherholtz and the other named defendants missed a $10,000-plus property tax payment to Worcester County, putting the property at risk for liens or ultimately seizure. Perhaps most urgent, however, is the need to restore utility service to the property, which has sat vacant for several months.
“Most troubling, the defendants have failed to pay utility charges billed to the property, and as a consequence the electricity has been cut off,” the complaint reads. “The cut-off of electricity makes the property susceptible to damage from, among other things, cold weather.”
With the defendants unable to make payments or care for the property, the U.S. Bank is seeking the authorization from the court for a receiver to take control of the property, make it whole in terms of back taxes and utilities and ultimately offer it for sale.
“The plaintiff lacks an adequate remedy at law,” the complaint reads. “The plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if a receiver is not appointed to take possession and control of the collateral because there exists the real and immediate risk that the defendants’ shuttering and apparent abandonment of the property will cause it to be dissipated or to diminish in value.”
In simplest terms, the longer the property sits vacant, it continues to fall further in arrears with loan payments, tax payments and utility charges. In addition, the shuttered property’s value runs the risk of being diminished further due to natural or man-made factors.
“The plaintiff requests that this court authorize and empower said receiver to take possession of and manage the property and collateral and to take any and all actions as it may deem necessary and proper to manage, lease, insure and protect the collateral and to preserve and protect the collateral against vandalism, theft, burglary and unauthorized intrusion or trespass by any third party and against destruction or damage by fire, water or the elements,” the complaint reads.
According to the six-count indictment, from 2008 to 2012, Weatherholtz, owner of the O.C. Jamboree in West Ocean City and also a music instructor, coerced a minor to engage in sex to produce images of child pornography. The indictment further alleges from Dec. 3-16, 2014, Weatherholtz allegedly used electronic mail and text messaging to attempt to coerce minors to engage in sex. Also on Dec. 16, Weatherholtz was found in possession of a computer hard drive and laptop containing child pornography.
Following the arrest in December, another alleged victim came forward in January with information about an alleged incident several years ago.
Weatherholtz now faces life in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years for attempted enticement. He also faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years followed by a lifetime of supervised release for each of the three counts of producing child pornography and 10 years in prison for each of the two counts of possession of child pornography.