The owner of a local financial services company has been sued seven times in the past three months over loans the plaintiffs say he isn’t paying back on time.
Al Moriarty — who operates Grover Beach-based Moriarty Enterprises — is the defendant in a string of separate lawsuits over alleged defaults on loans, which range from about $30,000 to $700,000.
The promissory notes total more than $1 million, and varying amounts of money are still owed, though it wasn’t clear exactly how much based on the information in the lawsuits.
The lawsuits represent only one side of the story.
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But Moriarty told The Tribune on Wednesday that he has done nothing wrong and that he’s trying to recover from a bad real estate market that hurt his investments.
Moriarty also said he lost a $2 million credit line from banks early this year that would have helped him pay clients on time.
“It was a shame it happened,” Moriarty said. “But I did nothing crooked. It was just the economy and I’m going to have to work my way through this.” Moriarty is a name known to many in the local community for his contributions to Cal Poly, including about $600,000 for the Alex G. Spanos Stadium video scoreboard. Moriarty, a former player on the football and basketball teams in the ’50s, is in the Cal Poly Hall of Fame.
The promissory note agreements were signed over the past few years, including one as recent as November.
The lawsuits were filed separately starting in May by individuals and couples who live in San Luis Obispo County.
They entered into promissory note agreements with Moriarty that offered them 10 percent annual interest paid back over five years through monthly payments. As a condition of the notes, Moriarty was supposed to pay back the principal plus any interest, upon notice by the lender, if he defaulted on a payment, according to the lawsuits.
Most of the lawsuits claim Moriarty stopped making payments sometime this year and didn’t return their money.
Because the money came in the form of loans, Moriarty could use it as he pleased, and he put money into investments such as San Luis Obispo County coastal properties and gold, he said.
The largest of the loan amounts cited in the lawsuits is from the Family Revocable Living Trust of Oceano residents Don and Christine Seibert.
Their son, Michael Morawski, serving as the power of attorney for the trust, claimed that Moriarty stopped making payments last December of more than $14,000 a month. That agreement was signed Jan. 21, 2010.
Nipomo residents Randy and Christine Cobb claim in their lawsuit that Moriarty defaulted on a $30,000 loan in December that paid them $300 monthly.
“Unfortunately, the lack of performance and or communication has left me doubting the manner in which business dealings will be fulfilled with you and your firm,” they stated in their suit.
Morro Bay residents Sandra and James Phillips claim that Moriarty defaulted on two loans they gave him, totaling about $240,000.
Moriarty said his ability to pay off the loans was hindered because of a combination of factors, adding that he has been trying to liquidate assets to make the payments. For example, he said he’s trying to sell about 31 acres near Laetitia Vineyard in Arroyo Grande for $1.5 million that he bought for $3.1 million. He also said he has liquidated assets in gold.
In addition to selling off assets, Moriarty said that many clients have been willing to work with him — giving him time to improve his financial situation without making payments or readjusting their payment plans to provide 5 percent interest instead of 10 percent interest.
“I’m going to try as best I can,” Moriarty said. “I’ve made payments on notes for 20 years, and I’ve had an excellent track record. I just got into a situation, like a lot of people, when the economy went bad.”