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Felon's lawyer says he can't repay $3M restitution on time

TAMPA — Despite a financial statement that includes 37 apartment complexes, luxury homes in three states and a fleet of vintage automobiles, landlord Steven Green still can't meet a judge's May 2 deadline to pay more than $3-million in restitution.

In papers filed this week seeking a four-month extension, Green's realty company's general counsel, John M. Murray, blamed a declining real estate market and high debt on the properties for the failure to sell sufficient assets.

In February 2007, U.S. Judge Susan Bucklew ordered Green, 42, to pay $4.11-million in restitution as she sentenced him to 33 months in prison for bank fraud and failure to pay income taxes.

In May, about six weeks before he was to report to prison, Green was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident outside a New York nightclub. In a coma for 40 days and brain-damaged, Green remains in a "child-like" state, according to Edward Kratt, Green's defense attorney.

In December, after the original eight-month deadline for restitution passed, Bucklew set new deadlines, making the lawyers and executives handling Green's assets responsible for the $4.1-million owed Wells Fargo Bank. Green used a phony Social Security number to obtain a $9-million loan on the Amberwood Apartments, then defaulted on the loan from the bank.

About $1.2-million in fines and restitution were paid on time. But paying the rest of the debt is "problematic," Kratt said.

A contract is anticipated in coming weeks to sell 24 of Green's Tennessee apartment complexes. But because of falling real estate values and high debt on the properties, Murray said, the sale will be "break-even or at best, a slight profit." Murray cited similar factors for the decision to deed four other apartment complexes back to the lenders to erase debt.

Another contract has been signed to sell Green's Fort Lauderdale home and furnishings for $2.6-million, Murray said, but because of a $2.15-million mortgage and brokerage commissions, he expects "a small net over expenses."

Green's collection of 50 vintage American autos is to be sold over the Internet, but after costs, the cars will bring in perhaps "a few hundred thousand dollars."

Other luxury properties purchased by Green are controlled not by him but his mother, Mary Green, a 74-year-old widow who has become Steven Green's guardian. Properties now controlled by Mrs. Green include a $1.4-million home on Nantucket and a mansion at 801 S Delaware in Tampa, which sold last month for $2.65-million.

Jeff Testerman can be reached at (813) 226-3422 or testerman@sptimes.com.

Felon's lawyer says he can't repay $3M restitution on time 04/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 5:16pm]
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