Bank sues Vo's Viking

OLYMPIA - South Sound developer Tri Vo has been sued by First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co. for failing to make interest payments on two loans totaling more than $1 million, according to a lawsuit filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

The loans are tied to property in Lacey.

The lawsuit is the latest document to shed light on the apparent financial difficulties Vo has had in this slower economy.

This month, The Olympian reported that all or part of seven South Sound residential developments that Vo is involved in are in foreclosure. Vo also has missed property tax payments on some of his most ambitious developments, including mixed-use projects in Olympia and Tumwater known as Larida Passage and Bellatorre, according to property tax information.

According to the First Citizens lawsuit, the North Carolina-based bank has sued Viking Investment LLC, a company in which Vo and business partners are involved. First Citizens filed the lawsuit, but court documents cite two loans made by Venture Bank before the bank was closed by state and federal regulators and sold to First Citizens on Sept. 11.

Viking Investment borrowed $460,000 in April and about $645,000 in June, the lawsuit shows. As part of those loans, Viking was required to make monthly interest payments, but has failed to do so since Aug. 1, according to the suit. First Citizens now says the loans and related costs and fees are “immediately due and payable in full.”

Evan Marques, an associate attorney in Tacoma working on behalf of First Citizens, said Wednesday that it is an active case.

He also said that the attorney for Viking Investment, Richard Ditlevson of Olympia, has acknowledged receiving the lawsuit. Ditlevson and the primary attorney for First Citizens, Terrence Donahue, could not be reached Wednesday.

One parcel is at 4405 S.E. 37th Ave. and the other is at 5501 15th Ave. N.E., Marques said. A check of that property Wednesday shows it to be undeveloped. Marques also said that Viking Investment still owns the property and that First Citizens hasn’t foreclosed on the parcels.

That’s not the case for other property owned by Viking Investment LLC.

Viking also owns property on 15th Avenue in Lacey that is being foreclosed on by HomeStreet Bank of Seattle.

That property is among the seven residential developments tied to Vo that are set for auction Dec. 28, foreclosure information shows.

Vo, who typically buys land and subdivides it into residential lots for homebuilders, told The Olympian this month that he, too, has felt the effects of the slower economy.

Tighter lending standards have made it difficult for builders to buy his lots, he said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403