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Was the $368,000 payment to Sun Roads Farmory, owned by Glacier County Commissioner Ron Rides At The Door and his wife, Michelle, a loan or a grant?

(See related story below.)

According to documents on file at the Glacier County Courthouse, Glacier County received a $400,000 grant from the Montana CDBG-ED Program and the “first transaction from the fund will be a loan to Sun Roads Farmory…” 

The public documents include a loan application completed and signed by Rides At The Door, and dated, Aug. 12, 2013. The type of loan requested by Rides At The Door was a “business support” loan in the amount of $400,000.00 for “working capital.”

At the Glacier County Commissioners’ meeting in Browning on March 27, Rides At The Door’s attorney, Don Kittson, referred to the $368,000 as a grant, while Sarah Converse, Executive Director of Sweetgrass Development, said it was a loan.

Glacier County entered into a sub-recipient agreement with Sweetgrass Development, also on Aug. 12, 2013 to “sub-grant” the $400,000.00 in CDBG-ED funds to Sweetgrass Development and have Sweetgrass “administer the revolving loan fund on Glacier County’s behalf.”

Under the agreement Sweetgrass Development is responsible for “closing the CDBG-ED loan in a timely fashion” and “monitoring the borrower’s compliance with the requirements of the loan agreement, including monthly payments…”

The agreement also references to “the loan closing date” and “loan disbursement to Sun Roads Farmory.”

Payments from Sun Roads Farmory were intended to “provide a source of ongoing funding for Glacier County projects that impact low to moderate income persons.”

Sun Roads Farmory’s hiring and training plan, which is filed with the public documents, is listed an “integral part of the loan agreement.” Under the plan, Sun Roads Farmory said it would create a “minimum of 16 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of the second year of the project” and would “hire at least 15 low and moderate-income persons during the two-year duration of the project.” The plan was signed by Rides At The Door and dated Aug. 12, 2013.

The business plan submitted by Sun Roads Farmory projected net profits of $1,634,145.00 in 2014; $10,956,356.00 in 2015; and $25,777,413.00 in 2016.

Sweetgrass Development filed a complaint against Sun Roads Farmory, LLC, and Ronald and Michelle Rides At The Door, in Blackfeet Tribal Court in June 2016. The complaint was scheduled to go to trial this week.

Sweetgrass Development is claiming “breach of contract” and that Sun Roads Farmory failed to “make regular payments” on the loan and owes “the entire principal balance plus interest and late fees.”

According to the complaint filed in Blackfeet Tribal Court in June 2016, Sun Roads Farmory promised to repay the loan of $368,000, with interest at 2.0% per annum, payable in semi-annual installments beginning on or before June 15, 2015.  The final payment and interest were to be paid on Dec. 15, 2021.

The promissory note was amended in 2014 to provide for quarterly payments of $10,000.00 at Rides At The Door’s request. 

Converse referred questions about the loan to Sun Roads Farmory to Sweetgrass Development Attorney Thane Johnson. No additional information was available from Johnson as of press time.

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