A company controlled by Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump gained control of a shuttered North Charleston manufacturer Tuesday, purchasing the former Titan Atlas building and 6-acre property for more than $3.6 million at a foreclosure sale.
It was Trump’s company, D B Pace Acquisition, that foreclosed upon the property on Pace Street in Stark Industrial Park off Azalea Drive. Trump’s company had previously purchased a loan secured by the property. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and two company co-founders had personally guaranteed that debt.
The senior Trump was in North Charleston last week to participate in a Republican primary debate, but he has not publicly discussed his business interests in the city, other than to say during a campaign stop in April that he had made a “very interesting” investment in the Charleston area. D B Pace Acquisition is Trump’s only South Carolina-based business, according to campaign disclosure reports.
When Trump’s company purchased the Deutsche Bank loan, that put the presidential candidate in a position to foreclose on the property and potentially ignore his son’s personal liability. The company, Titan Atlas Manufacturing, was a specialty construction products firm that operated for barely two years and shut down in 2012, leaving a trail of litigation, unpaid bills and unpaid taxes.
For a brief time, the Pace Street property was leased to a company with a similar name, Titan Atlas Global, but that company also failed.
In addition to Donald Trump Jr., Titan Atlas’ founding investors were Washington state farmer Lee Eickmeyer and Mount Pleasant resident Jeremy Blackburn, who was also CEO of Titan Atlas Global. Each of the three men personally guaranteed a $3.65 million Titan Atlas Manufacturing loan from Deutsche Bank — the loan that the elder Trump’s company later purchased — allowing the bank to pursue the three men together or individually if it were not repaid.
Eickmeyer also personally loaned $950,000 to the company. In August, with his claim in jeopardy, his attorneys alleged in court filings that Donald Trump’s company “engaged in unfair trade practices” and “purposefully caused the borrower to default,” but Eickmeyer’s claims were later settled prior to the foreclosure.
Repeated efforts to reach Eickmeyer for comment have been unsuccessful. Attempts to reach representatives of Trump’s company through the lawyer who attended the foreclosure sale were also unsuccessful Tuesday.
Blackburn, the third co-founder and loan guarantor, declared personal bankruptcy in 2013, wiping away his debts and liabilities.
Both Blackburn and Donald Trump Jr. are currently involved with a plan to redevelop the former Charleston Naval Hospital in North Charleston, with Charleston County government as the anchor tenant.
On Tuesday morning in the county Judicial Center, Trump’s company was the only bidder in a foreclosure sale of the Titan Atlas property. The auction gave D B Pace Acquisition control of the property and left other creditors — including the state and federal government — with nothing. Titan Atlas had failed to pay nearly $115,000 in South Carolina sales tax, workers’ compensation tax and federal taxes, according to claims made in court filings.
D B Pace used the debt it was owed as credit during Tuesday’s auction, so no money changed hands at the foreclosure sale.
Reach David Slade at 843-937-5552 or twitter.com/DSladeNews.