Business owner leaves debt, Watertown space for new job in Hawaii

Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:45 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A business owner is 120 days past due on a local loan, has taken a new job almost 5,000 miles away and left behind a now-empty spot in a downtown Watertown building.

FunXcape used to call 223 JB Wise Place home. But now, the children’s play center is closed and its website, removed.

Over the summer, FunXcape and building owner Vina Bonner took a new job, far away from the north country.

“Vina has since taken a job in Hawaii. And so, it’s really difficult to get any type of answers with regard to the building itself,” said Don Rutherford, Watertown Local Development Corporation chief executive officer.

Rutherford says she leaves behind the building and more than $214,000 in loans that she owes WLDC. 7 News reached out to Bonner for comment, but we haven’t heard back.

“We understand the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we certainly get that. We’re asking our clients to talk to us,” said Rutherford.

But so far - nothing.

“If she contacted me and gave me a plan and adhered to a payment schedule, I would love that. But I’m not going to fly to Hawaii and knock on her door,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford says Bonner is 120 days past due and his last resort is to sent a letter to Hawaii demanding she pay the loan in full.

But if that doesn’t work, Rutherford said, “My solution is always, legal action is the last resort, because no one wins under that scenario. The only people that are winning are the attorneys. So we try to do everything we can do avoid that, but sometimes you just have to take that step.”

As for the future of 223 JB Wise Place, Rutherford says as long as Bonner is in Hawaii, it’s unclear.

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