JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a motion to intervene in a Bank of America lawsuit against a St. Louis Jewish Community Center.

Koster, who filed the motion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri last week, seeks to protect the JCC's charitable assets.

Under Missouri law, the Attorney General's Office represents the public interest in the charitable pledges and donations made to the JCC.

According to Bank of America's suit, filed March 1 in the federal court, the JCC has continued to refuse to make more than $4 million in payments currently payable under two separate agreements between the parties.

"Although JCC has sufficient resources and the present ability to make these payments, it has steadfastly refused to do so," the bank's nine-page complaint alleges.

"The reason for this refusal is simple. JCC is withholding these payments in a calculated effort to force Bank of America either to restructure a $45 million loan to JCC on terms far more advantageous to JCC than originally negotiated, accepted, and agreed upon by the parties or to accept a substantial discount on this $45 million loan."

Koster says the bank's suit seeks to impose a constructive trust on pledges and donations made to the JCC, which would call into question actual control of the JCC's assets.

"The Jewish Community Center is one of the most important and historic charitable institutions in our state," the attorney general said in a statement.

"While I recognize that this is a difficult situation for all involved, I am committed to ensuring that the assets of this charitable institution are fairly treated throughout these proceedings."

In his six-page motion filed Friday, Koster explains that donations to a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation are public assets, held in trust by the JCC for the exclusive benefit of the public.

"In effect, BOA is asking this court to remove the public as the equitable beneficiary of the JCC's donations and pledges and substitute BOA as the new beneficiary of those funds," he wrote.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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