Judge rules in favor of APERS in lawsuit against Massachusetts company

LITTLE ROCK – A Pulaski County judge ruled Tuesday that a Massachusetts real estate company breached its contract with the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System and ordered the company to pay APERS nearly $17 million, the attorney general’s office said.

Circuit Judge Tim Fox granted Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s motion for default judgment against National Timber Partners LLC of Williamstown, Mass., saying the company failed to meet its financial obligation to the retirement system as required in an October 2012 contract in which National Timber had agreed to purchase APERS’ interest in an investment fund for $110 million.

In his ruling, Fox ordered National Timber Partners to pay APERS $16.5 million, which represented the remaining amount due to the retirement system at the time the company breached the contract, plus $561,739.75 in pre-judgment interest.

The outstanding contract balance due to APERS is $14,860,036.75.

The attorney general’s office filed suit on behalf of APERS in September after the company had failed to make the complete second payment of a three-installment contract with APERS.

The third installment that was due Dec. 31, was never made.

Earlier this month, the attorney general’s office filed the default judgment motion. The company had twice asked for extensions of time to respond to the lawsuit but had never submitted a response. No one representing the company was present at the hearing, according to a news release.

A person answering the phone call to a National Timber Partners number in Williamstown, Mass., said Tuesday the company no longer was located at that location and he did not know where they had moved or if they were still operating.