A loan dispute is seemingly at the root of a director’s abrupt resignation at BayFirst Financial in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The $917 million-asset company disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it asked Trifon Houvardas to step down. He resigned on March 4.
BayFirst said, prior to his resignation, Houvardas had guaranteed a loan to a bank borrower. The borrower defaulted on the payments due on the loan and, at BayFirst’s request, Houvardas and his co-guarantor satisfied their guarantees to the bank.
BayFirst said that, following a request, it assigned the defaulted promissory note and related loan documents to Houvardas and his co-guarantor.
The dispute arose when Houvardas and the co-guarantor asked BayFirst to affirm that the loan had an outstanding balance at the time of the document assignment. The bank said it “could not truthfully make that statement” because Houvardas and his co-guarantor had paid the loan in full.
BayFirst claims that, in a complaint against the borrower, Houvardas and his co-guarantor made disparaging statements about the bank. The bank, which did not disclose the comments Houvardas allegedly made, said it asked him to resign as a director after he refused to retract the statements.
The bank said it provided Houvardas a copy of the disclosure made in the regulatory filing and “an opportunity to provide a letter stating whether he agrees with such disclosure and, if not, the respects in which he does not agree.” Houvardas had not responded to the request before the filing was made.
Houvardas, a director since 2013, is a Florida real estate broker and developer.