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Drew J. Breakspear: Common-sense regulation of payday loans …

If you follow financial news like I do, you have probably seen recent coverage about payday loans and the problems they pose for our state’s poorest residents.

Payday loans are viewed negatively. More often than not, consumers pay high interest rates and some struggle to repay the loan. Several years ago, I had a brief conversation with a man who told me that he got into a pinch and took out a $300 payday loan. When I asked him how much interest he paid, he said “about $40.”

We continued talking and I asked if he felt that $40 of charges on a $300 payday loan was too much. He looked at me and said, “It was the only way that I could feed my family the next week. I would have paid $100 to feed my family.”

This story is not uncommon and Floridians are not the only ones affected by payday loans. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, 12 million Americans use payday loans annually because they are often the only source of credit for many of our citizens.

Often, those who would prohibit or curtail payday loans do not offer solutions that replace that source of credit. Are we protecting our citizens if we eliminate their only source of borrowing?

As Commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, I support the concept of payday loans and the protective measures put in place by the Legislature. Some critics of payday loans suggest that increasing access to payday lending services through the United States Postal Service is the solution.

If the postal service offered payday loans in 50 states, ensuring the appropriate parameters and safety of these services would create a regulatory burden — not to mention a heavy cost for citizens.

Throughout history, postal services around the world have done bank business, but the United States is different. Each state has its own laws and policies that govern their banking industry and financial markets.

Should a government agency be in the business of making loans? Would the postal service abide by these state laws and policies? Would each state be responsible for regulating the postal service payday lending? Who would have jurisdiction to investigate complaints?

Implementing such a program would undoubtedly require new laws and regulation at the state and federal levels. In Florida, it takes effort and diligence to make sure payday-lending services are following the law.

The best option is to make certain that protections and safeguards are in place. Through placing a cap on the loan amount and loan fees, allowing only one loan at a time with a maximum 30-day loan period, and requiring a cooling off period between loans, we continue to make Florida’s financial marketplace a safe place to do business.

New bills proposed by Sen. Garrett Richter and Rep. Kenneth Roberson (SB 590 and HB 623) will provide increased protection for consumers by rendering loan transactions uncollectable if made by unauthorized payday lenders.

We promote efficient and effective regulation of Florida’s financial marketplace and protect Floridians and their money through common-sense financial practices.

Drew J. Breakspear is Commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. www.flofr.com Courtesy of Context Florida.

[…]

Are You Sure A Payday Loan Is Right For You? – BBB News Center

You made sure everyone had a Merry Christmas. Now it’s time to tally the bills and see just how much you owe.

If you find that you’ve spent more than you can pay back, try these options first:

• Make a realistic budget and figure your monthly and daily expenditures to eliminate unnecessary purchases.

• Contact your local consumer credit counseling service, credit union, or nonprofit credit counseling provider if you need help planning a budget.

• Plan on using only one credit card for purchases so you can limit your debt and track your expenses.

• Look into the availability of overdraft protection on your checking account.

• Compare offers when shopping for credit and look for credit with a low APR and low finance charges.

• Ask creditors for more time to pay your bills, and inquire whether they will charge you more fees for that service.

If you feel there is no other option than a payday loan, then know the facts as provided by the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection:

A “payday loan” is a loan of short duration, usually two weeks, with fees of 15% to 30% of the amount advanced. The payday loan industry generates billions of dollars a year. States are cracking down on payday lenders, and the industry is regulated in the states where it is still legal. Payday loans are generally illegal in Georgia, unless made by a Georgia licensed industrial loan lender or an out-of-state FDIC insured bank as long as its agent in Georgia does not receive most of the profits. Loans made by a Georgia industrial loan licensee are subject to the terms and limitations of the Georgia Industrial Loan Act.

Payday lenders require you to furnish a copy of your driver’s license, and information about your employment and bank accounts. The loan is usually for a couple of weeks (the time until your next paycheck). The lenders do not perform a credit check, and you write them a post-dated check for the amount you want to borrow plus a fee. The fee is usually a “borrowing” fee and an account set-up fee. The lenders will then deposit your check after your payday if you have not already paid off the loan. If your bank account cannot cover the amount of the loan, you will then owe the original loan plus added interest. You may also incur overdraft fees from your bank. If you know you cannot pay off the loan in time, you can pay the borrowing fees (or finance charge) in order to renew the loan. The annual percentage rate (APR) for a payday loan often starts over 400 percent! This practice creates a cycle of consumer refinancing and continuous debt.

The federal Truth in Lending Act requires disclosure of the cost of credit. You must receive, in writing, the finance charge (a dollar amount) and the APR, which is the cost of credit on a yearly basis. Payday lenders are subject to this regulation.

Usury laws limit the interest rate amount a lender can charge. In Georgia, a licensed lender cannot charge more than 10% interest on a loan of $3,000 or less. Most states have a usury limit; if you were to borrow money from an out-of-state lending institution, that state’s cap would apply. Bear in mind that these rates may differ from Georgia’s rates.

If you have questions about an industrial loan licensee, you should contact the Industrial Loan Division of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance at:
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Industrial Loan Division
2 M.L. King, Jr., Drive, 7th Floor, West Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Website: www.oci.ga.gov/IndustrialLoan/Home.aspx
Phone: 404-656-2078

Georgia victims of a payday lender should pursue criminal action through their local district attorney or solicitor. Victims should also report the incident to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Industrial Loan Division (contact information above) and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office at:
Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: 404-656-3300

Any victim who believes that the lender has violated the Truth in Lending Act should file a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). The FTC cannot solve individual problems but will be able to act if it discovers a pattern of violations.

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Pay day loans company fined £175,000 over millions of spam texts …


News release: 17 December 2013

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has served the pay day loans company, First Financial, with a £175,000 penalty after an investigation discovered that the company was responsible for sending millions of unlawful spam texts.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which govern electronic marketing, require organisations to have an individual’s consent before sending marketing messages by text. The penalty comes after 4,031 complaints were made against messages sent from numbers which the ICO found to belong to First Financial.

The messages included some claiming to be from the recipient’s friends, reading:

That prompted separate regulatory action from the Advertising Standards Authority.

ICO Director of Operations, Simon Entwisle, said:

“People are fed up with this menace and they are not willing to be bombarded with nuisance calls and text messages at all times of the day trying to get them to sign up to high interest loans. The fact that this individual tried to distance himself from the unlawful activities of his company shows the kind of individuals we’re dealing with here.”

“We will continue to target these companies that continue to blight the daily lives of people across the UK. We are also currently speaking with the government to get the legal bar lowered, allowing us to take action at a much earlier stage.”

The spam texts were sent using un-registered SIM cards, which is a common method used to avoid detection. However the content of the message was similar on each occasion and referred recipients to a website belonging to firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk, which is a trading name used by First Financial.

The penalty comes after the company’s former sole director, Hamed Shabani, was prosecuted on 8 October 2013 after he failed to notify First Financial’s processing of personal information with the ICO. This is a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act. Mr Shabani was fined £1,180.66, despite trying to claim he had no affiliation with the company.

Anyone who receives an unsolicited text message should avoid replying and report the message using the survey available on the ICO website. Over 200,000 responses have been sent in since the survey was setup early last year and the information provided is being used to help identify those companies responsible. You can also report spam texts to your network operator by sending them to ‘7726’. The networks are working to block the worst offenders.

The ICO has also published detailed guidance for direct marketers explaining their legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The guidance covers the circumstances in which organisations are able to carry out marketing over the phone, by text, by email, by post or by fax.

ENDS

If you need more information, please contact the ICO press office on
0303 123 9070 or visit the website at: www.ico.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.

3. The ICO is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Read more in the ICO blog and e-newsletter. Our Press Office page provides more information for journalists.

4. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:

Fairly and lawfully processed Processed for limited purposes Adequate, relevant and not excessive Accurate and up to date Not kept for longer than is necessary Processed in line with your rights Secure Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

5. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.

6. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

[…]

Loans Aren't Taxable Income, But Convincing IRS Of Loan Status Is Priceless

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(Image credit: highrisesociety)

When your uncle loans you $10,000 to tide you over, is it taxable income? Nope. What about when the bank loans you $100,000? No again. That’s provided it’s a real loan and not income. That’s a key distinction that lands lots of taxpayers in trouble.

But if it’s a real loan and is forgiven, it is income then. That’s cancellation of debt income, often shortened to COD income. You got cash when you borrowed the money. Then when you don’t have to repay it, that cash is no longer loan proceeds.

The tax code generally taxes you when you are relieved of paying back a debt, treating it like cash paid to you. See 10 Things About COD Income. This unpleasant rule might seem easy to ignore, except that when a loan is forgiven, you’ll generally receive a Form 1099-C reporting income to you—and telling the IRS. If you receive one and disagree with the amount shown, write the lender requesting a corrected Form 1099-C showing the proper amount of cancelled debt.

Don’t ignore Forms 1099. In some cases COD income isn’t taxed. If you believe the cancelled debt isn’t income because you’re insolvent or for any other reason, you’ll need to address this on your return.

If you receive a loan, can the IRS claim the “loan” you received—that is still outstanding and hasn’t been forgiven—isn’t a loan and was actually a sale? In other words, can the IRS claim that “loan” proceeds are really sales proceeds and therefore taxable?

Sometimes, yes. That’s exactly what happened to Jonathan Landow. Landow took out a 90% loan against securities he put up as collateral. The loan was non-recourse—meaning that Landow could not be sued personally if he defaulted. Yet the securities were pledged as collateral.

In fact, the lender had the ability to sell the securities in ways that were unusual for garden-variety loans. And that’s just what the lender did, even though Landow later claimed he had no idea his securities would be sold. Landow didn’t pay off any of the $13.5 million principal amount of the loan.

He also didn’t report the “loan proceeds” as income. The IRS claimed the loan transaction wasn’t a loan at all and instead was a sale. The Tax Court agreed with the IRS, treating the putative loan as a highly orchestrated transaction. They court thought everyone knew the transaction would be documented as a loan but really amounted to a sale.

How real is the danger that will IRS will treat loans as sales? In transactions like Landow’s, very. Landow’s deal was part of a litigated and controversial tax shelter that produced a series of cases. See Shao v. Commissioner and Kurata v. Commissioner. In that sense, the result in Landow’s case was no surprise.

How you structure a transaction is important, as is how the transaction actually plays out. In general, courts look to indicators such as whether legal title passes, how the parties treat the transaction, and the parties’ intent. There can also be danger in simple family transactions.

But there, the question is often whether something is a loan or a gift. Gifts may not trigger income tax, but they can trigger gift tax. Loan vs. income vs. gift? Think about taxes up front, and document what you intend. Everyone will be better off.

You can reach me at Wood@WoodLLP.com. This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.

Move up http://i.forbesimg.com tMove down How Far Back Can IRS Claim Tax Evasion Or Fraud? Timing Is Everything Robert W. Wood Contributor Oops, Interest-Free Loans Are Taxable Robert W. Wood Contributor 13 Surprising Facts About Your Taxes Robert W. Wood Contributor Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Fighting The IRS But Were Afraid To Ask Robert W. Wood Contributor […]

Payday loan firm slammed on fake texts from 'a mate' | Political …

Image young-people-drinking.jpg


Take out £1k payday loan to join me in town? Firm slammed on fake texts

10:30am Wed June 19th

The UK’s advertising regulator has slammed a payday loan company for sending fake SMS messages purporting to be from people’s friends. Thousands are thought to have received the texts, which are address the recipient as “mate” and claim that they are “still out in town” – suggesting they should take out a loan and join them.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld 13 complaints over the messages, finding that they were unsolicited, faked up and encouraged the use of payday loans to fund a social life.

Despite owning and operating the website concerned, the company behind the dodgy promotion, First Financial (UK) Ltd, could not explain how it got hold of the mobile numbers targeted — attempting to blame marketing firm Akklaim Telecoms.

It can only be a matter of time before the Information Commissioner comes knocking.

WHAT THE ASA SAID:

“recipients of [the texts] would understand from the statement “I’m still out in town” that the sender had used the money from the payday loan to fund their day out and that this was therefore an acceptable way in which to spend the money. Because the text messages implied that it was suitable to use a payday loan for the purpose of ‘socialising’, we concluded that [the texts] were irresponsible.”

“[The texts] opened with the welcome “Hi mate” and ad (b) also stated “Hows u?”, which suggested that the recipient of the message was personally known to the sender …Although those numbers would not have matched a name in the contact list on the recipients’ mobile phones, this was unlikely to have prevented the suggestion that the message had been sent by someone known to the recipients.”

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[…]

Loan sharks held in dawn raid

TOPICS

Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram

crime, law and justice

corporate crime

police

22 premises searched; cash, documents seized

The city police on Wednesday raided the residence of underworld-linked businessmen who lent money at usurious rates of interest and employed violence to get it back.

City Police Commissioner P. Vijayan ordered the dawn raids, which were conducted almost simultaneously at 22 sites, including those in posh residential areas, luxury flats, and slum colonies.

The special drive, code-named ‘Operation Blade’ resulted in the arrest of eight suspected loan sharks, including two alleged gangsters, Goondukadu Shabu and Puthenpalam Rajesh.

The police recovered Rs.20 lakh in cash from them and seized hundreds of signed blank cheques, promissory notes, stamp papers, and land deeds, documents the accused had received as surety from their clients.

The police said the accused often charged an interest of up to Rs.1,000 a day on a loan of Rs.1 lakh, which meant an annual interest rate of 360 per cent.

Clients

Their clients ranged from citizens seeking urgent cash for treatment and weddings to real estate businessmen, migrant labour suppliers, wholesale perishable goods vendors and those profiting from illegal businesses.

The police said the accused, in a bid to fox the law, often forced their clients to sign land sale agreements to show, on the face of it, that the loans they had extended were actually genuine cash advances for the properties of the borrowers.

Most moneylenders kept their transactions secret and rarely registered or advertised their businesses to avoid taxes and legal scrutiny.

Some of the accused extended collateral-free “meter” loans, where interest is charged by the hour, and used their henchmen to retrieve it from defaulters.

The multi-crore racket has taken a heavy toll on urban society. It has fuelled crime, impoverished families, and driven many to suicide.

The accused were booked on the charges of cheating, forgery, and violating the Kerala Moneylenders Act. They will be produced before the court on Thursday. Assistant Commissioners of Police Reji Jacob, P. Biju, K. Vimal, and Circle Inspector Pramod Kumar coordinated the operation.

Keywords: Thiruvananthapuram police, Police raids, Operation Blade, Loan sharks

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Thiruvananthapuram

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[…]

The Main Reason Why You Need A Very Fast Payday Loans | Step …

Any individual Payday loan businesses doing business inside Maryland are required to register with the Commissioner connected with Financial Regulation on top of that be in obedience with the Repeat of Maryland before the lending or acquiring any money. Nonetheless, these carriers have sought with evade Maryland policy by making usurious payday loans for you to consumers in as well as her homes over the Internet via active web sites.

IVA, CCJs, insolvency, bankruptcy, arrears, foreclosures and also so on would likely be not choose to be given any require at all. There is not a chance need for for you to give a lot of credit confirmation in view that the money issuers do not take up the process using credit check.

On compare to instant payday loans, getting this done doesn’t require any kind of a detail credit see and also, acknowledgement is not the only factor with determine one’s system can be acknowledged. People that have bad financing or sometimes consistent no credit, they are still capable to get a brand new quick payday loan.

All the lenders, while signing the no fascination payday loans, achieve not check the credit history attached to the borrowers. This is why exactly the loan-seekers what have shortcomings throughout credit report usually are also eligible for this kind of all finance deals. No hassle advance loans are incredibly hassle-free. Usually, loan-seekers are so that you can fax their particular person details in pieces of paper documents to your respective lenders, and therefore this is handy botheration. Getting this done is good because the loan-seekers able to get completely no hassle payday payday loans that they may very well be not asked to fax such file types.

Over starters, never flush on the floor on your money application. Buried – though enticing if you’re desperate to get that loans approved also known as a higher amount – will in fact considered a fraud, even in you will be charged criminally for.

cash till payday in the Uk, leeds are available to all UK owners who are at least 18 long time of age while are employed on the inside a stable challenge. Aside via this, it is often necessary for any of them to have a major saving account with regard to a UK banking concern. Stable employment is necessary, nearly as you will no be able on to repay your credit amount if your site are not in a stable job. Your authorized payday loan level of is transferred electronically in your salvaging account.

9 to 1500 is the range in which you can gather cash advances that would seem to you matching to your deal condition and debt state. A borrower needs returning to pay the official amount back all the way through the comfortable cost time duration at 1 to 92 % of days. Make use of this guidance sum, you can get rid with regards to your daily of well as worried needs. They can pay all the credit card installments, can pay all household and electric bills, can getting small house ameliorations done, can routine a small diner and so with.

In front of you contact a broker, you definitely have to clearly suspect about why you need a lending product. You must be crystal sparkling on why buyers need a loan, because this will likely have some reality on the balance the loan. Most lenders have become more likely of approved your fast cash loan if you will most certainly be interested in checking on vacation, setting aside time for home improvements in addition to you need to pay some type of college fines. When the individual finance a car, if you put a stop to making your payments, the lender can get some regarding their investment raise by picking over the car.

[…]

Installing Payday Loans-Useful Capital Loan Available Online | Step …

Incredibly same day payday loans allow applicants which will borrow cash inside of a range which often starts from 100-1,200 for short full stop. Any customer having qualified via the desired eligibility can obtain you see, the cash. Our own desired qualifications ordered to provide are applicants must be permanently have a job and should attain a current valid bank account. Having a reliable credit history just by the applicants in addition , favors them their lot, in one particular way that personal loan companies allow them to borrow more ready money than mentioned. But payback stint as per times limits to 31st days from acclaim date in exact same day payday loans.

Furthermore there are many advantages to these short-term loans. People are easy within order to obtain and a new time taken as for getting the riches after approval has been less than a single day. That fast turnaround means that quick day-to-day money can be intended for all choices of unexpected could use that may be held in anyone’s day-to-day. Credit probes are not customary and verifications have become much less strenuous compared to long-term loans. Certain outstanding feature pointing to http://www.paydayloansmiracle.org.uk/ is that particular they are to select from to people and have had a definite poor credit history or even neo credit history on all, whereas my same person could very well be rejected with long term financial loans from more old-fashioned lenders.

May be you’ve already over heard about pay day loans, as well maybe the -term means nothing to positively you. However, these short-term loan products are catching regarding all around your current United States. As paychecks would be stretched thinner by using rising costs, an ranks of each working poor are also increasing. The middle type used to is rock solid, as well as people who were being middle class almost never had to trouble yourself about not incuring enough money into make it at some point their next advance.

Associated with Payday loan loan merchants doing business with Maryland are required to register thanks to the Commissioner on Financial Regulation and be in obedience with the County of Maryland before lending or get together any money. Nonetheless, these organisations have sought time for evade Maryland legislated rules by making usurious payday loans that will help consumers in her or his homes over often the Internet via exciting web sites.

Today availability of wage advance loans is and not a big give. payday loans uk is going to be acquired from the various long-established lenders like banks, financial institutions, and even online mode at the cheap interest rate.

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Payday loans are the name provided for many a distinct mortgage loan brand that brings disaster management going through monetary emergency. Emergencies do no longer give you a trustworthy likelihood to render arrangements at their pace. Virtually no credit verify payday loans offer they with cash when you want the concept and supply it rapidly. Virtually no credit verify short term loans can are offering to money requests beginning from 100-1,500 within 24 years or lesser.

[…]

Septage plant may get $2.9M loan

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County officials may loan nearly $2.9 million of the county’s reserve funds to bolster the cash-strapped septage treatment plant.

County board members will decide whether to make a 20-year-loan when they meet today at 7 p.m. at the Governmental Center. A loan would help the five townships that agreed to build the plant self-finance the remaining $5.7 million that is owed to bond holders.

Self-financing would allow the county and townships of Acme, East Bay, Garfield, Peninsula, as well as Elmwood in Leelanau County, to lower the interest rate and extend the time to repay the debt. A county loan ultimately would save the townships cumulatively about $200,000 a year.

“We have to resolve this problem and this is the way to do it,” said county Commissioner Ross Richardson. “The plant does provide a useful service. Now we have a way to equitably pay for it.”

The plant opened in 2005 and will lose about $400,000 this year because it receives less than half the septic tank waste its proponents projected.

The county’s Board of Public Works, which operates the plant, wants to combine savings from refinancing with a special property tax assessment of about $31 a year on properties with septic tanks to cover the losses.

A slim majority of the county board favors the two-pronged approach, but some commissioners want assurances the loan won’t hurt the county’s financial standing.

“I must be completely confident the county is going to be kept safe, that we can afford to loan this money to the five guaranteeing townships and the BPW,” said Commissioner Christine Maxbauer. “I haven’t heard that yet.”

The BPW would repay the loan over 20 years at an interest rate of 2.5 percent for the first five years. The rate then would be adjusted based on prevailing interest rates.

The loan shouldn’t be risky because funds that would be used for the septage plant currently return less than 1 percent in interest, county Treasurer Bill Rokos said.

If the septage plant does not generate enough money to cover loan payments, the townships’ original loan guarantees would still apply, Rokos said.

Some loan details still must be negotiated, but Rokos and county Finance Director Dean Bott need board approval before they proceed. A final agreement must be reached by Sept. 19 in order to pay off the bonds on Nov. 1, Rokos said.

If the county and townships don’t make that deadline, officials can try that road again in 2013. But pushing the loan off until next year won’t allow the townships to roll 2012 losses into the new debt, and will force them to cover the plant’s $400,000 shortage from their general funds.

[…]

Cash-strapped Jungle Island falls short in bid for expansion on Miami’s Watson Island

After asking the city of Miami to forgive its debts and expand its footprint on Watson Island, Jungle Island is standing down.

On Wednesday, the tourist attraction said it will cough up a pending $2 million loan payment and is ending negotiations with the city — for now, anyway.

“Jungle Island has made the decision to put its expansion plans on hold and reconsider our options for the future at this time,” park officials wrote in a statement.

Commission Vice Chairman Marc Sarnoff said the aviary attraction is simply reading the tea leaves.

“They see there is no stomach for any further concessions,” he said.

In the statement, Jungle Island officials said they plan to “meet obligations,” the most pressing of which is the $2 million payment on a federal loan due in August.

Last month, owner Bern Levine had said the cash-strapped park couldn’t afford the payment, but that an unnamed investor would cut the check if Jungle Island got an additional 13.45 acres of waterfront property to add a hotel, restaurants and retail. Otherwise, the city and the county would have been on the hook as the loan’s guarantors.

But city officials played hardball. Mayor Tomás Regalado balked at Levine’s initial suggestion that the city make the August loan payment. Instead, he insisted that Jungle Island pony up the funds.

Under the best of circumstances, the struggling business’ proposal was far from popular.

The iconic zoological park and banquet hall has been bleeding money since its 1997 move from Pinecrest to Watson Island, and has failed to follow through on a number of promises to city officials. All told, Jungle Island owes more than $26 million to the city and county, which have made most of the payments on the federal loan. The city also loaned the business $800,000 to help it pay back taxes in 2009.

In addition, the park has not been able to pay rent on its city-owned property in more than three years.

In interviews with The Miami Herald, Regalado called Jungle Island “a bad deal” and “a story of broken promises.”

Levine said his latest proposal would take taxpayers off the hook because the outside investor would pay off the $15 million remaining on the federal loan. Levine was also asking Miami and Miami-Dade County to forgive the attraction’s debt in exchange for a portion of profits moving forward.

The park owner promised his new investor would generate profits by deploying a dramatically different business plan.

But city commissioners have been skeptical. And despite repeated requests, Levine decline to name the investor or elaborate on plans for the new-and-improved Jungle Island.

The attraction and the city spent weeks trying to reach a deal. Jungle Island exerted significant pressure on the city, saying commissioners needed to decide the matter this month to give voters a chance to weigh in on a ballot question in November.

In the end, the city stood firm — and the business blinked.

“There were too many unknowns,” City Manager Johnny Martinez said.

Jungle Island lobbyist Brian May said Levine and his business partner Ron Krongold are doing “their very best” to make the August payment.

“They are working on it night and day,” May said.

He said Jungle Island officials will come back to the city when they have more definitive plans for the park’s future.

Commissioner Willy Gort said Jungle Island made a smart move.

“This gives them more time to come up with a plan and maybe become profitable,” he said.

Gort said he had little sympathy for the park. “Past administrations had given them so many breaks,” he said.

Martinez, the city manager, has concerns about Jungle Island’s ability to make the upcoming payment. But he still sees promise in the park.

“We want them to stay. We want them to be an attraction,” he said. “We also want them to live up to the terms of their lease.”

[…]