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TWO PARTNERS ACCUSE THIRD OF CHECK FORGERY

Two of the partners in the stalled $11 million Admiral's Walk condominium project have accused a third partner of forging their names on checks cashed on the project's bank account, court papers indicated Friday.

The court papers were filed by one of the attorneys involved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court litigation over the waterfront project.

Although the project moved a big step toward completion with approval of $3.5 million in new financing, attorneys involved in litigation warned that its problems are far from over.

"Thank goodness the project is going ahead and is going to be completed. Everyone involved wants it to be completed," said Alan J. Bozer, attorney for one of the 40 creditors owed money by the Admiral's Walk developers. "But there are some battles looming ahead."

Creditors are battling over money the developers owe, and the Erie County district attorney's office is continuing its investigation into alleged embezzlement and forgeries by persons involved with the project.

According to court papers filed by Bozer, two of the project's developers -- Donald T. Maharan and Jeffrey J. Davis -- have accused a third partner, Henry Balling Jr., of forging their names on checks cashed on an Admiral's Walk bank account.

"That is accurate," Maharan said during a Bankruptcy Court recess Friday. "That's what the district attorney is looking into, so I can't say any more about it."

Balling is president of the Balling Construction Co. of Buffalo, which filed for bankruptcy June 22. He has declined to comment on the Admiral's Walk case and could not be reached on Friday.

The good news came when Bankruptcy Judge John W. Creahan approved a $3.5 million loan from Marine Midland Bank for completion of the 11-story condo building.

No timetable was set for completion, but Bankruptcy Trustee Jack L. Getman said construction would resume as soon as possible.

Construction of the project near Erie Basin Marina was halted in May when Marine Midland foreclosed on loans.

Meanwhile, the district attorney's office is continuing a criminal investigation into allegations that $1.4 million was embezzled from the project.

Getman is conducting his own investigation into the forgery claims and allegations, made in court papers by Bozer, that Marine Midland has been "involved inappropriately" in financial dealings at Admiral's Walk. Bank officials have denied any wrongdoing.

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