CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A recently-filed federal lawsuit contends West Virginia developer William Abruzzino is personally responsible for $18,822,851.95 on the defaulting Hilton Garden Inn in Morgantown.

The lenders filed a breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The lawsuit contends Abruzzino and his wife Rebecca have violated the terms of their personal guarantee on the loan.

A similar lawsuit filed in October held the Abruzzinos personally responsible for $17 million for the loan on another of their developments, the Crossings Mall in Elkview.

Lawyers for the Abruzzinos filed a response in that case on Jan. 31, denying the claims and countering that the lenders have acted in bad faith.

The Abruzzinos have had developments floundering over the past couple of years in a variety of West Virginia communities.

The troubles even hit two Abruzzino-owned Elkins shopping centers that foreclosed and were sold at auction for $10 million this past week.

More prominent have been defaulting hotels in Morgantown, Clarksburg, Elkins and Elkview that have been in bankruptcy and in litigation.

The State of West Virginia, as well as county and local governments, has been trying to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes that were collected from customers but not passed on.

The original loans were taken out by an investment group that included Sen. Joe Manchin and longtime aide Larry Puccio. Recent bankruptcy documents filed in the Morgantown hotel case indicate they are not current investors but it’s not clear when they got out or under what circumstances.

The latest court action says the Abruzzinos signed a personal guarantee on the $15,470,000 loan they took out in 2013 for the Hilton Garden Inn at Sun Crest Town Center.

Mountain Blue Hotel Group, an investment group that has William Abruzzino as its lead investor, has filed bankruptcy on the Hilton Garden Inn twice in a year’s time.

That and the failure to pay property taxes has triggered the guarantee, the lender contends.

“As a result of the above and other actions, all amounts due and owing under the Loan Documents have been accelerated and are immediately due and payable,” lawyers for the lender state in the recent filing.

The lawyers say $18,822,851.95 debt remains. That includes what’s still on the loan plus attorneys fees, costs and expenses from the ongoing legal battle.

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