A company that borrowed money from Heartland Bank claims it spent more money on interest than the bank originally represented it would charge.

Westbrooke Properties filed a lawsuit May 10 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Heartland Bank.

In its complaint, Westbrooke Properties alleges it agreed to take out a loan with Heartland Bank after the bank quoted it low annual interest rates. However, the rates were lower than what the bank actually charged the company, according to the complaint.

"Throughout Plaintiff's loan process, the Bank repeatedly misrepresented that it would charge a lower specified annual or per annum interest rate on Plaintiff loan than the Bank intended or actually did charge," the suit states.

In the loan documents the bank drew up for Westbrooke on July 10, 2007, it intentionally inconspicuously defined the company's interest rate as an additional five percentage points from the annual index rate it initially described in a Variable Interest Rate paragraph, the complaint says.

"Plaintiff never voluntarily agreed to pay nor knowingly paid interest in excess of the Plaintiff's specified negotiated annual or per annum interest rate clearly stated in their Notes and Loan Agreements," the suit states.

In fact, Westbrooke claims it was not aware of the higher interest rate it was paying until this year.

Westbrooke wants the court to classify its suit as a class action lawsuit, including as plaintiffs all people who borrowed money from the bank and who were charged excess interest between May 10, 2001, through May 10, 2011.

In its complaint, Westbrooke alleges breach of contract against the bank.

It seeks class action certification of the complaint. It also seeks compensatory and exemplary damages, plus a downward adjustment of the principal balance on which the bank has paid excess interest, an order requiring the bank to make restitution for all excess interest it received, pre-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Bernard Ysursa of Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer and Shevlin in Belleville; Pat Ducey of the Law Office of Pat Ducey in Troy; and Thomas R. Ysursa of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner and
Thompson in Belleville will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-235.

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