WILMINGTON- Berkshire Bank filed a foreclosure complaint against the Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company, the Hermitage Club, and Hermitage owner James Barnes in Windham Superior Court Friday afternoon.
Hermitage Club officials said that the bank's action was anticipated, and suggested it could spur ongoing negotiations. "This was fully expected and it is the next logical step in a process that will assist to bring all parties to the table to reach accord," said Hermitage Club public relations director Meridith Dennes. "We believe it was needed and will help us to reach an agreement that will ultimately benefit all stakeholders."
Berkshire Bank is seeking foreclosure on several Hermitage properties including the Hermitage Inn, Haystack Ski Resort and ski area lands, Haystack Base Lodge, Haystack Golf Course, Chamonix Townhouse Village, Haystack Golf Course, water rights to Mirror Lake, hundreds of acres of land, along with several smaller parcels. The foreclosure action also includes the Snow Goose Inn, the Horizon Inn, and the Doveberry Inn.
According to the complaint, Barnes and the Hermitage failed to meet their obligation to make payments on three loans, including a $15 million "base lodge" note signed in December 2014, a $1 million bridge loan in June 2016, and a second bridge loan of $1.1 million made in July 2017. Of the total $17.1 million in loans, the Hermitage and Barnes still owe $16,342,175.61 in principal, along with $213,799.76 in interest, and $43,603.79 in late charges.
The bank's complaint also notes that "all taxes, assessments, and other charges" on the mortgaged properties must be "paid current," and any unpaid taxes or other debts owed on the properties "become additional indebtedness owed by (the defendants)." According to Wilmington officials, checks presented for Hermitage property taxes on February 23 failed to clear, and property taxes due previously are delinquent. The failure to pay taxes on the properties "is a default under the mortgage, among other loan documents, by Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company LLC, Hermitage Club LLC, and James R. Barnes."
The action also lists as defendants, along with Barnes and the Hermitage, about 45 individuals, businesses, and government entities that have filed liens or writs of attachment against Hermitage Club properties totalling more than $9.7 million. The amount includes a $1.5 million writ filed by Reinhart Food Service, two $1 million writs filed by individuals for residential properties, and $1.2 million in liens filed by the Vermont Department of Taxes. According to Berkshire Bank's complaint, the 45 creditors' claims are "junior and inferor to that of (Berkshire Bank)."
Boiler plate language in the complaint warns occupants of the properties that their right to remain on the premises may end when the foreclosure is completed.