Court OKs inn going to prior owners

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RUTLAND — Nordic Hills Lodge is heading back to the hands of the previous owners after the Hermitage Club failed to make tax payments on the property and the trustee assigned to its bankruptcy case gave his blessing.

United States Bankruptcy Judge Colleen A. Brown issued an order Tuesday, making the town of Wilmington provide the deed to Terry Perkins and Deborah Strawn-Perkins.

Last month, the couple looked to the court for help. They previously owned the hotel at 34 Look Road and live in North Carolina now. They made the high bid of $35,000 on the property during a tax sale held by the town in June 2018.

Brown wrote that the town should "deliver any excess proceeds from the tax sale to the Chapter 7 trustee, within one week of issuing the collector's deed." Town Treasurer Christine Richter said about $11,066 was owed at the time of the tax sale.

Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company LLC, one of two Hermitage entities involved in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings where their assets are anticipated to be sold, "had one year from the date of the tax sale to redeem the property by paying the delinquent taxes owed as of the date of the tax sale and interest at the rate of 1 percent per month," Heather Z. Cooper of Facey Goss & McPhee in Rutland, attorney for the Perkins family, wrote in a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Vermont. "If not redeemed, the statute provides that the collector or his or her successor shall execute to the purchaser a deed, which shall convey to him or her a title against the person for whose tax it was sold and those claiming under him or her."

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The Perkins family owned Nordic Valley Properties LLC, which held the mortgage issued to the Hermitage for the inn.

"A lender's priority in mortgaged commercial property can evaporate when the owner fails to pay property taxes," according to kgrlaw.com. "While a lender can preserve its mortgage interest in the property by insuring payment of the property taxes prior to a tax deed being given to a tax sale purchaser, it becomes progressively more expensive to preserve the lender's interest."

The Perkins family foreclosed the property and received a judgment for an award of more than $133,000 in 2016, according to land records. When the Hermitage failed to make tax payments, the inn was put for tax sale.

Gretchen Havreluk, economic development consultant for the town, recalled at least one other bidder at the tax sale. She said she talked with the Perkins family at the sale, and "they were looking forward to getting back here and managing it again."

An attempt to reach the couple was unsuccessful.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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