Hermitage Club founder Barnes fights no-trespass order

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NEWFANE — Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes wants to lift a no-trespass order so he can take a pick-up truck and excavator from foreclosed properties.

"We're planning to sell some personal non-core assets to keep up with payroll and other expenses as we move forward with reorganization and this does not affect our plan or timing," he said Friday in an email, referring to a goal to partially reopen by the summer.

In a recent court filing, Brattleboro attorney Bob Fisher said the items are not owned by the Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company LLC but by Barnes and the company has no objection to them being removed by their "rightful owner."

Barnes was served last Monday with a notice against trespass by Alan Tantleff, the court-appointed receiver who has been preserving foreclosed Hermitage properties including the ski resort at Haystack Mountain and golf course since June.

Barnes is "not allowed to be present upon the subject properties as defined by the receivership order for the purpose of entering any locked or unlocked buildings and removing personal property, or entering any open part of the subject properties and removing personal property, without the prior written permission of the receiver," according to the notice. His "further unauthorized presence on these subject properties as defined by the receivership order will be considered a trespass and may subject [him] to civil and criminal prosecution."

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Fisher said the truck was transferred by bill of sale to Barnes in May 2014 and the excavator was sold to FM Facility Maintenance LLC in December 2011.

"The receiver notes that these items were listed on a list of fixed assets at the time of the loan," Fisher wrote. "Such items listed on an equipment list were listed for purposes of managing the insurance on items that were used by the Hermitage Club. For example, boats owned by a separate company were allowed to be used by the Hermitage Club and were covered under the club's insurance. The same goes for the truck and the excavator. Neither is owned by the HIREHC LLC and thus the [Uniform Commercial Code] financing statement does not apply because the security agreement and the UCC apply to only the equipment owned by the debtor."

Requesting that the court allow Barnes to remove the items, Fisher said neither the receiver or the mortgagee Berkshire Bank have presented any evidence that they were owned by HIREHC.

"We have filed this letter with the court seeking clarity and approval," Barnes wrote in an email.

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


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