Hotel may return to prior owners

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RUTLAND — Court approval is being sought for Nordic Hills Lodge in Wilmington to be returned to the previous owners.

Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Company LLC, which currently owns the property at 34 Look Road, "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," attorney Heather Z. Cooper of Facey Goss & McPhee in Rutland 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."

Cooper represents Terry Perkins and Deborah Strawn-Perkins of North Carolina, who paid $35,000 for the property after being the highest bidder in a tax sale held by the town of Wilmington in June 2018. The couple owned Nordic Valley Properties LLC, which held the mortgage issued to the Hermitage for the hotel.

"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."

Bankruptcy filings in May put a pause on litigation against the Hermitage. Two banks — including Berkshire Bank, which has a foreclosure complaint against the company spanning the private ski resort at Haystack, golf course and other inns — have asked for relief from what is called an "automatic stay."

Lakeland Bank's request was approved. The New Jersey-based bank was given permission to remove or sell snowmaking equipment purchased with money it loaned.     

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

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