Judge orders condo sales closings

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NEWFANE — Judge John Treadwell ordered the Hermitage Club founder Jim Barnes and the Hermitage Inn Real Estate Holding Co. LLC to close on sales for condo units at the Chamonix Village in Wilmington within 15 days from Tuesday.

"The court finds that plaintiffs are the equitable owners of the unit, as of seven days after the issuance by the state of Vermont of the certificate of occupancy of the unit, the date of the required closing, per the agreement," Treadwell wrote Tuesday in an order for default judgment related to Unit 403 at 3 Garmisch Court.

That case involved a purchase and sale agreement from November 2015. Treadwell said the owners, Charles T. Collins and Ana Cladera, are owed $41,513 at closing.

As with the two other cases, the Hermitage had allegedly not closed on the sale nor conveyed the title to the new owner. Treadwell ordered the Hermitage to perform what is called for in the contracts, close on the transactions and convey titles "free and clear of encumbrances and defects in the form of a Vermont Warranty deed."

One order was in favor of Pamela Keefe, acting as trustee of the Carol H. Butler Trust, for Unit 504 at 6 Garmisch Court. The purchase and sale agreement also dates back to November 2015.

"The court finds that plaintiff owes no money on its purchase of the unit," wrote Treadwell.

Treadwell also ordered in favor of TFT Holdings LLC, the owner of Unit 401 at 3 Garmisch Court whose purchase and sale agreement goes back to March 2015.

"The court finds that plaintiff owes no money on its purchase of the unit due at closing," wrote Treadwell.

TFT claimed it had agreed to purchase the condo for $1,116,911 and provided marketing/promotional services in lieu of cash payments. The group said it received a credit for $638,000 to go toward the unit and then provided more services.

In court, Treadwell said his judgments would include dollar amounts that disappear after the closings.

For TFT, the figure was $1,458,249. Keefe's was $1,092,993, and for Collins and Cladera it was $1,107,192.

TFT also had an interest in trading services for ownership in a planned hotel development.

"Although a formal contract with Hermitage was never signed and the project not built, TFT nonetheless provided services to Hermitage for the planned purchase of the condominium totaling $1,478,249, the accounting of which Hermitage accepted as true and accurate," William B. Schwartz, a principal and agent of TFT, wrote in an affidavit filed in April. "At this time, however, TFT is not asserting a claim for these services, although it reserves its right to do so in the future."

During an approximately six minute proceeding on Tuesday, Treadwell said he "pulled all the cases together."

"Makes sense," said attorney David Pocius, of Paul Frank + Collins in Burlington, who represented all three parties.

The defendants failed to appear in court, Treadwell said.

"I'm assuming, Mr. Pocius, you have not heard from the defendants in these matters?" Treadwell asked.

Pocius said he had emailed the defendants before the hearing but received "silence" in reply. He called the behavior a "pattern" that Treadwell is familiar with in other cases.

It is unclear what will happen with the units as they are part of the foreclosure complaint brought upon by Berkshire Bank that prompted Treadwell to order the appointment of a receiver to preserve and protect properties owned by the Hermitage — including its private ski resort at Haystack Mountain, golf course and four inns — before a public auction. Pocius declined to talk with reporters following the hearing.

In a separate order related to the Berkshire Bank foreclosure, Treadwell said that there were parties who want to complete their purchases of the units to acquire legal title.

"[W]hile units are mortgaged to Berkshire Bank, the purchasers are claiming equitable title to these units and that they are maintaining those units," he wrote.

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

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