Spofford Hall before planning board soon

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CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — Representatives from the owners of the former Spofford Hall will be presenting sub-division plans during the Feb. 24 meeting of the Chesterfield Planning Board.

The plans call for the removal of the existing building and a subdivision of the nearly 11-acre lot to make room for five small parcels for houses.

According to Chesterfield Code Enforcement Officer Ted Athanasopoulos, Nine A Llc., the owners of the property, have not yet submitted a request for a demolition permit.

The fate of Spofford Hall, which was shuttered in 1995, had been on hold for a number of years.

In 2014, the Chesterfield Zoning Board voted 3-2 to grant a variance to build five homes in the Spofford Lake District. The Chesterfield Board of Selectmen appealed the Zoning Board's decision to Cheshire County Superior Court, contending that the five-lot cluster development on six acres violated the Lake District's zoning ordinance. The case was transferred to Sullivan County Superior Court due to a conflict of interest on the part of the presiding judge in Cheshire County, eventually making its way to the New Hampshire Superior Court, which remanded the case back to Sullivan County Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker.

In December 2018, Tucker issued a ruling that denied the Board of Selectmen's appeal.

"The building is in disrepair," wrote Tucker, "with built-up mold that makes it uninhabitable. ... In its present condition, the property serves no reasonable purpose. It is incompatible with existing residential uses in the neighborhood ..."

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Spofford Hall was built in 1980 by John Chakalos, of Windsor, Conn. Chakalos, who also had a home in Chesterfield, was shot dead in his Windsor home on Dec. 20, 2013. His grandson, Nathan Carman, of Vernon, was named by the Windsor Police Department as the main suspect in Chakalos' death, but prosecutors returned unsigned an arrest warrant.

Carman's three aunts have also accused him of killing his mother, Linda Carman, when his boat, the Chicken Pox, went down in deep water off the coast of Block Island in September 2016.

The aunts filed a so-called "slayer petition" with New Hampshire Probate Court, which was adjudicating the status of the Chakalos estate, arguing that because he is responsible for the death of his mother and grandfather, Carman should not receive any of the proceeds from the estate of his grandfather. His portion of that estate is estimated to be $7 million. In May 2019, the judge in the case denied the slayer petition, ruling that New Hampshire wasn't the appropriate jurisdiction for the filing because Chakalos was living in Windsor at the time of his death.

Carman recently lost a federal suit filed in Providence, R.I., after his insurance company refused to reimburse him for the sinking of his fishing boat, the Chicken Pox.

He and his mother, Linda Carman, set out in the Chicken Pox in September 2016. The boat sunk with his mother presumably on board. Nathan Carman told authorities he managed to jump onto a life raft but that he didn't see his mother as the boat went down.

Nathan Carman was rescued eight days later by a freighter that saw his raft floating about 600 miles off Martha's Vineyard.

"I want to be clear that the underlying allegations in my aunts dismissed petition that I murdered my grandpa and/or mom, are as false and meritless as my aunts' position on residency has been shown to be," Nathan Carman said in a statement released by his attorney in May 2019.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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