The Day – Bank asks court to set another foreclosure sale date for Spicer Mansion

Chelsea Groton Bank has asked Superior Court to schedule another foreclosure sale of Spicer Mansion, the boutique hotel in Mystic that drew a winning bid of $ 3.52 million in a public auction held in March.

Since then, the winning bidder, Ross Weingarten, has failed to close on the purchase in the time allotted by the court, the bank asserted Tuesday in a filing in New London Superior Court. The bank also asked that Weingarten’s $ 367,000 deposit be forfeited.

In another filing Wednesday, Chelsea Groton asked for “expedited adjudication” of her requests.

“Plaintiff submits that the interests of justice dictate that a new sale date be assigned expeditiously, and that the deposit be forfeited to the benefit of interested parties,” the bank’s attorney, Brian Rich, wrote.

Weingarten, owner of Sawyer Sheds in Plainfield and a business associate of the hotel’s current owner, Brian Gates, said Wednesday he’s still interested in the property.

“I’m prepared to go forward. The property has tremendous value, ”he said. “I don’t want to say anything more right now.”

A New London Superior Court judge approved the outcome of the March 12 foreclosure sale on March 31, marking the start of a 30-day period in which Weingarten was required to close on the deal or forfeit his deposit. The period ended last week.

Gates has continued to operate the eight-room hotel located at 15 Elm St. on the Groton side of Mystic.

Chelsea Groton filed the foreclosure action against Gates Realty Holdings in 2019, alleging it had defaulted on a $ 1.8 million mortgage the bank granted Gates in 2015. Gates had secured the loan with second, third and fourth mortgages on his family residence at 116 Cove Road in Stonington, valued at $ 1.2 million, and commercial and residential properties he owns in Plainfield and Putnam.

Foreclosure sales on those properties, suspended pending the outcome of the Spicer Mansion sale, are now scheduled to take place May 21.

In another lawsuit involving Spicer Mansion, Gates’ attorney responded this week to the Town of Groton’s latest request that Gates be sanctioned for allegedly violating zoning regulations in his operation of the hotel.

On April 1, the town asked in a court filing that Gates was imprisoned, “as financial punishment has failed to deter the Defendant’s repeated and willful conduct.” Earlier, a judge had ruled that Spicer Mansion’s owners could be sanctioned for failing to heed an order that they stop operating a public restaurant and stop hosting weddings and other outdoor events.

Gates’ attorney, Richard Malafronte, says his clients “deny any and all allegations” brought by the town.

“Nowhere on the Defendant’s website is it mentioned that dining is open to the public, nor is it mentioned that any use of the premises is open to the public. …, ”Malafronte wrote. “Mr. Gates will be able to testify that he has made every effort to not entice the public to attend The Spicer Mansion for any dining experience, as this is only for guests of The Spicer Mansion.”

The court has scheduled a hearing in the case Tuesday.

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