Bushnell Regency Owes Nearly $275,000 In Condo Fees
BUSHNELL REGENCY LLC’S BANKRUPTCY
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
March 27, 2010
A bankruptcy filing cast light on just how far behind the owner of more than two-thirds of condominium units at Bushnell on the Park in downtown Hartford apparently was in paying condo fees.
Bushnell Regency LLC listed nearly $275,000 owed to the condominium association in condo fees as of Thursday when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Hartford. Bushnell Regency was in imminent danger of losing the units in a foreclosure.
Waterbury-based Bushnell Regency owns 129 of the building's 180 units and rents them out. The remaining 51 units are individually owned.
Some of those individual owners had filed a lawsuit to press Bushnell Regency to learn more about the condo association's affairs, concerned about building maintenance. As a majority owner, Bushnell Regency controls the association and has refused to disclose association finances or whether it is paying condo fees, the lawsuit alleges.
"My clients are paying into this black hole every month," Jonathan Starble, an Avon lawyer representing a dozen unit owners, said Friday. "Now, what is clear from the filing, is that Bushnell Regency has not been paying into that fund every month."
Starble said maintenance was a prime concern of his clients, including a leaky parking garage under the Wells Street building, which faces Bushnell Park.
Monthly condo fees range from $400 to $500.
Thomas Gugliotti, a bankruptcy expert at the law firm Updike, Kelly & Spellacy in Hartford, said $275,000 is a significant amount in condo fees.
"There apparently would be a hole in the operating budget for the condo association," said Gugliotti, who is not involved in the case.
The Chapter 11 filing stops the foreclosure, and would allow the owner to reorganize, refinance its mortgage or sell the block of units it owns.
Thomas J. Farrell, a lawyer at Levy & Droney representing Bushnell Regency, declined to comment Friday.
The bankruptcy filing is not likely to immediately affect those who rent the condos, especially if they have leases or options to renew.
And even though it is in bankruptcy, Bushnell Regency can still be in the business of leasing condominiums.
Bushnell Regency bought the units in 2002 for $15.6 million. When Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota first filed for foreclosure a year ago, it said it was owed $11.8 million before interest and late fees.
According to court papers, Bushnell Regency now owes Wells Fargo $9.7 million, the total apparently reduced through negotiations in the past year.
Some commercial property owners are facing foreclosure because they can't easily refinance mortgages that are coming due, lenders nervous about rising commercial real estate loan defaults. Others are intentionally stopping payments to force negotiations with loan servicers that represent investors who bought the loan.
The details of why Bushnell Regency is in foreclosure wasn't addressed in Thursday's filing.
Bushnell Regency lists $10.6 million in liabilities and $8.8 million in assets.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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