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Break-ins at inn add intrigue to legal case

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published 07/28/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 07/28/2010 02:03 AM
Lighthouse Inn sale still hangs in limbo

Two spring break-ins at the Lighthouse Inn did not result in a great deal of damage or stolen items, according to a report filed in anticipation of a court mediation session trying to arrange the final sale of the historic New London landmark.

Superior Court Judge James J. Devine has scheduled a mediation session for 10 a.m. on Aug. 27 at the New London courthouse with the prospective buyer, Anthony D. Acri III of New Haven, as well as other interested parties, including former inn operator Maureen Clark. It was Clark's request to retrieve personal property at the inn that led to the discovery of one of the inn break-ins, which in turn delayed its sale as all sides wrangled over the possibility of valuable items going missing.

Acri's attorney, Jonathan Berchem of Milford, said at the time that the property appeared to have been looted.

But a walk-through of the property by Kevin Classey, an employee of Lighthouse Inn's receiver, Northeast Property Group Inc., indicated that "the inn was not looted," Frank J. Liberty, attorney for the receiver, said in a note to the judge.

Classey compared an inventory of items listed during a an appraisal of the property in February to a list he compiled last month and found no more than 35 missing items, mostly of small value. The items included four VCR/DVD players, four televisions, two small refrigerators, a microwave oven and a wall clock.

Whoever broke into the landmark appeared to be more interested in finding documents than in taking items, he said.

"Someone has gone through the (main) office and dumped the contents of the files on the floor in what appears to be a hurried search for documentation," Liberty noted in his letter, which said that televisions, computer monitors, printers and computers were left untouched.

Another administrative office "was in disarray with papers all over the floor and drawers open," he said. At the inn's Carriage House, he added, someone "had gone through the sales office smashing a phone, overturning some boxes and rifling through others."

Again, all equipment, including televisions, were still in place, according to the report.

Devine has said he hopes the Lighthouse Inn issues can be resolved and the sale to Acri can move forward. It's possible that Acri's bid of $1.25 million could be adjusted to make up for losses resulting from the break-ins, he said at a hearing last month.

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