County has buyer for Glenelly Inn
THE COUNTY APPARENTLY has a buyer for the shuttered Glenelly Inn.
The Glenelly Inn, seized by the county from former owner Kristi Jeppesen last November for her failure to pay transient occupancy taxes (TOT), may have a buyer capable of covering the massive tax debt that has dragged nearly 40 independent property owners into a legal and financial quagmire.
"We have a buyer, the offer is in escrow, and it should close in the next 30 to 45 days," said Rod Dole, Sonoma County's auditor, controller, treasurer and tax collector.
Dole refused to reveal the name of the buyer or the selling price but called it "favorable" and said, "We're working toward assuring that all liabilities are extinguished. We think we have a pretty good chance of accomplishing that."
Liabilities on the Glen Ellen property totaled about $1.8 million, including a lien held by Westamerica Bank and TOT Jeppesen was supposed to collect but did not pay for dozens of bed and breakfast rentals she managed. The B&B owners were then slapped with overdue tax bills that, for some, amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.
But the county will not cover lost revenues Jeppesen collected for B&B rentals but failed to pass on to owners of the properties being rented. Jeppesen also collected deposits on future rentals stretching as far forward as this June. The total value of unpaid receipts to property owners has been estimated as high as $100,000.
Those funds, said Dole, "are not a county issue. We would not be able to cover lost rents due to Kristi's inability to make rental payments."
While at least two property owners asked the Sonoma County Sheriff to investigate the case for criminal fraud, no charges have been filed against Jeppesen and the district attorney's office has said no case will be filed.
Dole would not reveal whether the buyer was local or from out of the county, but he repeated that, if the sale is concluded, the price should resolve all obligations to the county related to the Glenelly Inn debacle.
In an unrelated development, the Gaige House, another Glen Ellen bed-and-breakfast facility, will be sold at auction May 17 for defaulting on a bank debt of $10,456,378. The auction will also dispose of all furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
The Gaige House is a high-end hostelry with a national reputation and clientele from across the country. It sits on Arnold Drive with frontage along Calabazas Creek and has 23 rooms and private suites.