Taneytown Bank buys Havilah Inn at auction

March 25, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Amy L. Miller contributed to this story.

The Taneytown Bank and Trust Company bought the Havilah Inn yesterday.

The bank was trying to auction the Taneytown restaurant to pay off the mortgage the bank holds on the property.

About 30 people watched as the 15-year-old establishment was sold for $340,000 to the bank -- the only bidder.

"The bank bid $200,000, then we took a recess to discuss how we were going to proceed with the auction," said Charles E. Stoner, the bank's attorney, who acted as a substitute trustee for the bank during the sale.

Mr. Stoner said the bank raised its bid to $340,000 because it "wanted to bid money that better reflected the value of the property," which includes the building and about 5 acres of land in the 5500 block of Taneytown Pike.

The bank began foreclosure proceedings against the restaurant's owner, R. Leon Rebert, this month after he had failed to make his mortgage payment for four months.

According to court documents filed by Mr. Stoner on behalf of the bank, Mr. Rebert owed $330,948 plus interest on the unpaid mortgage as of February, as well as money the bank advanced to pay the telephone and electric bills.

L The bank will recoup its investment by selling the property.

"Once the sale is ratified by the courts, then we will be out looking for a buyer," Mr. Stoner said. "The process will take about 30 days.

Mr. Stoner said that after he files the sale papers, a notice will appear in newspapers about the sale of the restaurant for three weeks.

The bank will be making arrangements to sell the equipment, appliances and furniture inside the building, which were not a part of yesterday's sale, Mr. Stoner said.

Mr. Rebert also had problems paying other bills. According to records in Carroll District Court, companies including Carroll County Foods Inc. in New Windsor and Cranberry Graphics in Westminster filed suits seeking reimbursement for services.

Some employees got paychecks that bounced, according to Doris Harner, a waitress who had worked at the inn since it opened in 1975.

When the restaurant failed to pay for propane, and the supply was cut off, cooks had to prepare food on a two-burner electric stove and in a toaster oven, Mrs. Harner said.

The restaurant was closed Jan. 27, when water pipes were damaged by the cold weather, according to Mr. Rebert.

Because he planned to be closed more than 10 consecutive days -- he told one former employee he would reopen March 8 -- Mr. Rebert had to inform the county liquor board.

Mr. Rebert has until April 12 to find another buyer or turn in the license, said liquor board chairman Russell Mayer.

He has until April 1 to tell the board of his plans. The board knew about Mr. Rebert's financial troubles Feb. 10 when they gave him permission to keep the license, Mr. Mayer said.

Mr. Rebert had been searching for a buyer, and Mr. Stoner said he knew that an attorney for the inn's former owner, Bonnie Fitzgerald, were negotiating with Mr. Rebert's lawyer to purchase the restaurant.

Mr. Rebert and Ms. Fitzgerald could not be reached for comment.

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