Lincoln County Courts

Casella sues ex-owners of Sheepscot Village properties

Posted:  Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 4:00pm

Anthony Casella of Edgecomb filed suit Nov. 3 against John Hutchins III and John Hutchins IV, doing business as Sheepscot 617 LLC, Sheepscot 802 LLC, Sheepscot Village Venue Center LLC, Sheepscot Village Rental Center LLC, Sheepscot Pool House LLC, Sheepscot Golf LLC, and Davis Island Group LLC.

According to the filing, the Hutchinses in December 2016 purchased Casella’s thriving wedding and vacation business that had annual gross revenues of $2 million. The suit claims 57 weddings were planned at the banquet facility for summer 2017, and the venue had taken in half a million dollars in non-refundable deposits.

The suit said Casella sold it to them because the Hutchinses had experience in wedding reception businesses, including Leavitt and Parris, Inc., which makes tents and awnings for events in Portland and Marianmade Farm, a working flower and lavender farm in Wiscasset. They outlined plans to improve the facilities and planned to hire a manager to handle the weddings already booked, according to Casella’s suit.

However, the suit alleged, none of the promised improvements or staff members materialized. The summer season was a disaster, with numerous unhappy clients and a loss of good will that had taken years to build, the suit states.

According to court records, the Hutchinses never paid anything on their mortgage, which was held by Casella. In October, he foreclosed on the property; an auction for personal business property was held at the site. A mechanic’s lien filed by Maine Real Estate Network for $96,000 for real estate management services, with respect to the privately owned cottages that were rented to wedding principals and guests, went to mediation Oct. 22. No additional information was available by press time about the disposition of that suit.

Attempts to reach the Hutchinses at Davis Island Group were unsuccessful; the telephone had been disconnected.

Casella’s attorney, Tom Hallett of Hallett, Zerillo, and Whipple of Portland, said it was too early to identify an amount to seek. Hallett said cash, liquor, and other items were removed from the businesses; and he said the loss of the good will will make restarting them difficult.

The court granted the Hutchinses’ request for an extension on the time to respond and to get an attorney. Hallett said more information may be available by mid-December. “This suit is in its infancy,” he said.