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Joyce Endee

Judge dismisses Andy Martin lawsuit to overturn The Balsams sale

November 14, 2012
CONCORD — Merrimack Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara dismissed a lawsuit on Nov. 6, Election Day, which sought to undo the sale of The Balsams Grand Resort in the Unincorporated Place of Dixville.

Andy Martin, who describes himself as a corruption fighter, filed the lawsuit. He has said in an earlier telephone interview that he would appeal if the case were to be dismissed.

Attorneys for the state, the current and previous owners of The Balsams, the Colebrook and Coös County planning boards and the auctioneers of the resort's contents, argued that Martin is not a New Hampshire resident, has no connection to the seller or buyer of the world-famous resort, and thus has no standing in the case. They asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Judge McNamara pointed out that other than having dinner once at The Balsams, Martin "was not affected by the events leading up to the sale or the sale itself."

McNamara denied Martin's motion to amend the suit and dismissed all other pending motions as moot. The judge also dismissed allegations that he was biased.

Martin argued that he was advocating for the roughly 300 workers who lost their jobs when the resort closed in Sept. 2011.

Martin called the hotel an "economic engine" for the North Country and said its closure and sale was an unfortunate "charade." He argued that state Attorney General Michael Delaney's review of the sale by a charitable trust established by the hotel's owner, the late Neil Tillotson, was both cursory and corrupt.

The new owners — successful businessmen Dan Dagesse and Dan Hebert, both Colebrook natives — originally said that they sought to reopen the resort in 2013. They now estimate that it will take up to $39 million to put the Grand Hotel and Resort back on the map as a world-class destination and have complained that the lawsuit has made securing the necessary financing to reach this goal impossible. Furthermore, they have pointed out that the ability to use $8 million in New Markets Tax Credits is set to expire on June 30, 2013, further complicating a difficult situation.

"We are pleased the Court agrees that Andy Martin does not have standing to bring this suit," said Hebert late on Monday afternoon, speaking for himself and his business partner. "Mr. Martin is a well-documented 'serial litigator' who has filed frivolous lawsuits for years against various parties in many states. We hope to put this nuisance litigation behind us so we can proceed with renovations that will restore the Balsams Grand Resort and create hundreds of jobs for New Hampshire's North Country."

Hebert explained that asbestos removal has been completed, and that demolition of the old glove factory and dorm buildings will soon begin. He said, "We hope to make good progress on the demolition before the severe winter weather hits."

Residents of Colebrook, Columbia, and Errol and other nearby towns, many longtime employees, are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping against hope that the "two Dannys", as they are known, will now be able to secure sufficient financing so that their plans to restore the hotel can move forward as soon as

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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