Start Your Engines: Settlement Reached In Waterford Speedbowl Foreclosure Case

Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer moments after he was the high bidder during a foreclosure auction of the Waterford Speedbowl on Oct. 18

Glastonbury businessman Bruce Bemer moments after he was the high bidder during a foreclosure auction of the Waterford Speedbowl on Oct. 18

Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl during the 2015 season took a big step toward being reality on Wednesday.

Likely new track owner Bruce Bemer confirmed exclusively to RaceDayCT Wednesday that all parties have come to a settlement that will end the courtroom drama that had slowed movement forward with the foreclosure auction of the facility.

Bemer confirmed that the formal appeal of the sale price filed by creditor Ed DeMuzzio on Jan. 26 has been withdrawn.

“I just received a message from my attorney that the appeal has been withdrawn,” Bemer said. “We’re clear to move ahead.”

Bemer was the high bidder – at $1.75 million – in the foreclosure auction which took place on Oct. 18. The Glastonbury businessman intends to continue to run the property as a racing facility.

Superior Court Judge Emmet Cosgrove had previously approved the sale price. Bemer’s hopes to close quickly on the facility had been held up by the legal maneuverings of DeMuzzio, and after almost three months of legal wrangling and negotiations, DeMuzzio filed a formal appeal.

Barring any other appeals filed, Bemer now has 30 days to close on the property. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Bemer said the intention is to run a traditional weekly season beginning with races in April.

“The hope is there for that,” Bemer said. “I have to get in there and inspect the safety aspects. That stuff has to all be in place. But I think the 2015 season will go ahead as normal.”

Bemer was a surprise bidder to many during the Oct. 18 auction of the facility, but his steps forward in preparing for the 2015 season were slowed in court by DeMuzzio.

DeMuzzio was at risk of losing $250,000, which included about $110,000 invested in the property and about $140,000 in accrued interest.

On Nov. 14 Cosgrove had denied two objections to the sale price filed by DeMuzzio and his company, CCI Inc., essentially approving the sale price at that time, but opening the door for DeMuzzio to file a formal appeal.

DeMuzzio had filed the motion for the judge to reconsider his approval of the sale price on Dec. 3. DeMuzzio had been facing a deadline then to file a formal appeal of the approval of the sale when he filed the motion to reconsider.

On Jan. 5, Superior Court Judge Emmet Cosgrove denied a motion by DeMuzzio to reconsider the previous approval of the auction sale price of the Speedbowl.

The Jan. 5 ruling essentially put the case back to where it was Nov. 14 when Cosgrove approved the sale price, giving DeMuzzio the right to file a formal appeal of the sale price.

The formal appeal of the approval of sale could have delayed transfer of the property from owner Terry Eames to Bemer for more than a year and could have put the 2015 racing season at the track in jeopardy.

On Nov. 3 Cosgrove heard objections to the sale filed by DeMuzzio and CCI Inc. In his objection, DeMuzzio alleged that there was collusion between creditors Rocco Arbitell, Peter Borelli, Theodore Parker and Shawn Parker to keep the bidding price low for the auction. DeMuzzio also argued that the property should have been better marketed to attract a higher bid in favor of creditors to realize returns on their debts.

There was just over $2 million owed on the property by Eames and his ownership group at the time of the auction. The property had recently been valued at about $3 million and was being advertised on the market for sale with an asking price of $3.3 million prior to the auction.

In denying the motion on Jan. 5 to reconsider the approval of the sale price, Cosgrove said there was “nothing … that makes the court doubt the fairness of the sale price.”

In July 2007, Arbitell, a Southbury businessman and local racing supporter, along with his business associate Borrelli, stepped in to offer Eames and his ownership group, 1080 Hartford Road LLC, financing to avoid a foreclosure action being taken then by former mortgage holder Washington Mutual Bank. The deal with Arbitell was announced a day before the track’s auction date for a foreclosure in 2007.

In May 2008 Arbitell brought his own foreclosure action against the ownership group after former track operator Jerry Robinson failed to pay the Speedbowl’s property taxes.

Facing another pending foreclosure auction, Eames and 1080 Hartford Road LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2009. A debt reorganization plan was accepted by bankruptcy court in January 2012 and the ownership cleared bankruptcy not long after that.

In March 2013, Arbitell and the rest of the creditors involved in the bankruptcy moved to have foreclosure action retaken against the Speedbowl ownership, which led to the Oct. 18 auction.

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Comments

  1. good news but when will opening day be anyone know

  2. Ronda,
    One hurdle at a time here. I think most folks are just happy there will likely be an “Opening Day” in 2015.

  3. UM give them time to work things out he just withdrew the appeal.

  4. Amazing news! Can’t wait to get back to the track I call home!

  5. former scale guy Bob says:

    Congrats Mr. Bemer… I am happy this all happened. Now to get people into the right places…

  6. Grey Matter says:

    Did Beamer ever inspect the place before he bid on it?

  7. Pete Newsham says:

    Patriots win the Super Bowl !! Now this news !! Makes me smile 🙂

  8. Great news sure it will open better than ever

  9. Andy Da Woodchuck says:

    Mr Rooter must have wrote a check for Mr Pizza man to go away. No Speedbowl = Rocco had no chance at National Championship.

  10. Awesome news for race fans and Mr bermer. Would hate to have seen this end any other way.

  11. Great News!Call Dick Williams tonight Mr.Bemer.Dick will help with countless details required to get the track open.Call for volunteers,you will be amazed at how many race fans and racers who would be willing to give some serious time to the Speedbowl.Count me in!

  12. Thank you Bruce for not giving up on the track and your loyal racers . We will support you in many forms and help you put on great racing for our fans ! If you need anything track out to us and will be there . Awesome !!!!

  13. Thank you for reporting the good news Shawn!

  14. darealgoodfella says:

    HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN..

  15. Dear Mr. Bemer, thank you so much for sticking it out. Its refreshing to know the Speedbowl is not dead. I know you said would want to open in April but please take whatever time you feel is necessary to get things in place to your satisfaction before opening. Us racers will be patient and here to support you and the Speedbowl when the time is right. I think I speak for a vast majority of the racers and fans in saying “out with the old and in with the new”, the time has come for a new era and return or the Speedbowl to its past glory days of a long long time ago.

  16. I would do what the Oswego Speedway owners did. The provided event tickets or season pass to those who spent a day cleaning, painting and picking up. The Torrese family announced it like an event; people showed up and the place looked brilliant on opening day.

  17. Pitgatelady says:

    Really ANDY DA WOODCHUCK nothing better to say ! Mr. Negative !

  18. gary duprez says:

    Great news! Here’s my question. Will there be a Whelen Modified Tour Race at Waterford this year? And when?

  19. Gary,
    As of right now there is no Whelen Modified Tour event scheduled. There is a possibility that the window could still be open to add an event to the schedule. We’ll have to see what happens.

  20. great news lets go racing. i hope the bowl will do the early pass to former pass holders.

  21. Congrats to you Mr Bemer, I’ll admit I had my doubts that the track would open for racing as I’m sure many of us race fans did, thank you for sticking it out, I’ll be there this year to enjoy what has been a many year tradition for me, P.s. don’t worry about making everything perfect for us the fans, with the late start to get the many things going that will be needed, I think us, the fans will understand, were just glad not to lose an old friend… thanks again

  22. Im looking forward to new ownership and the changes it will bring. Speedbowl racers are hardcore racers and its a privilage to race there.

  23. I did not sponsor, own, drive or crew a car at the bowl last season, but when I saw all the stands roped off for safety reasons I volunteered to help rebuild them. I worked hard for three full weeks with Bubby and the crew to get all the stands open. Not for the owner, but for us, the racing family at Waterford Speedbowl. I’ll do it again this year for the new owner Bruce Bemer, just for a seasons pass. I’ve been attending racing there since I was 3 years old. From my dad Arthur, uncles John and David in 1951, their cousins Charlie Savage and Billy Knapp, me, my cousins John Jr, Richard, Larry, Ron and Wayne and my son Ryan. Long time friendships and rivals begin at the bowl-all good.

  24. Glad to see everything is a go
    Good luck with your endeavor Mr Bemer
    I wish you all the best for your 2015 season
    With many short tracks closing throughout the US
    It is great to see Waterford will remain a speedway
    Kudos to you for your purchase and your love of the sport
    As a long time race fan and former driver I can assure you you made a great decision

  25. Crazy in NY says:

    Great news!!! to be sure. Now with new ownership I hope a new broom is brought in and
    sweeps some old culture out of the pits and the racing gets cleaned up. I love the place but
    some of the shi….that passes as driving is over the top. Take the time Mr Bemer to do things right.
    The place can thrive again.

  26. Andy Boright says:

    Will Terry Eames still be involved with the track in some capacity?

  27. Andy,
    Not sure about that at this time.

  28. Thanks for saving the home town track. Love thatplace been going since I was a kid

  29. Thank You to all involved in getting this mess resolved. Thank you Mr. Bemer. I would be open to volunteering to help out in any way I can.

    Can’t wait to get our there and watch some racing and support the track when the track is ready.

  30. Why not ask Tom@Sids View to assist in promoting the Speedbowls” restart.Sids View was one of the best things ever to happen to the place.Time is Time!

  31. Bruce, let me know we can get you plowed out and get you a chance to get a walk thru . Left a message with contact info. Please feel free to call . I’m in Waterford . Also Art from Coke will contact you . Ty again for saving our track we all so hold close to our hearts .

  32. Is Beamer a possible front man for those people that tried to purposely keep the bidding low? I mean are we going to possibly see the same people back at this or are they gone for good??

  33. Shawn – does anyone know if an appeal by a different party is possible? Is the courtroom drama really over??

  34. Rafter,
    It’s my understanding that an appeal is still possible, though highly unlikely.

  35. left no name so I must be "spineless" says:

    Don’t thank anyone too fast…..Thank him in 5 years if he hasn’t sold the property…..In the end Business is still Business.

  36. Great news. Granted, it’s only a first step to re-opening. One has to wonder though if we are talking April opening how that could be possible unless everything is just going to be a continuation of last year, including all the personnel involved. It’s interesting to me that nothing has been said by the new owner or anyone else about what is in store for this year. I doubt he’s been sitting around and not making plans, especially considering he’s never owned a track before. Maybe now we’ll hear something? Call me skeptical, but a guy with no racing connection comes out of nowhere , buys the track for 50 cents on the dollar and all the while, perhaps on the advice of a lawyer, says nothing about what is going to happen at the track except that it will continue as a race track. At the end of the day there is more to this deal than meets the eye in my humble opinion and while we are all giddy as schools girls over the track re-opening, I’m anxious to see just what that means. The fact that no one is telling us is rather disturbing. We’ll see.

  37. Nothing like seeing those modifies coming out of turn 4, and please. Do something with those pig troths, and the cost of getting in is a little steep. Try and get track open as soon as possible before cars go to another track.good luck.

  38. Rumor has it... says:

    Word on the street is Bemer has been meeting with the owners of both Stafford and Thompson and both tracks race directors over the last few months consulting with them on things.

  39. Youhavenoidea says:

    Trust me Beemer is no stranger to racing and has been involved silently for years and the guy will be fine. I know he had reached out to a lot of people so far and getting advice from many. It will be fine seeya terry have a nice day!!!

  40. THANKS, MR BEEMER,FROM ALL RACE FANS STATE WIDE……SEE YOU IN APRIL

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