With Deadline Looming, No Word On Possible Appeal Of Waterford Speedbowl Foreclosure Auction


The Waterford Speedbowl

The Waterford Speedbowl

A deadline for possible appeal of approval of the foreclosure sale of the Waterford Speedbowl looms on Monday, though creditor Ed DeMuzzio isn’t saying if he’s made any decisions regarding possible action.

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.

Bruce Bemer was the high bidder – at $1.75 million – in the foreclosure auction of the Speedbowl on Oct. 18.. The Glastonbury businessman has said he intends to continue to run the property as a racing facility.

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.

The deadline for that formal appeal is Monday.

Reached Friday morning, DeMuzzio’s attorney Michael Bonnano said: “Unfortunately, there’s nothing I’m permitted to comment on at the time.”

Reached later Friday morning, DeMuzzio said he could not speak at the moment but could talk on the subject in the early afternoon. Multiple attempts to reach DeMuzzio in the afternoon were unsuccessful.

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.

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.

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

DeMuzzio is at risk of losing $250,000, which includes about $110,000 invested in the property and about $140,000 in accrued interest, if the court approves the sale price.

The Jan. 5 court proceedings began with multiple creditors attempting to negotiate some sort of agreement with DeMuzzio, but those talks broke down that day.

On Nov. 17 DeMuzzio said: “Nobody is making any effort to try to help out here so I’ve got to what I’ve got to do. … It’s a lot of money. If it was fifty grand I would have said ‘That’s the way it goes’ but it’s not 50 grand and it’s just totally unfair. If we could get all the players that are involved to kick in a little bit, if I could just get half, some reasonable amount, I would be more than happy. I don’t need to get all my money back, I just want it to be fair.”

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 owner Terry Eames 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.

During the Jan. 5 hearing Bonnano told Cosgrove that DeMuzzio now alleges that Arbitell promised before the auction to bid high enough to protect DeMuzzio’s debt and that Arbitell then reneged on that deal during the auction. Cosgrove told Bonnano that his previous arguments had not indicated that to be so.

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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  1. Everyone hopes this works out. Every time I read this I can’t get over the interest, that was one hell of a loan deal. If this causes the whole deal to collapse, he is still out the 250,000. Maybe offering him 75-100,000 might be worth it to just move on.

  2. Andy Boright says

    I think the 2015 season at Waterford has already been seriously hurt, if not wiped out all together . Any teams planning to race at Waterford are already several months behind in finding out what the divisions are, rules are, and schedules. New ownership will be starting from ground zero in planning a schedule, hiring employees, and putting divisions and rules together, not to mention what if any sanction the track will carry.

    Trying to piecemeal together a weekly program at this late date would be foolhardy unless the new owner would like to take a financial bath the first few months of the season. If the sale can finally go through, I would focus on some special events for 2015 and lay the groundwork for 2016.

  3. George Buzel says

    FINALLY Waterford Speedbowl court drama looks to be done!! A “committee deed” has been taken by the court which essentially means the court will now be conveying the deed to the successful bidder which was Mr Bemer.

  4. lets hope this is over and we can get back to planning 2015 season. as far as the rules go why not use the 2014 rules. also if there is no NASCAR sanction then run a season with no sanction and see how it goes. i thing there are still a number of cars and fans that would come back .me included. maybe run a open comp show each month. just some ideas. lets go racing…….

  5. Maybe DeMuzzio Would Accept Free Ad Space At The Track For Compensation. He Just Might Gain Some Loyal Customers In Doing So. ……… Just a Thought

  6. Greg Hanner says

    There’s action taken today – a “Committee Deed” was issued. I believe that means that Bemer now posts the balance of the bid amount to the court in exchange for the deed to the Speedbowl. You can see court action here: http://tinyurl.com/n6tj4mv

  7. Ditto on no chance of a weekly 2015 series. Teams have moved on. Make improvements this summer while the weather’s fine. Open up for a special open show in September. Full-time racing resumes in 2016. Don’t rush it. 2015 is done, in the books.

  8. When you get into 3rd position with an entity that is already having huge financial difficulties, guess what, you get paid after #1 and #2 if it goes up for auction. If DeMuzzio thought the place was worth more than the $1.75m, he should have been at the action prepared to bid it up to at least the point where all of the debts were covered. Then he could have turned around and sold it for what he thinks it is worth, assuming he could find a willing buyer. Dude, sorry, stupid investment in the first place. Notice there were no banks lined up to jump into that 3rd position. You had to know or should have known you had a real big chance to lose your entire investment. Now, all you are doing is trying to extort your money back from people that just bid what they thought they should pay. The auction was not to make everyone whole, it was to get what they could out of it to pay the #1 position first, then the #2 until he is paid in full, then if there is any left, on to #3. As usual, when the crap hits the fan, the last idiot on the list usually ends up on the short end. Let it go and make wiser investment decisions in the future and stop trying to just take everyone you can down with you. Accept responsibility for your own actions and move on quietly.

  9. Youhavenoidea says

    I agree with Jason and mike b and that it should A not race until 2016 and b that this crap needs to be moved on and realize it’s ur loss u made a bad investment and take what little pride u have and be done.. As for the teams most of them are gone unfortunately but doesn’t mean after a yr they won’t be back and let’s all not forget that mr Beamer has a option to now back out and get his money returned and then it would definitely be a done deal

  10. Couldn’t they run with the same rules package and divisions as 2014 to save the teams from having to scramble to make changes.

    If it is a lost season, maybe Mr. Bemer can use 2015 for renovations. I think there was mention of new catch fence and bleacher upgrades and restroom improvements.

  11. Just a bunch of nonsense on the comment about teams and dedication to the Bowl everyone will be back and more on a Saturday to race, also it’s over Mr.Bemer is the new Owner. As far as the 2015 session there is no reason just to start were the session ended and run in April. As far as teams and track attendance with the approvments with Mr. Bemer as a successful business man the Bowl will even challenge Stafford. The Speedbowl has much brighter days coming

  12. The appeal will be filed at the last minute and then dragged threw the mud even longer. 2015 is toast and more than likely 16,17,18…etc. Eventualy Mr Bemer will just say forget this and just back out. It will go to auction again sell for probably even less money this time to a major developer and then that’s it, they will pay off this guy tear it down and bye bye bowl.

  13. The appeal period is over on Sunday the 25th Sunday, last day to file was when the court house was open on Friday 23th it’s over. A “committee deed” has been taken by the court which essentially means the court will now be conveying the deed to the successful bidder which was Mr Bemer.

  14. Hopefully this gets finalized Monday and the new staff can put together a 2015 season that begins in June or July. Having a some sort of season and races will make racers feel comfortable to come back and run a full 2016 season. Even a 12 race schedule with some open shows will get racers in the pits. Hopefully the bowl can get the Mod Tour back in 16 as well.

  15. JustMyThoughts says

    I just shake my head at some of these comments. Let’s just wait until Monday to see what will happen. That will eliminate some of the ridiculous scenarios that are floating around here. First, it appears Bemer is going to be patient and wait this out, so the future for the ‘Bowl looks bright. Second (and this is just my belief), even if the sale gets delayed a year or more, the track will most likely open anyway. It may not be under the direction of somebody you like, but it certainly beats being closed and weeds growing up through the cracks. If it does reopen, the teams and fans will be back. Just be grateful, and let’s be positive.

  16. I don’t understand you people, the guy is obviously going to try and get his cash back, why wouldn’t he. Anyone in there right mind who had a shot to get their $100k back through the appeal process would try.

  17. Another well done piece, Shawn. Thank you. I can’t see Mr. Bemer walking away from an asset like the Bowl property that he bought for 50 cents on the dollar. Doesn’t make sense. The appeal needs to be filed by 5:00 p.m. Monday, so we are waiting to see what Tuesday brings. I don’t see Mr. DeMuzzio throwing $15,000-30,000.00 into an appeal he has to know he will lose. If he thinks he has an enforceable claim against Mr. Arbitell arising from the auction, let him chase that in another lawsuit. As to the prospect of racing at The Bowl this year, one would be a fool to bet against the spirit of the folks down there.

  18. To All those posting about the “Committee Deed” posted to the judicial timeline:

    This is a non-action at this point and is irrelevant to what it is going. The appeal period remains open until Monday and as of now it is not known whether Mr. DeMuzzio will file a formal appeal of the approval of the sale price or not.

  19. Folks this is what was filed Friday, you are free to Google and see the detail of the form. Not that there is a date that is required on the form.
    WHEREAS, by judgment of Foreclosure by Sale rendered on (date)
    JD-CV-74 Rev. 6-10

  20. Buzzz, yes the foreclosure did take place and yes the sale price has been accepted and approved by the presiding judge, but no deed has been given to Mr. Bemer and the window for the appeal of the approval remains open until Monday. Even after it clears appeal, the process still must include a regular real estate closing. The judge is not going to just hand Mr. Bemer the deed. Please stop posting incorrect information here. There’s already enough misinformation about the situation, please stop spreading more of it.

  21. If and when this is over why don’t we all let Mr. Bemer move at his own pace, put all the pieces of the puzzle together and open the facility when he is ready. Instead of pacifying everyone by making popular decisions so they can race let him do it right the first time so he does not have to do it again. If you have to sit a year out so be it or go somewhere else until everything is ready. Please lets just give the guy a break and don’t be like a bunch of vultures.

  22. Its interesting that we have so many lawyers on this site. Maybe Mr. Bemer should have hired one of you. Its probably true that most of you never passed a Bar. But maybe you were in one when you were writing your opinion. My question is, if 1080 still holds the title while all this is hashed out in court, couldn’t Eames re-open the track if he so chose? If the traditional schedule is followed there’s only 12 weeks before it would normally open. Yet there are no scheduled events posted on the track website, last I checked. Even if all the legal wrangling wraps up today, is that enough time to get the track operational for early April regardless of who unlocks the gates? If I was the new owner of a track and hade no experience in track ownership or promotion, no race schedule , no employees, no sponsors, no announced divisions of competition, no NASCAR sanction and all the bad will that has accrued over the years, not to mention the condition of the facility, I’d sure be taking the time to have solid plans for when it does re-open and not rush just to get cars on the track. If Bemer is as astute a business man as many think he is, then he’s in this to make money. He’s already off to a great start, buying property for 50 cents on the dollar. Rushing and repeating the mistakes of the past is not a good business plan and I seriously doubt anyone has to remind him of that. Starting from ground zero to get everything properly in place to make this a viable track for a long time suggests to me a later opening to a season if one happens at all this year. Do it right and the crowds and the cars will be there no matter when it finally opens.

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