Attorney Laura A. Raymond Wins Foreclosure Appeal for Blighted Property in Favor of the Town of Windham
Attorney Laura A. Raymond of Suisman Shapiro recently represented the Code Director for the Town of Windham, Mr. Matthew Vertefeuille, in a foreclosure action against the Good Foundation, Inc. (GFI), a property located at 85 Bridge Street in Willimantic. The GFI claims to conduct scientific research and its sole owner/principal is Dr. Phillip Jay Mann. The property was run down and had been historically blighted. Neighbors complained continually to the Town about the condition of the property, including garbage, rats, and the stench of raw sewage coming from the premise. The Town issued orders to the GFI to remedy the blight, yet the GFI failed to remediate the property. The Town then issued citations against the GFI for violations of the Town’s blight ordinance, which accrued daily at $100/per day and was eventually recorded as a lien on the property.
As the GFI continued to refuse to cure the blight, the Town had no other option but to foreclose on their lien. Dr. Mann failed to appear in the foreclosure action until months after a judgment of foreclosure was entered by the Court. The week of the foreclosure sale, Dr. Mann, by way of his attorney, appeared in the action and attempted to stop the sale with emergency motions. Dr. Mann claimed that he had no knowledge of the lawsuit and made other unsubstantiated arguments. The Court denied all of Dr. Mann’s attempts to stop the sale and the Town purchased the property for $58,856.90, the amount of the lien plus fees.
Afterwards, Dr. Mann retained new counsel to bring additional motions to stop the court from approving the sale, which were denied. Dr. Mann then filed an appeal of various trial court rulings with the Appellate Court, including the underlying judgment of foreclosure by sale. Attorney Raymond filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal, which was granted in part. However, the Appellate Court allowed Dr. Mann/GFI to proceed on his appeal as to other trial court rulings including Motion to Reargue/Reconsider and Motion to Open the Judgment. Parties briefed the issues and argued before the Appellate Court, which issued a decision on January 11, 2024, affirming all the trial court’s rulings. The sale of the blighted property at 85 Bridge Street in Willimantic to the Town of Windham stands.