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Concord Sells for $10.25M

Murphy top bidder in court auction

Rich Newman
Staff Writer

January 20, 1999

WHITE PLAINS -- A partnership headed by Joseph Murphy, a New York City real estate investor, is the apparent new owner of The Concord Resort Hotel after making a bid of $10.25 million yesterday.

The once-proud resort was sold at a public auction in federal bankruptcy court to settle debts.

"It's been a long road," said Murphy, general partner of Concord Associates LLC, a corporation formed to buy the resort.

Murphy had tried to buy it last summer from the Parker family for $24 million, but he could not put together financing by the court imposed deadline.

Richard Lieb, the attorney representing Sullivan County, which is owed $7.2 million in real estate taxes, opened the bidding at $8.94 million. Other bidders for the 1,200-room resort with two golf courses and rights to assume a lease on a third, fell silent when Murphy's attorney, Steven Gordon, upped a $10.05 million bid from HUY Pacific Realty, a company with ties to the recent purchase of The Pines resort hotel in South Fallsburg.

Gordan's bid of $10.25 million stood as Judge Adlai Hardin Jr. said, "Going, going ... gone" inside the packed courtroom. Murphy paid a $2 million deposit to bid, and must pay the rest within 10 days to close the deal. Murphy's plans, first outlined last spring, are to make the resort part of the Sheraton chain, incorporating in some way The Concord name as well.

The plans include major renovations and construction of a conference center. Many of the 400 workers laid off in November were pulling for Murphy because he had indicated he would try to save their union jobs. He had been co-managing the resort during the summer, before he failed to close his first deal for the resort.

The $10.25 million will be enough to pay off secured creditors, Sullivan County, and lenders PMJ and Hy Singer, whose loans helped keep the resort running in the red through a bankruptcy proceeding that lasted almost two years. Two other mortgage holders, owed about $500,000, and the state of New York, owed about $540,000 in unpaid taxes, could get left out. The sale price fell about $1.1 million short of meeting all secured creditors' claims. The priority of a $1.2 million loan from Country Bank, of which Murphy is president, is still being disputed in court.

About 2,000 unsecured creditors, owed between $6 million and $9 million, will get nothing. Robert Parker, son of the resort's innovator Raymond Parker, said he was "disappointed" with the price.

"I'm glad it's over," he said, adding he was unsure of what his plans are now.

Sullivan County Executive Rusty Pomeroy was pleased with the outcome. "We got covered in full. We've got a developer who is going to keep the property on the tax rolls, and he has a clear, definite plan to move forward," he said. "We support (Murphy) 100 percent."

Murphy has the option to assume the lease on The Monster golf course, owned by Nalou Realty Corp., a company controlled by the estate of Raymond Parker.

The settlement reached yesterday included the stipulation that the winning bidder for the resort would have to pay $2.3 million up front and $350,000 per year to assume the lease on The Monster, which began in 1968 and runs through 2012.