Town denies Hartness House Inn owners liquor license renewal
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | April 10,2013
Len Emery photo
The Springfield Select Board voted Monday night to deny a liquor license renewal for the historic Hartness House Inn due to nonpayment of property taxes.
SPRINGFIELD — The owners of the historic Hartness House Inn were denied a renewal of its liquor license Monday by the Springfield Select Board for nonpayment of property taxes.
The Select Board voted 4-0 to deny the renewal, which takes effect May 1, because Windsor Partners LLC owes the town more than $20,110 in property taxes.
The delinquent amount covers the first three quarters of the 2012-13 tax year, according to Town Clerk Meredith Kelley. The next tax payment is due May 15.
The Select Board had routinely approved several first and second class licenses Monday evening, meeting as the town’s liquor control commission, but Town Manager Robert Forguites, joined by Kelley and Jeffrey Mobus, the town’s finance director, held a quick, private conference, and came back into the meeting with the recommendation that Windsor Partners’ request for a new hotel liquor license not be renewed.
The tax bill is actually in the name of Spring Valley Partners Corp., a 2008 Vermont corporation formed by Alex Leonenko and Alla Dzugaeva, who have owned the historic inn since July 2003.
According to tax liens on file at the Springfield town clerk’s office, the federal government has also filed two liens against Windsor Partners for $12,436 and $3,790. Other liens, filed by the state of Vermont, have been paid and released.
The Hartness House Inn was built in 1903-04 by former Gov. James Hartness as his private home. Hartness, who was president of the Jones & Lamson Machine Tool Co., and held more than 120 U.S. patents on machine tool innovations, was governor from 1921-23. He was also an early proponent of aviation, and helped establish the first airport in Vermont in Springfield, which became Hartness State Airport.
In the 1950s, the home was purchased by the major machine tool manufacturers in Springfield and established as a hotel for visiting executives. It has been owned by a series of private owners in recent years. Is is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hartness Telescope and Observatory were built in 1910, which are located on the lawn of the inn.
A message left for Leonenko and Dzugaeva at the Hartness House was not returned Tuesday. The inn hosted Gov. Peter Shumlin on Monday at a meeting of the Springfield Rotary Club.
Leonenko and Dzugaeva previously had owned the Red Oak Inn in West Dover, but sold the bed and breakfast in 2002.