Owner Ching Ya Wu wants to tear it down. Historic preservationists want it saved. But the fate of the Dragon Inn may end up being decided by someone else altogether.
According to local officials, Wu owes nearly $70,000 in back taxes to the village, town, school and county.
Suzi Filak, Town of Saugerties tax collector said that Wu currently owes $17,481.22 in 2013 town taxes, of which $12,148.29 is for nonpayment of the 2012-2013 school taxes.
She explained that if Wu does not pay his taxes by June 1, the town will be sending the unpaid taxes to the county. Any unpaid taxes prior to the 2012-13 school tax were previously turned over to the county. The county could begin foreclosure proceedings in October.
There’s also mortgage debt. Construction consultant Don Snyder, who has served as the owner’s representative at local board meetings, confirmed that the financial institution that holds the property’s mortgage has filed notice to foreclose for failure to make payments, though he wouldn’t say which institution or how much the payments were.
Meanwhile, the property, plus the neighboring carriage house and gatekeeper’s house, will be the subject of a historic designation hearing March 27 at 6 p.m. at Village Hall. The village’s Historic Review Board wants to prevent Wu from bulldozing the structure, built by 19th-century industrialist W.R. Sheffield. The property would be worth much more without the fire-damaged building, which would require an untold amount of money to restore.
Snyder said he informed Mayor William Murphy and village attorney Alex Betke that should the review board continue with its action to make the Dragon Inn an historic landmark, Wu “would consider all his options.”
“We also asked them to cease and desist their attempt to designate the building an historic landmark,” Snyder added.
In other words, this could end up in court.
3/15/13 edit: Clarified that the county, not the town, sends out foreclosure notices