Bank foreclosure calls for public sale of landmark property

Belfast’s White House may go to auction later this month

Posted:  Monday, January 20, 2014 - 6:30pm
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Story Location:
19 Church Street
Belfast  Maine  04915
United States

BELFAST - The historic James P. White House, also known as the White House Inn, may be headed to auction later this month after the property was foreclosed upon late last year.

According to public records, The First N.A. bank was granted a judgment foreclosure on December 19 against Rich Enterprises Holdings LLC, the property owner since 2009. The document states that a public sale of the property will be conducted on site, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. at 19 Church Street.

The 1840 Greek Revival-style mansion, positioned prominently at the forked convergence of High Street (Northport Avenue) and Church Street, survived the 20th Century with its exterior mostly unaltered. The interior was restored by former owners Terry Prescott and Robert Hansen, who bought the home in 1997 and opened the inn.

In 2009, Prescott and Hansen sold the property to Washington D.C.-based Rich Enterprises Holdings, a business concern of Diana C. Rich and Santiago Rich III. 

At the time of purchase, Rich Enterprises Holdings borrowed a total $875,000 from The First N.A. bank of Damariscotta. Initial foreclosure documents state that Rich Enterprises Holdings owed close to $850,000, including balance, interest and fees as of February 2013. The city later put a lien on the property for $7,000 in unpaid taxes.

The Penobscot Bay Pilot was unable to reach a representative of the company for comment. According to a neighbor, the Riches moved back to Washington D.C. in late fall 2012 and have not returned. The neighbor said the property had been listed for sale since 2011.

The final posts on the White House Inn’s Facebook page, dated Jan. 30 and March 2, 2013 advertise the property for sale through Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty, along with the following message:

“Diana and Santiago had a wonderful time in Maine running this Inn for four years; but time to turn the page.”

Nearly a year later, the property remained on the Legacy Properties website, along with an asking price of $820,000 and a description calling the property “suitable as a 6 room high-end boutique B&B w/14 seat restaurant or as an exceptional private home.” 

Foreclosure documents direct all inquiries about the auction to Pierce Atwood attorney Jacob Manheimer at (207) 791-1338 or jmanheimer@pierceatwood.com. Manheimer did not immediately respond to a request for additional information. As of Monday, the property had not appeared among the listings of local real estate auction houses.


Ethan Andrews can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com