Stonehedge Licenses in Jeopardy
TYNGSBORO -- Stonehedge Inn & Spa, one of the region’s poshest hotels, may have its licenses revoked or suspended if it doesn’t pay part of the more than $200,000 in taxes and sewer bills it owes by year’s end.
The iconic property along Pawtucket Boulevard is owned by Beej Das, CEO of Troca Hotels. Das unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District earlier this year.
The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 Monday to place conditions on Stonehedge license renewals unless the licensee, Boston East Tyngsboro Holdings, LLC, pays 25 percent of the money it owes the town before the end of the year. Das is listed as the signatory and resident agent of Boston East Tyngsboro Holdings, LLC, according to the Secretary of State’s corporation’s website.
The company owes $202,470.10, according to Treasurer/Collector Jennifer Finnigan. This figure includes taxes and sewer bills.
Das said Friday he became aware of the situation about two weeks ago and that the company was making a payment the same day that will satisfy the initial conditions of the town.
“From what I understand, it was an administrative error. It was not noted by our accounting team and it just fell through a crack,” Das said. “Our team works with the town pretty extensively so somehow, over the period of time that this particular tax went unpaid, somehow it did not escalate either internally at our team nor did it escalate with the town. Obviously there was some procedural issue that let this last as long as it did.”
Finnigan said a payment plan had been launched for the company in October 2017. Only one payment was made, the following month.
Sean Smith, director of operations of Troca Hotels, said the company is trying to make things right.
“We are aware of the situation and we’re working with the town of Tyngsboro to rectify it,” Smith said. “We really don’t think it’s going to be an issue moving forward.”
The following is a breakdown of what the company owes:
* 2019 real estate taxes: $49,388.23
* Tax title: $137,852.05
* Sewer: $15,229.82
Selectmen on Dec. 3 renewed all other local and liquor licenses. Stonehedge holds the following town licenses: Weekday entertainment, Sunday entertainment, common victualler, liquor-Inn Keeper (Stonehedge Inn & Spa), and liquor-off premise wine & malt (Stonehedge Cellars, LLC).
Stonehedge’s licenses would be renewed for a year if it makes the first 25 percent payment by deadline.
“However, because its renewal is contingent upon a payment plan, if a payment is missed the board has the right to hold a hearing to rescind the licenses,” Town Administrator Matt Hanson said Friday.
The requirements placed on the renewal of Stonehedge Inn & Spa’s licenses include receiving a commitment letter from an investor or bank and that the business pay additional 25 percent payments on the last days of January, February and March.
“It gives them 90 days in the first part of 2019 to go current,” Selectmen Chair Rick Reault said on Friday. “We’re optimistic the payments can be made. I guess it would be up to the licensee to determine what financial situation they’re in and whether they have the ability to make those payments.”
Selectman Hillari I. Wennerstrom on Friday said it’s unfortunate that a long-standing business that adds something to the community element has found itself in this situation.
“In fairness to the businesses that pay their taxes and abide by the rules, we find ourselves in this situation where we need to take action,” she said.
Das said the town of Tyngsboro is a great place to do business.
“At the end of the day, our company bears the responsibility for paying those taxes and so the procedural error was definitely on our end,” he said. “But we’re happy that we’re able to get it resolved.”
In the race for Congress, Das was one of 10 Democrats in the September primary. Lori Trahan finished first, with nearly 22 percent of the vote. Das finished a distant seventh, with 1.7 percent. Early in the campaign, he loaned his campaign $325,000.
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.