Bishop’s Lodge still in debt

Unpaid debts, lack of construction still an issue at the resort, despite promises that problems would be resolved

HRV Hotels Partners, the Atlanta-based firm that owns Bishop's Lodge, the monumental resort north of Santa Fe, has yet to pay off its significant debts as a spokeswoman had promised, according to records held by the Santa Fe County clerk.

When SFR contacted the company last month to ask for comment on the $3 million of outstanding liens, or claims on a property, the firm said that the liens would be settled within a week.

That was more than two weeks ago.

Most of the money owed is to the general contractor HRV Hotels hired to manage a renovation effort of the property the company maintains will be complete in 2020.

Last week, SFR inquired with HRV about the status of the liens.  Heidi Hanna, president of the Houston-based marketing firm HILL Strategic Brand Solutions, responded, writing in an email that "it's all in process."

"I don't know the details of how these things finalize on record at the county level," Hanna wrote at the time. "Give it another week and let me know what you see then."

SFR returned this week to check again, and still found no settled liens in HRV Hotels' name. Hanna has not answered subsequent phone calls or text messages.

SFR reported last month that the owners of the site, built as a resort around a historic chapel built by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy in the 1920s, are behind on property taxes, owed significant amounts of money to contractors, and had made little progress on the construction that was supposedly on track.

In addition to the outstanding liens, the Santa Fe County treasurer's office tells SFR that the unpaid property tax bill on the Bishop's Lodge property has continued to grow. The corporation that was created to hold the property owes an additional $1,500, bringing the total unpaid property tax bill to $133,976.56. Additional interest will accrue over time, and the next increase will be on July 10, according to the treasurer's office.

Dylan O'Reilly, a real estate attorney and director at Miller Stratvert Law Offices in Santa Fe, says that whether construction can continue with outstanding liens is a murky question.

"A lien itself doesn't prevent construction from going on," O'Reilly tells SFR. "But it presents logistical or practical problems in that, for example, if the owner's having a hard time getting the bills paid, the liens would make it difficult to get additional financing."

O'Reilly adds that subcontractors could discover the outstanding liens and decline to start work on a project if payment appears to be a problem.

Hanna told SFR in May that construction would resume for 2019 this week, but when SFR paid a visit to the site on Wednesday June 19, no work was being done.

The general contractor, Bradbury Stamm, which has claimed most of the liens against HRV Hotels, could also refuse to work until the liens are cleared, according to O'Reilly.

Bradbury Stamm declined to comment on any element of this story.

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