August 16, 2011
August 16, 2011
Fire and Financial Woes Close Historic View Point Inn
By Oregon Small Business Association
An accidental fire at the historic View Point Inn and Restaurant overlooking the Columbia River Gorge left the Inn’s future in limbo. The fire apparently started when a spark from the chimney ignited the roof on July 10, closing the Inn indefinitely. Co-owner Geoff Thompson and his partner, Angelo Simione, hoped to rebuild the Inn, but financial woes quickly quashed their dream.
Geoff Thompson filed for bankruptcy in late June to prevent selling the inn in a foreclosure auction. However, after the fire, Thompson lost control of the inn when the bankruptcy court converted his Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which allowed him to continue running the inn with protection from creditors, to Chapter 7, which allows a trustee to take over and liquidate the debtors’ assets.
After losing the Inn, the Portland Business Journal reports Thompson’s debts total $2.92 million to his top 20 creditors. The creditors include former employees of the inn, who are seeking thousands of dollars for unpaid wages through the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Despite Thompson’s financial troubles, he quickly pointed his finger at Representative Matt Wand, who participated in the bankruptcy hearing while representing Steve Serafini, a creditor who Thompson owes about $200,000; and Dick Wand Construction, which Thompson owes around $20,000 to $30,000 in principal, interest, attorneys’ fees and collection fees. The Portland Tribune reported that Simione and Thompson blasted Representative Wand for killing their dream of keeping the Inn.
The Portland Tribune also reported that Representative Wand said his uncle, Dick Wand, performed $10,000 in construction at the inn four years ago but never received payment. With the sky high debt, the historic landmark’s future is grim.