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Florida's Sagamore Hotel Files Countersuit in Effort to Block Auction;
Claims Being Duped Into Halting Loan Payments Which Set Stage for Foreclosure

By Douglas Hanks, The Miami HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Apr. 21, 2010--The Sagamore Hotel wants a judge to block its lender from auctioning off its delinquent mortgage to the highest bidder this week.

In a countersuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, the stylish South Beach boutique accused lender LNR Property Corp. of duping it into halting loan payments in hopes of restructuring its debt. LNR plans to auction off the $32 million mortgage, setting the stage for a foreclosure on the 93-room hotel.

A spokeswoman for LNR, which is headquartered in South Beach, did not respond to an interview request.

Lawyers for the Sagamore asked a judge to let the hotel make the loan current and halt the upcoming auction. The court papers cite the Sagamore's attempt to recast itself as a Playboy outpost -- a restaurant and bar deal that would have brought the famous bunnies to South Beach and, according to the Sagamore, pump an additional $1 million a year into the hotel.

Instead, according to the court papers, LNR executives walked out of a December presentation by the Playboy team before the pitch could even begin.


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