|By Stephanie Hoops, Ventura County Star,
Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 13, 2011--The owner of the Ventura Pierpont Inn has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a year after signs of trouble emerged at the historic property.
Millions of dollars in debt, Grace S. Ahn filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 25. Ahn is the trustee of The Ahn Family Trust, which bought the inn and spa in spring 2009.
Amid talk that the inn was having problems, its restaurant, Austen's, closed in November 2010.
Ahn's bankruptcy lawyer, Andy Kong, told The Star early last month that a management company, Pierpont USA LLC, had taken over operations at the inn, saying the "service will be even better" and it would be open for business.
Chapter 11 reorganizations let businesses to operate as usual under court supervision until a plan is approved by two-thirds of the creditors.
Before Ahn bought the inn, it was in the hands of a group of investors operating under the umbrella name of Central Coast Management Inc. They purchased the property from Spencer and Scott Garrett for $10.4 million.
The Garrett Family Trust is listed among Ahn's creditors as being owed about $2.44 million. The Garretts say in court records that they hold a second-priority lien against the inn for about $2 million.
Ahn also owes $6 million to Community West Bank in Goleta and has $173,079 in debt on 13 credit cards. She estimates her liabilities total from $10 million to $50 million, the same tally she estimates for her assets.
The property has had four owners in the past 13 years.
When Ahn bought the property, it was unclear what prompted her interest in it. The general manager was optimistic that new leadership would give the inn a boost after a difficult period under Ahn's predecessors.
The 77-room hotel at 550 Sanjon Road sits on 6.2 acres, next to the Pierpont Racquet Club, which was not included in the deal.
The inn was built in 1910. Guests have included Hollywood celebrities and politicians such as Cecil B. DeMille and George H.W. Bush before he was president.
(c)2011 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)
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