July 13, 2018

Cornerstone Bank wants $440K from Chameleon, Usual restaurant sale

Photo | Zachary Comeau
A sign advertising the sale of the property has appeared in the window at 166 Shrewsbury St.

A Worcester bank says it is owed more than $440,000 to recover its lost mortgage payments and costs from its work to maintain a former Shrewsbury Street restaurant that's the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

In a Friday filing, Worcester-based Cornerstone Bank is asking the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts to award it more than $444,300 in principal, interest and other fees the bank says it is owed due to the mortgage's delinquent status on 166 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester.

The bank is seeking the funds from the anticipated sale of the property, it said in court filings.

Kevn Perry, a former restaurateur serving 14 years in prison for his role in running an illegal drug enterprise and laundering money through The Usual restaurant formerly located in the building, secured a $375,000 mortgage from the bank in 2016, but payments stopped after August 2017, the bank said.

Perry's wife, Stacey Gala, opened a new restaurant in the space -- The Chameleon -- at the property last summer, but it closed in November. Now Perry and co-conspirator Joseph Herman face charges they used some of Perry's drug money to renovate and run the restaurant.

In filings, Cornerstone Bank says it took steps to winterize the property this past winter and spent more than $15,000 to do so.

The courts in December ordered the property to be forfeited to the federal government, which was supposed to retain a licensed certified real estate appraiser to perform an appraisal on the property to sell it.

However, the property is still vacant and Cornerstone Bank alleges the government initiated no action to list the property for sale while interest and fees on the mortgage continue to accrue.

Earlier this month, Cornerstone Bank sent the government a proposed motion seeking relief from a restraining order in order to foreclose on and sell the property, citing the lack of evidence the government took any action to appraise, market or sell the property.

On July 9, the government replied the property had in fact been listed since July 5 and two appraisals have been done, but online searches found no such listing, Cornerstone said.

On Friday, a sign from Canada-based real estate firm Colliers International appeared, advertising the sale of the property appeared in the window, but the property was not listed on the company's website.

A real estate agent out of the company's Boston-based office did not immediately return a request seeking comment.

Read more

Kevin Perry sentenced to 14 years in prison

Promising Shrewsbury Street site awaits outcome of laundering case

Chameleon, Blackstone Tap can be sold following drug plea

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