Next move Butternuts'


By David Avitabile

The next move with the Guilford Mills plant is up to Butternuts Beer and Ale.
That's the consensus after the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Friday refused to revise their stance on holding the mortgage for the brewery.
In its attempt to buy the vacant Cobleskill factory, Butternuts asked to have its mortgage with the county in the second position so that it could borrow from a bank to make repairs on the building.
Fearing the risk if Butternuts defaulted, supervisors rejected the request in June and did so again on Friday.
Although Butternuts rep John Lorence called the rejection "a big disappointment," he said the brewery was still interested in Guilford.
"It's still in the mix," Mr. Lorence said of the factory. "We'll be working with potential investors, but there's a time limit."
He was referring to an October 15 deadline to get the deal closed.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil Skowfoe and Treasurer Bill Cherry both opposed granting the second-position mortgage and said the potential sale is still up to Butternuts.
"We'll see what they're going to do," Mr. Skowfoe said. "They still have the option on it."
Mr. Cherry agreed, adding that Butternuts could use financing of its own or secure a second mortgage to get the necessary repairs done.
"I don't think there's anything else the county can do," Mr. Cherry said. "The ball is in the court of Butternuts."
He also said Butternuts could sign the original deal--Guilford in exchange for $2.5 million and no payments the first three years.
Supervisors and the brewery agreed to the sale in December 2011, and the closing was supposed to be early in 2012. Delays followed until the October 15 deadline was set.
"I don't think the board will move the deadline, but that's up to the Board of Supervisors," Mr. Cherry said.
Mr. Lorence described himself as perplexed after Friday's decision because he believed the risk to the county was slim.
His plan was to have a bank's mortgage--the money to repair the building--in first position and the county's in second position.
If Butternuts failed, the bank would take possession of the factory. However, Mr. Lorence said, the repairs would have been done and the building would be worth more than it was.
Plus, he said, the bank would be paying taxes--something not being done now because the county owns Guilford.