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The Clarke Hotel Pays Its Tax Bill

Facing a foreclosure lawsuit, downtown Waukesha hotel pays $233,000 in taxes.

The Clarke Hotel’s taxes were paid by the bank Wednesday, according to Clerk/Treasurer Tom Neill.

The Clarke Hotel, which is a $1.5 million city investment, is being threatened with foreclosure because of its unpaid taxes. A lawsuit filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court alleges the hotel broke its $3.4 million mortgage agreement by failing to pay its taxes.

The hotel’s delinquent taxes totaled $118,865.91. It also owed $114,143.67 due Jan. 31 on the most recent tax bill. The $233,009.58 has been paid in full, according to the clerk/treasurer's office.

The City of Waukesha is named on the foreclosure lawsuit because the city provided financing to the property via tax incremental financing. The lawsuit acknowledges the city may have claims to the property, but is asking a judge to find “that any and all interests of the City of Waukesha is inferior and subordinate to the interest of the mortgage of the plaintiff and that the plaintiff is entitled to foreclosure of any interest of the City of Waukesha in and to the subject real estate.”

The city invested $1.5 million into the hotel — money that was to be repaid to the city from the hotel room taxes and increased property taxes on the development. The room taxes are current, according to the city's clerk/treasurer's office.

Ever since the hotel opened, it’s struggled. Original partners Andrew Ruggeri and Drew Vallozzi split in 2009. They had “renovated a former crack house into $5 million boutique hotel and upscale restaurant,” stated a 2009 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

In 2009 and 2010, lawsuits were filed against the hotel and restaurant alleging unpaid bills. The restaurant previously was in danger of losing its liquor license in 2010 for unpaid taxes.

The restaurant changed hands a few times, but in September 2011 the restaurant was closed after the owner at the time, Ramon Antonio Mitre Hernandez, was in danger of being evicted for unpaid bills. The hotel has had a sign in the window since September stating the restaurant is “closed for renovations.”

jodi January 24, 2013 at 06:46 PM
I hope this place never reopens nothing but bad experiences here! The rest of downtown is doing so well I hope that they can find a different tenant and use for this property.
Lola January 25, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Jodi, your pathetic. I hope one day you own a business. Then maybe you will understand how damaging it is to say such things. The Clark is a beautiful establishment and has done nothing but make the appearance of downtown better.
twister929 January 25, 2013 at 05:29 AM
@ Lola, who are you to say Jodi didn't have a bad experience. What's pathetic is you thinking your opinion is valid and Jodi's is not.
AW Sazerac January 25, 2013 at 08:42 AM
Twister, Lola did not dispute Jodi's experience, only Lola's comment. Lola does not tell us the nature or timing of the "bad experiences". Lola is not clear with respect to whether the experiences were personal or hearsay. I think Jodi was put-off by what might be considered a dour comment. Better to have a building occupied by a boutique hotel than a crack emporium.
AW Sazerac January 25, 2013 at 08:43 AM
Sorry for the obvious name error. It is late. :-/
Mr Lundt January 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Businesses come and go--- but this proves Waukesha is not competent at evaluating and "investing " taxpayer dollars in this arena. The tax payers get screwed and by them going by "inferior and subordinate" they garunteed we get hammered

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