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Ex-Claremont Ford Dealer’s Etna Home Is Slated for Foreclosure Auction Again

  • Arunava Biswas, of Etna, looks over the unfinished home of Arrien and Robin Schiltkamp in Etna, N.H. after learning that the foreclosure auction of the property was abruptly canceled Thursday, November 19, 2015. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

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Valley News Business Writer
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Etna — One of the most valuable private residences in Hanover is being put up for bank auction after the owner failed to keep current on the property’s mortgage and taxes.

Mascoma Savings Bank will auction the property at 5 Gates Road in Etna formerly owned by Arrien and Robin Schiltkamp, who defaulted on a $2 million loan from the bank that was secured by the nearly 14-acre estate, according to filings made in connection with the couple’s personal bankruptcy proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Arrien Schiltkamp is the former owner Claremont Ford Lincoln, which closed down in 2016 after state financial regulators brought action against the auto dealer for failure to pay off the loans on customers’ trade-in vehicles. Schiltkamp eventually settled with the New Hampshire Banking Department and paid off the $556,000 in liens along with a $265,000 administrative fine.

The planned Oct. 11 auction of the Schiltkamp’s Etna property follows the removal of the Schiltkamp family name in April from the library at Kimball Union Academy, where The Jacob A. Schiltkamp Library and Learning Center opened in 2015 and was named in honor of Arrien Schiltkamp’s father. A representative for the school said the name was removed because of “nonpayment of pledges.”

The Etna Road property, assessed at $2.37 million, ranks as one of the highest assessed private residences in Hanover with only a handful of other properties surpassing it, according to the town’s grand list. The estate includes a four-bed, four-bath 4,360-square-foot residence where the Schiltkamps lived when not staying at their Manhattan townhouse.

It was scheduled to be auctioned in November 2015, but that auction was canceled.

Arrien Schiltkamp said he still holds out hope that he might be able to “make another deal with the bank or something” that would avert this auction, although he acknowledged that might be a long shot. The Schiltkamps had also listed their Upper West Side townhouse in New York for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $29 million, but they later took that residence off the market after not receiving any serious offers, he said.

“If the right buyer comes around we’d sell it,” Schiltkamp said of the New York City residence, adding that he and his wife nonetheless hope to return full time to New Hampshire, “either in Etna or somewhere else.”

The Schiltkamps have ties to the Upper Valley. Both their children attended Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, where Robin Schiltkamp is a former member of the board of trustees.

In 2014, Kimball Union celebrated the opening of the new Jacob A. Schiltkamp Library and Learning Center to house the school’s 14,000-book collection, which was “made possible through a gift from Robin and Arrien Schiltkamp,” according to a 2015 announcement in Kimball Union Magazine.

But in April 2016 the school’s board voted to remove the Schiltkamp name from the library after financial pledges the Schiltkamps made to the school did not materialize, a spokeswoman said. The library is now called simply the Kimball Union Library.

In October 2016, the Schiltkamps filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court — a proceeding in which the debtor seeks to renegotiate the terms of the debt — but the case was subsequently converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding in which assets are liquidated to pay off creditors. The change came after two creditors petitioned the court and argued that the Schiltkamps’ financial affairs were in such disarray that it offered “no hope for rehabilitation.”

Prior to the Schiltkamps’ initial Chapter 11 filing, Mascoma Savings Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings on the Gates Road property because the couple was in default on a $2 million loan secured by the property. The bank obtained an initial judgment of $1.75 million in November 2015, which was “amended” 10 months later, in September 2016, to about $3.5 million to include unpaid amounts from two other loans they had applied for and received from Mascoma.

The bank said in bankruptcy court filings that the $2 million loan on the Etna property was expressly granted to pay for renovation work on the residence, but instead Schiltkamp used it to pay off two other mortgages Schiltkamp owed to another lender.

Mascoma also alleges that Arrien Schiltkamp provided “materially false and fraudulent” statements to the bank about his net worth when he applied for a series of loans between 2012 and 2014.

As a result, Mascoma has asked the bankruptcy court to exclude those loans from the debt that would be “discharged” in the bankruptcy proceeding. If the judge grants the request, that would require the Schiltkamps to repay those loans even after they emerge from bankruptcy.

Whether Mascoma will fully recover the approximately $2 million loan that was secured by the Etna property when it is auctioned next month remains unclear, especially since the property has been valued at less than that amount.

The trustee in the Schiltkamps’ bankruptcy proceeding, “after consultation with an experienced real estate broker,” estimates the “fair market value” of the property at about $1.5 million, according a filing by the trustee’s attorney in the proceeding.

Schiltkamp, in an interview, blamed the collapse of his automotive dealerships — he also owned a Suzuki dealership in Manchester — on a former manager who he said mismanaged the business.

Those troubles, in turn, left Schiltkamp unable to pay the mortgage of his Etna estate, he said, in addition to owing $150,000 in back property taxes to the town of Hanover that have been unpaid since 2015.

Schiltkamp sued the former manager in New Hampshire district court alleging, among other things, he “siphoned funds” for “personal interest.” The suit did not include any allegations the former manager was involved with the unpaid liens.

The former manager denied Schiltkamp’s claim and countersued, alleging his former boss withheld reimbursements for expenses he was owed by the business and for failing to pay the manager’s share of the proceeds in a jointly owned reinsurance business.

The suits were stayed when Schiltkamp filed for bankruptcy.

John Lippman can be reached at jlippman@vnews.com.