Hanover to Auction House Taken for Taxes

  • 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) Copyright © Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Business Writer
Sunday, September 09, 2018

Etna — Maybe it’s not a haunted mansion, but it’s recent history sure has been spooked.

The town is moving forward with a tax sale of 5 Gates Road, one the highest assessed value properties on the town’s tax rolls, after consecutive owners failed to pay property taxes on the 14-acre estate.

“The goal is to sell the property and get it back on the tax rolls as soon as possible,” Betsy McClain, Hanover’s director of administrative services, said last week.

It is the third time in as many years that the unfinished home, which has construction materials strewn about the property, has headed to the auction block.

The nearly 5,000-square foot home was formerly owned by Arrien Schiltkamp, who was forced in 2015 to relinquish his Ford dealership in Claremont amid financial irregularities.

The unoccupied property, which has a panoramic northwest view of the mountain, was sold by Mascoma Bank at a foreclosure auction last October for about $300,000.

Assessed at $2.4 million, the four-bedroom Cape Cod-style mansion was undergoing a major expansion project when it went into foreclosure.

The bank had taken back the property after Schiltkamp defaulted on a $2 million loan from the bank that was secured by the property.

However, the winner of October’s auction, who assumed responsibility for three years of unpaid property taxes owed to the town, failed to pay up, according to town officials.

As a result, the town has seized the deed and will put it back up for auction.

The home has a recent troubled history.

A previous auction had been scrubbed in 2015 after Schiltkamp’s assets became entangled in litigation. Schiltkamp’s business empire collapsed after New Hampshire state authorities found financial irregularities at his car dealerships.

The current owner of 5 Gates Road is identified as Gates Road NH Centaur Holdings LLC.

The individuals behind limited liability companies are often shielded from disclosure. In this case, Centaur Holdings shares an office address with Melville, N.Y., law firm Castiglia-Rubinstein & Associates.

Attorney Christine Castiglia-Rubinstein has a paid radio show and podcast called “Estate Law Expose” that airs on the weekends on WOR-AM in New York. She did not respond to messages seeking comment last week.

The Hanover Selectboard approved a recommendation from town staff that 5 Gates Road be put up for sale after the town took possession of the deed due to the failure to pay property taxes, according to minutes from the meeting.

Nearly $220,000 in taxes, interest and costs have been owed to the town since 2015, according to McClain.

That total includes about $71,500 for 2015 alone that was supposed to have been paid by June 21.

Gates Road NH Centaur Holdings missed that deadline.

Under New Hampshire state law, the town is required to give the owner 90 days notice that it is proceeding to a tax sale in order to give the owner an opportunity to repurchase the property after paying back taxes, accrued interest and penalties.

The penalty payment, based upon 10 percent of the property’s assessed value, would be $240,000, according to Selectboard meeting minutes.

When combined with the back taxes, interest and other costs, the total amount owed the town is about $500,000.

McClain said that Centaur Holdings has not yet been served the formal notice, but the town “intends to move forward with a tax sale.”

In the meantime, officials will continue “to work out some of the finer details with our attorney, and I expect there will be progress toward this goal over the coming weeks.”

The town is in discussions with Ossipee, N.H., attorney and auctioneer Rick Sager to conduct the tax sale of the property.

Schiltkamp, in an interview on Friday, said he had no affiliation or connection with Centaur Holdings and didn’t know Castiglia-Rubinstien other than “by a crazy coincidence” once hearing her radio show when he was out walking his dog one day.

“I don’t know anything about it,” he said about the current status of his former property.

In 2015, as his financial difficulties mounted, Schiltkamp put his Upper West Side townhouse in Manhattan up for sale with an asking price of $29 million. He said the bank later took back the property and he and his wife are currently “temporarily living” in Florida.

​The Manhattan residence is currently listed with a New York real estate agency for $11.9 million.

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