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Lender seeks foreclosure sale of Santa Fe hotel

SANTA FE, N.M. — An insurance company that loaned the operators of Garrett’s Desert Inn $3.9 million wants a judge to order a foreclosure sale of the downtown Santa Fe hotel.

In its court complaint, Riversource Life Insurance Co. says it loaned the money to Garrett Hotels LLC in 2007, with an original maturity date of June 1, 2012.

The due date was extended several times, finally to May 1 of this year. The loan note was secured with Garrett’s interest in the hotel property at 311 Old Santa Fe Trail, according to the court filing.

The lawsuit, filed in state District Court on Thursday, says Garrett still owes $2.8 million in principal, plus about $62,000 in interest and late fees, under terms of a guaranty signed by Gene Garrett, also known as James E. Garrett.

Efforts by the Journal to reach Garrett or anyone else who could speak for Garrett’s Desert Inn were unsuccessful Monday.

The foreclosure suit also says Santa Fe city government may claim an interest in the hotel since the city filed a lien against Garrett’s for $51,367 in back lodger’s taxes in June 2012.

The city announced soon after the lien was filed that Garrett’s had made arrangements to pay the overdue taxes.

Riversource wants a judgment against Garrett’s for the money owed and asks that the Garrett’s leasehold interest in the hotel property be sold, with the proceeds applied to the debt.

The hotel, with 83 guest rooms and suites, recently got a boost when the former operators of the iconic Bobcat Bite roadhouse on Old Las Vegas Highway east of town moved into Garrett’s and opened a new version of their eatery called the Santa Fe Bite.

The Bobcat Bite closed a few months ago due to a dispute between the operators of the burger joint and their landlord.

Garrett’s Desert Inn was built in 1957 and “since 1977 the Garrett Family has endeavored to make it a charming and affordable alternative to the pricier hotels on the Plaza,” according to the hotel’s website.