Future of downtown Eau Claire hotel unclear, hearing set for Friday

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An Eau Claire hotel that's been sold at auction twice, only to have the winning bidder fail to pay it off both times, could end up being sold at a third sheriff's sale.

A hearing in Eau Claire County court is scheduled for Friday in the Foreclosure of Mortgage case for the Eau Claire Hotel and Convention Center, which is formerly the Ramada Convention Center and Hotel, on S. Barstow Street. Court records show that it is in regard to the "Notice, application, & supporting memorandum for confirmation of sheriff's sale and deficiency judgment or in the alternative, order for resale, closure of hotel and inqiry (sic) into relatedness of debtors and SBM Holdings LLC." The Eau Claire County Clerk of Courts Office declined to elaborate, saying "the Clerk is not qualified to answer questions about the "possibilities" of what may happen at the hearing."

Last month, SBM Holdings entered the highest bid for the hotel. The company had until October 17th to fulfill its bid of $1.655 million but it was unable to pay the full amount. Eau Claire City Attorney Steve Nick told WEAU 13 News that SBM had been disqualified, and whoever entered the second-highest bid had ten days to fulfill the bid of $1.651 million dollars. Court records did not show a payment had been made as of this week. On Wednesday, Nick told WEAU 13 News that, since the city is not directly involved in the foreclosure case, he is not aware of what could happen at the hearing on Friday.

On Tuesday, the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office told WEAU 13 News it had not received the information it needs to schedule the property to be included in a sheriff's sale. It says, at this point, the soonest it could be part of a sheriff's sale is December 3. The necessary information would need to be turned in by November 8 for that to happen. The sheriff's office also says that the property doesn't have to be sold at a particular time, or at all.

An attorney for the creditor in the case did not return a message seeking comment on Wednesday. When WEAU 13 News reached that lawyer last week, he declined to comment on the case.

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