Popular Ballston Lake eatery likely to see new owners
BALLSTON LAKE Good Times Lakeview Restaurant, whose owners have faced years of personal struggle, is on the county’s list of foreclosures for unpaid property taxes from 2010.
A sale to a group of local businessmen is pending, however, and owner Desiree Kelleigh is optimistic it will happen in the near future.
“It looks very, very positive,” Kelleigh said. She said business at the popular restaurant that has been in the family for 40 years remains excellent.
Kelleigh said she has had to devote income from the landmark restaurant to “astronomical” medical bills incurred by her ailing husband, Hugh, who was diagnosed some years ago with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 38. He has since developed multiple sclerosis and is now paralyzed, bedridden and blind.
The Kelleighs’ have two children: Daughter Courtney, 21, is finishing her pre-med degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and son Hugh, 20, is attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, both on scholarships. The children have worked at the restaurant for years but are not interested in taking over the business.
“I’m transitioning into teaching and inspirational work,” Kelleigh said. “We are spreading hope and telling our story to help others through difficult times.”
Kelleigh does instructional training for the Northway Church in Clifton Park. She also runs the women’s recovery group at the church, “Celebrate Recovery.”
Good Times Lakeview Restaurant and banquet hall, at 175 Lake Hill Road, overlooks Ballston Lake and offers dockside service for boats at the only public access to the lake.
The owners of Good Times and the roughly 135 other properties across the county have a few months left to make good on their tax debts before the county puts the properties up for auction. The auction is in March, and most owners or the lenders that hold mortgages will pay before then, according to county officials.
The foreclosure list was published this week. Good Times is assessed at $403,800. Lawyer James T. Towne Jr. of Burnt Hills and Robert Nemer of Diamond Point signed an option on Sept. 21 to buy the restaurant, according to a document filed in the Saratoga County Clerk’s office.
Kelleigh said the prospective buyers have been “extremely understanding” during negotiations.
She has been burdened with very large medical bills for some years. She praised the community and longtime customers for making “miracles happen” for her family.
“People have been helping us for 11 years,” Kelleigh said Friday.
She and her family have faced personal strife for many years. She said in a 2009 Gazette interview that she didn’t pay the property tax bill in 2008 because she simply didn’t have the money after paying her husband’s medical bills.
And when she finally scraped together the funds for the 2008 tax bill, she was told state law required her to pay her 2009 bill first, leaving the earlier lien intact and headed for foreclosure. Then, unexpectedly, a casual acquaintance who had eaten in the restaurant came forward to pay the tax bill, asking only that his name not be disclosed.
The restaurant property has a history going back more than 100 years. Among other uses, it has been home to a Prohibition-era rooming house that functioned as a speakeasy used for gambling and prostitution, and a town tavern from the 1940s through the early 1970s.
Kelleigh’s parents bought it and turned it into a restaurant in 1973. She and her husband bought it in 1988.
The restaurant property is a 2.16-acre parcel on both sides of the road. Good Times Lakeview Inn also owns a nearby single-family home assessed at $119,000, which is also on the foreclosure list.
County records show $10,386.82 in taxes dues on the restaurant, including 2011 school taxes and 2012 county and special district taxes. A total of $3,084.13 in taxes is due on the single-family home.
There are no other warrants, liens or lawsuits on file for unpaid bills or state or federal taxes for the restaurant.